This entire project started with my friend’s tweet. At first I did it just for “fun” and to see what I could find, cause honestly I didn’t think I’d find much I didn’t already know. So I didn’t spend a whole lot of time (probably about an hour) researching and writing down what I thought was suspicious. When I started seeing a lot, and had a whole page of notes, I got invested. So it went from a page of brief notes, to multiple lists with arrows, to a detective type board (“I am the epitome of a totally normal person right now,”) to this article.
Syco and Sony
The first thing I did was find some basic connections relating to Syco as a company. It was founded in 2004 and was under BMG (first thing to pop out at me), before being entirely bought out by [Sony] BMG. In January 2010, Cowell and Sony started Syco Entertainment.The fact that Syco was founded under BMG seemed suspicious to me, because that’s the label Louis Tomlinson is currently signed to.* I went digging to learn more about the connection.
From 2004-2008 BMG and Sony were merged, before BMG split back off into what they are now. This raised the question to me of what people could’ve moved from Sony to BMG, but still think and operate the way Sony did/does.
*Side note: on a spontaneous research spree a few months ago I was physically unable to find Louis on the BMG site, I manually scrolled every section on the site, and searched in every possible way I could think of. I checked again about a week later to see if it had been a glitch but still couldn’t find him (I didn’t scroll through but the search came up with nothing). But every time I’ve checked since he’s been on the site he’s been easy to find (there is an article posted on the home page about Out of My System which cycles through at the top as of 22/10/22 like this, and he comes up just by searching ‘Louis’ on the Clients page.) Louis is currently only listed as a recording artist but not publishing. For anyone interested here is Louis’ profile on the BMG site: https://www.bmg.com/de/artist/Louis-Tomlinson
The entire reason I took on this project was to find connections and “rumours,” and while I knew a few, I still found a surprising amount. Most of the relationships, both public and rumoured, I had prior knowledge of, and yet still found a few. For the sake of remaining as neutral as I possibly can, regardless of my own beliefs, I’ve listed all possible relationships (except for Larry) as rumours, and public as alleged. If anything here peaks your interest you can look more into anything and form your own opinions or feel free to shoot me a dm if you can’t find anything.
All of the people in the following lists have been signed to Syco (through XF, AGT or BGT) and/or under Modest.
(I’ve only included the public relationships that’re between two artists both signed to Syco)
Perrie Edwards & Zayn Malik
Perrie and Zayn were both on the XFactor originally as solo artists before being put into groups, Perrie was just in the season right after Zayn’s. While they were publicly together they were known as a very well known couple (if it was promo, it worked very well.) The two split in 2015 (I believe they used the narrative that Zayn had cheated).
Sierra Deaton & Luke Hemmings
Sierra won the 3rd season of The X Factor with her fiance at the time (Alex & Sierra.) While the duo were together, Harry [Styles] gave them the song he’d written called ‘I Love You,’ then the two hinted it was about Haylor. Alex & Sierra announced their breakup in September 2017 saying they’d actually split a year prior. Sierra has since come out as bi.
Luke is in 5 Seconds of Summer, and is somewhat commonly thought to not be straight, one reason being the fact that he rarely uses gendered terms when talking about his partner.
Luke and Sierra have publicly been together since 2018, and the relationship has seemingly been used as promo since. The prime example of this being that when Luke’s solo album was about to be released the couple announced their “engagement” which had supposedly happened months before.
Zayn Malik & Rebecca Ferguson
When the two were on the XFactor there were many articles run that the two were in a very happy relationship. With Rebecca speaking out against Syco so much the past couple years, she seems to have specifically referenced this as having been management being awful in this tweet (Zayn was 17 when the articles were run).
Harry Styles & Cher Lloyd
There’s little to say with this one. The two were on the same XFactor season and only a few articles were ever run about the possibility of them being together.
