Home Industry AN ODE TO LILO – The Friendship of Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne

AN ODE TO LILO – The Friendship of Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne

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The friendship of  Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson, affectionately known as Lilo, is arguably one of the most beloved friendships by the fandom. Their friendship is inspiring and a source of comfort to so many. It has stood the test of time and has shown that the two of them have each other’s backs for life. They are more than just friends; they are family to each other. 

Lilo began all the way back to when the boys were first formed into One Direction way back in July 2010, on the X-Factor. Looking back at the infamous video diaries and interviews around that time it was immediately noticed that Lilo had quite a teasing relationship, primarily from Louis’ side, picking on Liam relentlessly. That type of relationship continued through the years, with persistent teasing and games on interviews and shows alike. What fans would come to learn much later is that Liam and Louis weren’t actually immediate friends behind the scenes. They butted heads due to their widely different personalities. Liam has always been more serious, focused, and only wanted to play by the rules (at least at first), while Louis was more playful, excitable, and the resident jokester. Although those attributes are parts of their personalities it also extended to the ‘roles’ they were assigned within the band. As time went on, they became more comfortable with each other and their personalities started to mesh, and an unbreakable bond was formed between the two of them. 

Let’s fast forward to 2015 and the On The Road Again Tour (OTRA), specifically after the heart-breaking departure of Zayn. The playfulness became more prevalent on stage with Lilo, even developing into what the fandom has come to know as ‘Lilo’s water fights.’ Although self explanatory, the boys would spend a large portion of each concert chasing each other around the stage in an effort to soak each other with water and/or energy drinks (queue that infamous GIF of Liam and Louis pouring what appears to be Gatorade all over each other). This was something they did that continued all the way through until the end of the tour. This playfulness onstage however, had an ulterior motive, as was revealed in later interviews. Liam was struggling during this time, with his mental health, with alcohol, and with the departure of Zayn which was understandably devastating for him. Liam revealed that Louis would purposely engage in all the joking and games onstage to keep Liam distracted, out of his head, and happy. Those moments allowed him to just feel free and like a kid again.

Since 1D has gone on hiatus, there have been countless instances of Lilo supporting each other. Each of the boys has had their own journey including downfalls and triumphs since going solo, but Liam and Louis both respectively have not had it easy, to say the least. 

Starting with the loss of Louis’ dearly departed mother. Shortly after her passing, Louis had a performance on the X-Factor, his first solo performance, and Liam (along with the other boys) was there to support him through it. Liam has also expressed in interviews that both he and Louis have been there for each other; ‘Louis has been through so much in the last few years ever since the band ended and whenever I have a problem, whenever he has a problem we always call each other about it’, as stated in one interview. Although Louis tends to keep things he has gone through more private, it’s safe to assume Liam was there for him at every point.

This support however is definitely reciprocated on both sides. When Liam was struggling with his addiction and mental health issues at his lowest points, Louis was also there for him which Liam has also discussed.. In one particular interview when asked who he would turn to in a crisis? ‘Louis is the one I would turn to the most. We both lean on each other for a lot of things’’ was his answer. In another interview for an event that Liam attended in support of Louis when asked about how important it was for Liam to be there, he stated ‘Oh massively, I mean I’ll be honest with you, Louis – out of everyone, all of the boys have been there for me.’ The same sentiment rang true in 2023 when Liam posted a very honest video to his YouTube channel discussing what he’s gone through and how all of the boys were there for him.

Celebrity interviewer Zach Sang posted a ‘hateful tweet’ (Louis’ words) about Liam in the midst of Liam receiving backlash for a certain 2022 podcast. Louis called Sang out during his own 2023 interview and said Sang owed Liam an apology: ‘You don’t want to shit on someone like Liam.’ In that same interview, Louis also defended Liam against the hate he received from the media and specifically the people responsible for the 2022 podcast. This moment is just one that really cemented Lilo, for Louis to show up for Liam in one of the hardest moments in Liam’s career, really says everything about their relationship. 

They have also supported each other through every music release, going back to Liam’s first musical release of his single back in 2017, and every album and single release from then on. In 2018, Liam did a performance as a solo artist on the X-Factor and Louis was a judge at the time, and there is performance footage of Louis standing and cheering Liam on. In 2022, Louis released his second album Faith in The Future. On the album is a track called ‘Angels Fly’ that is largely believed by the fandom to be about Liam. Although Louis has never specifically indicated it’s about Liam, he has said it’s about a friend going through a hard time, which applied to Liam at the time. Listening to the lyrics of the song, Louis tells his friend that he will be okay, they will talk tomorrow, that he will be there for him until he’s ready to talk. This particularly hard-hitting lyric ‘Put the pain behind you now, You don’t need it anymore’ never fails to evoke emotions.

Even in 2024, after the release of Liam’s latest single ‘Teardrops,’ Louis took to social media to support and promote his brother’s single. 

In 2023, Louis took a step into the film world and released his documentary, ‘All Of Those Voices.’ A premiere in London took place in March, and in attendance was no one other than Liam. He cheered his friend on for the whole event, with fan videos showing him smiling from ear to ear and giving a standing applause inside the auditorium (when no one else around him was standing) from the moment Louis entered prior to the screening of the film. After the event, Liam posted a drawing of Louis he did from the event with a dedication to Louis saying how much Louis means to him and how proud he is of him.

Most recently Liam has shown up on a couple of Louis’ shows in LATAM including the shows in Montevideo, Uruguay (May 15th) and Buenos Aires, Argentina (May 18th).  During Louis’ LATAM tour there have been potential rumours that Liam may stick around on the tour and/or join Louis onstage. These rumours however will remain to be seen as the tour continues into June. 

This is just a few moments mentioned as there could be an essay written on how these two have supported each other all along. There have been numerous additional occasions over the years through interviews and social media where Lilo has mentioned each other and the impact they have had on each other’s lives. From being one of the first people to call when the other needs advice, or expressing an interest in writing together, or simply asking the other to call him (in Louis’ case), there is plenty of documented proof that these two have an incredible friendship.

Since you made it this far, all of the apologies for any Lilo breakdowns this article causes. It’s impossible really to capture how special Lilo is. They are absolute friendship goals, to say the least, and always will be.  No one will really ever know the extent of their bond besides the two of them but considering all they have gone through both in the band, and after the band, it’s a privilege to witness their friendship and all of it that they share with the fandom. Speaking personally, it means the world to know that Louis and Liam have each other, in the highs and the lows, and to know that every time one of them stumbles, the other is right there to pick the other one up.

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