It's time to put the rumors to rest.

In One Direction's heyday, the bromance between Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson was so strong that fans gave them a nickname: "Larry Stylinson." Their bond inspired fan fiction—often erotic—and led to more than a few rumors about their hush-hush, behind-the-scenes romance.

The only problem? The pop stars never were never in a romantic relationship. "I'm so protective over things like that, about the people I love," Tomlinson tells The Sun. "It created this atmosphere between the two of us where everyone was looking into everything we did. It took away the vibe you get off anyone. It made everything a little bit more unapproachable. I think [what's happened since] shows that it was never anything 'real,' if I can use that word."

Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson

George Pimentel/WireImage

The singers were careful not to fan the flames. "It kind of happened naturally for me and Harry," Tomlinson explains, "because a certain amount of the fans drew up this conspiracy."

"Larry Stylinson" created issues with Tomlinson's on-again girlfriend, Eleanor Calder. He is happy to finally set the record straight, saying, "I've never actually been asked about it directly."

"It's a funny thing. I mean, look, people can believe what they want to believe. But I just think it comes across sometimes a little bit disrespectful to the ones that I love, you know, Eleanor. Sometimes it comes across a bit disrespectful," he says. "It's like anything. Genuinely, if you Google 'Conspiracy on iPhones,' you're going to get a conspiracy. I think it's one of these things that people just love to buy into, but in reality—obviously—there's no truth to it. Obviously."

Tomlinson is still close to Styles—though not as close as they were when the band was still active. "There's no politics or anything. Inevitably in a band, you're going to get some people who get on really well and some people who get on quite well. I have forever had a very, very high level of respect for Harry. He's great in this situation, he's great on stage, he's a great musician and artist," he says. "It's just one of those things that happens naturally in a band."

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