The other thing worth noting is that Cher did an interview, in 2020, discussing PR relationships. She clearly states that she was asked to take part in a PR relationship saying, “Sadly it still happens. That’s still happening in this day and age — that it’s still OK to try to make a young girl do something like that to boost a career. It’s not my thing to do a publicity stunt, it’s messy, I’m not interested. Plus, I was married.”
Louis Tomlinson & Harry Styles
These two are the entire reason any of us are here, so frankly I’m a bit concerned if you’re reading this with no idea who they are and would need clarification. Really all I want to say is “Larry is real, we will survive,” but to keep the consistency I’ll do the intros anyway.
Louis and Harry met on the XFactor in 2010 and were likely in a relationship very quickly and have been ever since. Both of them have only ever publicly been in straight relationships, but over the years even the GP has picked up that these PR relationships are PR.
Louis was an XFactor judge in 2018. He was publicly under a Syco contract for 5 years longer than the others [in One Direction].
Even the GP knows that Harry is a Man-Kisser (trademark (not really)) (*ahem* Nick Kroll, James Cordon). He recently starred in My Policeman, a film where Harry plays a closeted gay man (again if you don’t know, please read this article about My Policeman. As I’m writing this I watched My Policeman last night and it was so painful but so good.)
Lloyd Daniels & Someone
This isn’t so much a possibility, because Lloyd confirmed the relationship himself, he just didn’t say who. Because it wasn’t public at the time and no articles were ever run it’s not a “public relationship.”
Lloyd said that while on the XFactor he met ‘someone,’ they clicked, and ended up being together for over a year. He said that he’d ‘never had that emotion towards a guy before,’ and claims he felt pressured to not talk about it because of his status, image, and ‘how the music industry works.’ (x)
Matt Terry & Freddy Parker
An article in The Mirror said that 2 XF finalists from the 2016 season were in a relationship, but not revealing it to the public for the sake of their careers. It also says that the claims had been denied, despite actually being true. (x)
Now, during the season people picked up on something between Matt Terry (who ended up winning) and Freddy Parker. Overall they seemed very close, and after they moved in together and looked to have kissed after Matt won (x), it sparked people to believe they were together.
Then the rumours were denied, saying the kiss was because of their bromance, but also that they hadn’t kissed (but never in a video/recording.) Then the story ran that Freddy was moving out of their apartment after one month, because of the rumours making him uncomfortable. Any of this sound familiar? Oh yeah, the article, and a bit like Larry, who were very close when on XFactor, moved in together, then supposedly had their entire friendship ruined because of rumours that made them uncomfortable. Hmm.
Liam Payne & Zayn Malik
Liam and Zayn met properly on XFactor and were friends. They’ve both spoken out against Syco and had their images tarnished in more than one way. Liam was publicly in a relationship (2016-18) with Cheryl Cole, who was a judge on both his XF seasons, and they supposedly have a child together. Zayn has also publicly had a child with a woman, and both have had cheating narratives.
While in One Direction Liam and Zayn would be very cuddly and occasionally [appear to] kiss while on stage, and public narratives have not always lined up with their songs. Not to mention the new line of apparel from Zayn, titled Paynt, which features a buff stick figure with a random L on the designs.
Niall Horan & Shawn Mendes
Admittedly, Shawn is not signed to Syco, but I wanted to include it, also with the mention that Shawn was in an incredibly public relationship with Camila Cabello (who was signed to Syco).
Niall and Shawn “dm-ed super flirtsy” and became very close friends; covering each other’s songs, talking about each other a fair amount in interviews, and interacting on social media.
Their songs rarely ever match up with their public narratives, and both have [seeming] queer-coded lyrics.
Shawn has denied rumours that he’s gay, though we all know that doesn’t always hold true.
Camila Cabello & Lauren Jauregui
The two met on The XFactor with the formation of Fifth Harmony. The two were very close friends, and would occasionally act like a couple.
