Harry Styles has said how difficult he found it to be in a relationship with Taylor Swift because of the public scrutiny the couple faced.
The former One Direction star briefly dated the American singer in 2012 and one of their early dates in New York’s Central Park was captured by the paparazzi.
In an interview with director Cameron Crowe in Rolling Stone, he said: “When I see photos from that day, I think: Relationships are hard, at any age.
“And adding in that you don’t really understand exactly how it works when you’re 18, trying to navigate all that stuff didn’t make it easier.
“I mean, you’re a little bit awkward to begin with. You’re on a date with someone you really like. It should be that simple, right? It was a learning experience for sure.
“But at the heart of it – I just wanted it to be a normal date.”
While he is well aware many fans consider Tay’s songs Out Of The Woods and Style to be about their romance, he told the magazine: “I mean, I don’t know if they’re about me or not… but the issue is, she’s so good, they’re bloody everywhere.
“I write from my experiences; everyone does that. I’m lucky if everything [we went through] helped create those songs. That’s what hits your heart.
“That’s the stuff that’s hardest to say, and it’s the stuff I talk least about. That’s the part that’s about the two people. I’m never going to tell anybody everything.”
Asked if he was ever able to tell her that he admired the songs, he replied: “Yes and no. She doesn’t need me to tell her they’re great.
“They’re great songs… It’s the most amazing unspoken dialogue ever.”
Styles, who will release his self-titled album on May 12, remained diplomatic about his former bandmate Zayn Malik, who has been critical of One Direction’s music since he departed the group.
Styles said: “I think it’s a shame he felt that way but I never wish anything but luck to anyone doing what they love.
“If you’re not enjoying something and need to do something else, you absolutely should do that.
“I’m glad he’s doing what he likes, and good luck to him.”
He also leaped to the defence of his teenage fans after being asked if he was worried about proving his credibility to older listeners.
He said: “Who’s to say that young girls who like pop music – short for popular, right? – have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy?
“That’s not up to you to say. Music is something that’s always changing. There’s no goal posts. Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious?
“How can you say young girls don’t get it? They’re our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going.
“Teenage-girl fans – they don’t lie. If they like you, they’re there. They don’t act ‘too cool’. They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick.”
Harry Styles, Taylor Swift