Harry Styles has responded to the abuse those close to him, including his girlfriend Olivia Wilde, have received on the internet, saying: “That obviously doesn’t make me feel good.”
The 28-year-old former One Direction star has been in a relationship with director Wilde (38) since she cast him in her forthcoming psychological thriller film, Don’t Worry Darling.
Speaking to Rolling Stone magazine as part of a cover profile, he described Twitter as “a shitstorm of people trying to be awful to people” and acknowledged how some on the internet treated his close friends and romantic partners poorly.
He told the publication that even with the boundaries he has set between his public and private lives, sometimes “other people blur the lines for you”.
Addressing the pressure his fame places on relationships, he said: “Can you imagine going on a second date with someone and being like, ‘OK, there’s this corner of the thing, and they’re going to say this, and it’s going to be really crazy, and they’re going to be really mean, and it’s not real… But anyway, what do you want to eat?’
“It’s obviously a difficult feeling to feel like being close to me means you’re at the ransom of a corner of Twitter or something.
“I just wanted to sing. I didn’t want to get into it if I was going to hurt people like that.”
Wilde told Rolling Stone that Styles’ fans are “deeply loving people”.
But she added: “What I don’t understand about the cruelty you’re referencing is that that kind of toxic negativity is the antithesis of Harry, and everything he puts out there.
“I don’t personally believe the hateful energy defines his fan base at all. The majority of them are true champions of kindness.”
Styles, who has in recent years adopted an androgynous and non-binary fashion sense, also addressed public speculation about his sexuality.
He said: “Sometimes people say, ‘You’ve only publicly been with women,’ and I don’t think I’ve publicly been with anyone.
“If someone takes a picture of you with someone, it doesn’t mean you’re choosing to have a public relationship or something.”
As well as Don’t Worry Darling, Styles is also starring in the film My Policeman alongside Emma Corrin, where he plays an officer embroiled in a complex love triangle set in the 1950s.
Corrin, who won a Golden Globe for their portrayal of Briain's Princess Diana in Netflix’s The Crown, plays his wife Marion, a teacher, while David Dawson plays museum curator Patrick, who his character falls in love with.
Styles said he did not view the film simply as a “gay story”, but a story about love and “wasted time”.
He said: “It’s obviously pretty unfathomable now to think, ‘Oh, you couldn’t be gay. That was illegal’.
“I think everyone, including myself, has your own journey with figuring out sexuality and getting more comfortable with it.
“It’s not like ‘This is a gay story about these guys being gay.’ It’s about love and about wasted time to me.”
He also addressed whether his pivot to acting is permanent, adding: “I don’t imagine I’d do a movie for a while.”