Niall Horan Went From Irish Boy to Irishman — See the Former One Direction Hunk’s Epic Transformation

He’s a hunk now — but he had humble beginnings! One Direction alum Niall Horan has changed a lot since the band formed on The X Factor back in 2010. Coming into fame at 17 years old definitely gave the world a long look at his formative years … but we’re really glad we got to see this Irish guy grow into the Irishman he is today.

Born in Mullingar, Ireland in 1993, Niall was one of many lads to try his hand at making it past the boys’ trials on the British competition series. At the time, the hopeful vocalist shared a now-iconic tweet about his wish to go far in the competition. “Applied for X Factor,” Niall wrote in January 2010. “Hope it all [works] out.”

Though he didn’t succeed in making it into the live portion of the competition as a solo act, he was recruited to join four other boys — Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson — to form an all-male group called One Direction. You know what they say about the rest: It’s ~history~.

The boy band snagged the coveted third-place honors on X Factor that year and went on to become a global phenomenon. One Direction produced five beloved studio albums — including Made in the A.M., their final offering after Zayn left the band in 2015.

Since 1D’s indefinite hiatus in 2016, the musician has since released two solo albums — Flicker and Heartbreak Weather — to critical acclaim. He took his penchant for guitar-playing (which was a staple during the band’s many tours) and brought it to his solo work, producing fun rock-influenced tracks alongside beautifully tortured ballads. His first effort debuted at No. 1 in the United States and Ireland.

Niall reflected on his time with the lads and the start of his storied career with a heartfelt message to fans in April 2020. “10 years since my X Factor audition aired on TV,” he tweeted. “Lost for words to be honest. All I can say is thank you to every single one of you for your support over the years. I love what I do more than most so, thank you!!”

Scroll through the gallery to see Niall Horan’s transformation from the early days of 1D to now. 

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