7 Strict Rules One Direction Had To Follow To Keep Their Management Happy

They had an image to maintain.

One Direction DFree / Cubankite / Andrea Raffin / Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

You’d be surprised how many things the One Direction bandmates weren’t allowed to do.

Fans have followed the group through it all and know almost everything there is to know about five boys.

Founded to appeal to a specific demographic, a young female audience, supporters of One Direction recognize the band’s polished look as part of their branding and embrace it for what it is.

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Behind the scenes, there were a few things that the boys didn’t reveal until after the British band’s hiatus in 2015.


As time went on, however, the former band members shared what it was really like being in one of the most popular boy bands in the world.

Here are six rules One Direction had to follow.

1. They couldn’t grow beards or dye their hair.

In 2016, former One Direction member Zayn Malik shared how he was forced to follow some strict rules while in the band.

In an interview with Complex Magazine, Malik stated that keeping the appearance of a “young teen boy” was important for the band, leaving him unable to create his own identity away from his bandmates.

“There were certain restrictions in terms of the way that we could come outside of that young teen boy look,” he said.


When asked what kind of restrictions he had faced, he explained that growing his beard or dying his hair was not allowed.

“Mainly my beard, honestly. I wasn’t allowed to keep it,” he explained.


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“Eventually, when I got older, I rebelled against it, and decided to keep it anyway. That was just because I looked older than the rest of them. That’s one of the things that is now quite cool. I get to keep my beard. I also wanted to dye my hair when I was in the band, but I wasn’t allowed to.”

Anything that allowed the boy band to express their individuality was not permitted.

2. They weren't allowed to have any privacy.

Being themselves and having their own private lives seemed challenging for the five popstars.

In an interview with Better Homes & Gardens, Harry Styles shared that during the lockdown, he took time to reflect and process the things that happened to him while in the band.


“He thought about the way he was encouraged to give so much of himself away, ‘to get people to engage with you, to like you.’ He thought about the fact that no baby photos exist of him that aren’t on the internet," BHG reported.

"He thought about the journalists asking questions, when he was still a teenager, about how many people he’s slept with.”

The idols took their claim to fame during the most difficult time for celebrities.


When the band first emerged as a breakout hit, the UK was at the peak of its tabloid culture, with celebrities being hunted and exposed.

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That opened the doors to social media users, where everyone expected to know and see everything — anyone could post photos, videos, and gossip.

“I think we’re in a moment of reflection. You look back, especially now there’s all the documentaries, like the Britney documentary, and you watch how people were abused in that way, by that system, especially women,” he said. “You recall articles from not even five years ago, and you’re like, I can’t even believe that was written.”


3. They were censored on what they could say, not allowing them to experiment within the band.

I’m sure it’s not so uncommon for celebrities to have to watch what they say both in private and in public, but for the One Direction members, this was a challenging rule.

They weren’t allowed to experiment creatively in the band by being censored.

Inquisitr reports that in an interview, Malik discussed the “level of control” he and his band mates were subjected to while in the boy group.

“We weren’t allowed to say certain things or word [lyrics] the way we would want to," he said.

"I’d sit and wonder, ‘If the fans knew how it worked, what would they think?’ My argument was: People are more intelligent than that. They want to hear what’s real, so why don’t we write some stuff that we’re actually going through?”


Malik felt creatively restricted as a member of One Direction.

Understanding now that they were also physically restricted — being told how to keep their hair and dress — it’s not so far-fetched to believe that there were other methods their record company had to keep the boys in line.


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“That was something that was always underlying, and [it] ended up as the main factor of me leaving in the end,” he said. “It was about denying the authenticity of who I was, and what I enjoyed about music, and why I got into it.”

4. They were banned from having romantic relationships at one point.

Though the boys may have had the chance to experience their rise to stardom in America, they didn’t get to celebrate as other stars did.

According to Huffington Post, record label executives have ordered the boys “off nookie,” or in other words, no girlfriends and no sex.


Wanting to protect the boy’s “clean-cut image as they storm the Stateside charts,” they’ve set strict rules to ensure they’d appeal to the teen market.

5. They weren't allowed to date staff members.

Pop Buzz shares that according to a former stylist of One Direction, Lou Teasdale, the boys broke the rules and had slept with staff members who were later fired.

“You can’t sleep with them, it’s kind of important [if you want] to keep your job,” she said.

“Some people would come in, like assistants and stuff, and think it was love and obviously it’s not and it’s just the quickest way to lose your job. Because then they’ve got a new girlfriend and she’s in the room and they don’t want you in there.”


“Everyone ends up falling out or sleeping together, or both,” she continued.

6. They had to write two albums in two weeks.

Imagine having to write an album in just two weeks. Crazy right?

While being interviewed by Billboard for his 2019 debut album, 'LP1,' Liam Payne shared his different approach to this album compared to albums created while in the boy band.


When speaking on what contributed to the delay in the release of his album, he says, “It was about finding the right records; I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so that caused a lot of delays.”

“When we were in the band, we were literally writing an album in two weeks, and then it’d take a month to record," he continued. "Finding your sound was a bit of a tricky thing to do; you didn’t really know what the audience wanted from you.”

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Speaking with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on The Morning, Payne once again revealed that while in the band, “[they would] have two weeks to write the album and they’d have already sold a tour so [they would] have to get the album done and then record it on the road.”


7. They were banned from doing drugs.

Staying out of trouble was vital for some of the One Direction members.

Speaking with US Weekly, Styles discussed his decisions while in One Direction, one of which was to refrain from experimenting with drugs until the band declared its break in 2015.

“When I was in the band, it was like, to me, it felt like it was so much bigger than any of us that I kind of felt like, ‘I’m not going to be the one who f--ks it up,’” he said.

“So I was like, ‘Now is the time in my life when you probably go out and experiment and do this and you take this and you do that and that’s what you do with your friends.’ So, I was like, ‘I’m not going to do any of that stuff.’”


However, that didn’t mean that all of the band members felt the same way regarding drugs.

Daily Mail reported that in May 2014, the band faced “being banned from the United States after being caught on film smoking a ‘joint’ - just weeks before they [were] set to tour the country."

Members Malik and Louis Tomlinson can are seen “sharing a roll-up” during their stop in Latin America on their 2014 Stadium Tour. 


Tomlinson can be heard speaking from behind the camera, laughingly saying, “So here we are, leaving Peru. Joint lit. Happy days!”

Tomlinson then asks Malik, “What do you think about that kind of content?” To which he responds, “Very controversial,” as he smokes from the joint.

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Ashley Darkwa-Anto is a writer at YourTango based in New Jersey. She covers News & Entertainment.