Since the break up of Fifth Harmony Lauren has come out as sexually fluid, and Camila was in a /very/ public relationship with Shawn Mendes that even the GP thought was a stunt (individually the two have both had rumours they’re not straight).
Ashton Irwin & Luke Hemmings
They met some period of time before 5 Seconds of Summer started, when Ashton “defended” Luke. They’re very close friends, and can be very flirty in interviews.
Both have only ever been with women (Luke most notably with Sierra, as mentioned before, but when their “engagement” was announced, Ashton seemed to shade their relationship.) Separately they’ve both had rumours that they may not be so straight, despite narratives.
Speaking of narratives, what is publicly said about them isn’t always very consistent with they’re songs and media. Recently Ashton had a very all-over the place relationship in regards to the narrative, with an even more all-over the place end.
(I am biased and it showed more on this section than others, but I will say that despite that I’m less good on questions with these two, and most conversations will result in me redirecting you to Jen (person who’s tweet started this project) so her tumblr is linked here in case you’d like a head-start.)
Michael Clifford & Calum Hood
The two were friends in school and started 5 Seconds of Summer together [with Luke, then added Ashton.] Both have only ever publicly been in relationships with women, and Michael announced his marriage in January 2022 on their supposed one year anniversary. Like with most other pairs on this list, their songs aren’t always consistent with public narratives. They’re also very cuddly with each other, which is part of why people have theorized they’re together.
Perrie Edwards & Jade Thirlwall
I haven’t seen many people talk about these two in a long time, but I remember that there were theories at one point. The two met on The XFactor in 2011 and were put in Little Mix together. They were quickly very close friends (and still are) which I believe was the main reason people thought they were together.
This kinda rocked my world of just how much I was able to find, and I’m sure I still missed a ton. If anyone has questions or wants to know more (I left out a LOT in this), my dms are open @homevoi28.
Full List of People for Anyone Curious
Aiden Grimshaw – Rumours (though he posted this in 2018, but he’s never “officially” come out)
Alex & Sierra – (Sierra only) Has come out
Grace Vanderwaal – A weird in between of rumours and has come out
Jamie Lambert (Collabro) – Has come out
Lauren Jauregui (5H) – Has come out & rumoured to be with a specific person
Camila Cabello (5H) – Rumoured to be with a specific person
Mark Feehily (Westlife) – Has come out
Olly Murs – Has sorta come out?
George Sampson – Rumours
Shayne Ward – Rumours
Ronan Parke – Has come out (but not really)
Cher Lloyd – Publicly thought to be with someone else on list
Matt Terry – Rumoured to be with a specific person
Freddy Parker – Rumoured to be with a specific person
Ashton Irwin (5SOS) – Rumoured to be with a specific person
Luke Hemmings (5SOS) – Rumoured to be with a specific person
Calum Hood (5SOS) – Rumoured to be with a specific person
Michael Clifford (5SOS) – Rumoured to be with a specific person (one could argue has come out)
Carlito Olivero – Rumours
Rhydian Roberts – Rumours
Louis Tomlinson (1D) – Known to be with specific person
Harry Styles (1D) – Known to be with specific person/rumours] one could argue has come out for both
Niall Horan (1D) – Rumoured to be with a specific person
Liam Payne (1D) – Rumoured to be with a specific person
Zayn Malik (1D) – Rumoured to be with a specific person
Rebecca Ferguson – Publicly thought to be with someone else on list
JLS – Rumours
Joe McElderry – Has come out
Perrie Edwards (LM) – Rumoured to be with a specific person
Jade Thirlwall (LM) – Rumoured to be with a specific person
Dalton Harris – Has come out
Lloyd Daniels – Has come out
Saara Aalto – Has come out
Jonathan Ansell – Rumours
Finally, I will leave you with a quote from this documentary from Louis Theroux with the PR guru Max Clifford where Max specifically states he creates relationships to cover up an entertainer being gay:
“If a tv star were gay how would you put a stop to the rumors?”
“The most effective way would be for me to create a relationship.”