We saw the ultimate disintegration of One Direction coming a mile away—were just looking in the wrong, er, direction at the time.
Instead, it was Zayn Malik who left, at first citing the need to "be a normal 22-year-old" and pay attention to his personal life—but, since his break from the spotlight lasted about two minutes, really to test the waters of so-called free agency. So far, so good. He's signed with RCA, earning a congratulations from impresario Simon Cowell in the process, and certainly made off with a healthy amount of fans to keep him trending worldwide at the drop of a hat. (Or the spew of a tweet. He never "went dark" as Kevin Jonas once recommended.)
And he seemingly left One Direction, though down a man, fairly intact and primed to move forward into its four-lad future.
"They are taking a hiatus so they can work on individual projects for a while but they are not splitting up," a source told E! News. "They will remain together and plan to work together in the future."
First of all, we can only hope it's not like Ross-and-Rachel-on-a-break, because that got really annoying. More importantly, however, is whether this explanation is merely a placeholder and the members of 1D are already planning on going their separate ways for good. Four points to the wind. North, east, west and south.
Of course, maybe they fully intend to record again one day together as One Direction. And they certainly haven't left their fans cold turkey. They're still on tour, they just dropped a new space-flight-themed video for "Drag Me Down," more new music has been promised as the tour continues and Niall just tweeted that the break won't start till next year.
While our source insists that they "envision a future together but with the freedom to do other things as well"—an open relationship, if you will—how has that worked out for others?
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• No Closure: At least there's a 1D reunion on the horizon in...say, 2027. Justin Timberlake, striking out on his own with Justfified in 2002, actually said at the time that he hoped to do another album with 'N Sync. And we can't wait!
• No Bones About It: The Jonas Brothers took a hiatus in 2010 and 2011 to focus on solo pursuits and came back, but not really. They scrapped an in-the-works album and canceled their fall tour in October 2013, two days before they were scheduled to hit the road, citing "a big disagreement over their music direction." Rather than reconcile their differences, a few weeks later they were just Nick, Joe and Kevin. Separate entities. El fin.
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Boyz II Men, Literally: If One Direction ever released a song called "I'll Make Love to You," 1 million tweens might literally explode, but fans can only hope that Harry, Liam, Niall and Louis will still enjoy each other's company over the next decade as much as the members of the "Motown Philly" group continued to do. After Michael McCrary left in 2003 to focus on his health, Shawn Stockman, Wanya Morris and Nathan Morris took about a year off and then got back to performing and recording until...now! Their most recent album, Collide, came out last October.
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Special Occasion Spice: Trivia time: It was not the elusive Victoria Beckham who left The Spice Girls, the toast of the 1990s, first. Rather, it was Geri Halliwell who bowed out, citing exhaustion. Scary, Sporty, Baby and Posh kept it together on the surface for a couple of years before going-on-indefinite-hiatus-but-not-breaking-up in 2000. They did reunite in 2007 for a super-successful tour and then it's been a reunion here and there—including at the 2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremony—ever since.
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Reissued Edition: New Edition realized that they needed some alone time in 1990 (hey, after Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative" and Bell Biv DeVoe's "Poison," what were ya gonna do?). They went on hiatus and reunited in 1996 for the Home Again Tour, but it was never the same. They have appeared together here and there, most recently in 2012 to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Soul Train Music Awards, and BET just announced a three-night biopic miniseries event.
• Best Case Scenario: We could've sworn the Backstreet Boys broke up at some point, but no! Their brief absence from the spotlight was just a blip on the boy band radar. They bounced back after a two-year hiatus to make 2005's Never Gone (thank you for answering our question) and they weathered Kevin Richards' exit in 2006 like champs, waiting it out till Richards realized he wanted in again full-time in 2012. And they haven't gone missing since. So... this may be too sunny a scenario for 1D fans to reasonably hope for, but at least there's proof out there that sometimes these things work out.
Sure, Harry's charisma needs a stage to itself, Louis' going to be a dad, Niall secretly wants to be a pro golfer and...well, don't you worry about Liam, he'll do just fine.
But common sense isn't always what it seems, so perhaps this group, pieced together by the golden-goose hand of Simon Cowell's 20/20 foresight, will follow their solo pursuits—but the story of their life together won't be ending anytime soon.
Does anyone even care or have you been just biding your time until Harry had his chance to make a break for it and record a glorious solo album? Sound off in the comments!