Even the biggest pop star in the world is uncomfortable when his private relationships go public.
Harry Styles, former One Direction teen idol and current solo superstar, reflected on his highly publicized and dissected private life in a new interview with Rolling Stone. In it, he addressed everything from accusations of “queerbaiting,” or benefiting from presenting as queer without publicly identifying as queer, to his romantic relationship with Olivia Wilde, who directed Styles in the upcoming film “Don’t Worry Darling.”
The singer, apparently unprompted, spoke about arguments people have in an effort to define his sexuality.
“Sometimes people say, ‘You’ve only publicly been with women,’ and I don’t think I’ve publicly been with anyone,” he told Rolling Stone’s Brittany Spanos. “If someone takes a picture of you with someone, it doesn’t mean you’re choosing to have a public relationship or something.”
Styles also nodded to the public fascination with his sexuality when discussing his other film due out this year, “My Policeman,” in which he plays a closeted gay police officer in the 1950s.
“I think everyone, including myself, has your own journey with figuring out sexuality and getting more comfortable with it,” he said of the period drama and its universal themes. “It’s not like, ‘This is a gay story about these guys being gay.’ It’s about love and about wasted time to me.”
Styles has previously resisted when asked in interviews how he identifies, telling Better Homes & Gardens earlier this year that it “doesn’t matter” and that the expectation for him to define his sexuality is “outdated.” Some have accused him of profiting off of queer aesthetics — like wearing dresses and skirts or waving Pride flags at concerts — without publicly identifying as LGBTQ.
The “As It Was” singer also said that fans criticizing his girlfriend online “doesn’t make (him) feel good.”
“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,” he said. “I just wanted to sing. I didn’t want to get into it if I was going to hurt people like that.”
Styles’ new film with Wilde will be released September 23, and “My Policeman” will stream on Amazon in November. Both films will premiere at prestigious film festivals before their wide releases.
Currently, he’s continuing to tour his latest album, “Harry’s House,” with brief residencies in New York, Chicago and Austin, Texas.