Fans react to One Direction's year-long break
They announce a year-long break and won't tour for new album. Is it the end for Harry, Liam, Louis & Niall?
One Direction, the biggest boy band in the world, will go their own ways come March and take a year-long break.
But local 1D fans - or Directioners, as they prefer to be known - while disappointed, are hopeful the paths of the UK foursome will converge again.
"When I first heard the band was taking a break, I was a bit mad... and sad too," Miss Aqilah Khamis, a 19-year-old part-time childcare relief teacher, told The New Paper.
"But I understand, because they've been working so hard since the start of their career. I think they will still come back because their fans definitely want them to, and the boys always put their fans first."
The news of the hiatus came as a surprise as it hit days after One Direction released their new single, Drag Me Down, on Aug 20.
One Direction will also not be touring to promote their fifth album, which will be released at Christmas.
Members Harry Styles, 21, Liam Payne, 21, Louis Tomlinson, 23, and Niall Horan, 21, will focus on solo projects and intend to reunite to make music after their break, according to The Telegraph.
The Sun, quoting a source, brushed aside speculation of a break-up.
"The guys have been together for five years, which is an incredible run for any boy band. They fully deserve to have at least a year to work on their own projects.
"There is absolutely no bad blood between them and they are all 100 per cent behind the decision.
"It is definitely not a split and they fully intend to get back together at some time in the future."
It has been a rocky year for Directioners.
In March, Zayn Malik left the band abruptly in the middle of the Asian leg of their On The Road Again tour "to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight".
FANS STILL REELING
He later announced he would be launching, with producer Naughty Boy, a solo album that would depart from 1D's pop music style.
Earlier this month, Malik also broke off his one-year engagement to Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards, whom he had been dating since 2012.
With Directioners still reeling from Malik's departure, Tomlinson confirmed last month that he was expecting a baby with his friend, Ms Briana Jungwirth, and it has been rumoured that he would spend One Direction's down time concentrating on his daddy duties.
Miss Aqilah said of the local 1D community: "Everyone is in shock but we have to understand that the guys need their personal space. After all, we don't want what happened to Zayn to happen to the rest of the guys."
Miss Leona Zarifah, 22, added: "Too much has been going on with them, with Zayn's departure and Louis about to become a father."
Muhammad Fais Azmi, a 17-year-old ITE student, said: "When the band took a two-month break a few months ago, I tweeted them: 'Finally, you guys deserve this.'
"I'm feeling pretty calm about the news because I'm confident they will come back for the fans."
Not wanting to focus on the impending one-year absence, Miss Leona, a recent graduate, said she felt lucky to have seen all of the original five members perform at their concert here in March - and in the front row, no less.
"When they came on stage, the tears just flowed naturally. Seeing them live was so amazing," she said.
"Of course, part of me knows One Direction will break up someday. It sucks to think that will happen, but I know the boys will support each other in their solo careers, so the fans should support them too."
Boybands on break: Most never make it back together
With the history of groups breaking up after going on an indefinite hiatus, it's easy to see why One Direction fans are fearing the worst.
Irish boy band Boyzone went on a six-year break to pursue their solo careers beginning in 2001. To fans' relief, however, they reunited in 2007 and have released three albums since.
US quintet NSYNC weren't as fortunate.
In 2007, member Lance Bass revealed in his autobiography that his band mate Justin Timberlake's desire to go solo resulted in a hiatus in 2002, after which the group never reformed.
More recently, fans of US trio Jonas Brothers - made up of brothers and former Disney Channel heartthrobs Joe, Kevin and Nick Jonas - got a rude shock when they abruptly cancelled their US and Canada tour on Oct 9, 2013 and called it quits three weeks later.