A former boy band star has warned One Direction of the pitfalls of the job, saying at his lowest point, he went and purchased a gun, and "nobody knows how bad the situation got".
Abz from popular 90s boyband 5ive issued the stark warning to Liam Payne, Harry Style, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan urging the boy band superstars not to follow in his footsteps on a path of drug use, alcohol addiction, depression and bankruptcy.
But Abz thinks it's only a matter of time before the One Direction guys - who were also guided to pop success by 5ive's mentor Simon Cowell - experience the same issues, saying:
"When all the s**t hits, you hear from these sad former pop stars. It's not the record company's job to hold your hand. It wasn't what the industry did to me, it's how I allowed it to affect me, or how I didn't put up certain boundaries or know how to handle myself.
"This is guru Abz talking, yeah (in the year) 2020, One Direction, all of them lot, they're going to be in the same boat. I see it happening all over again. Just history repeating."
The singer - whose real name is Richard Abidin Breen - told Shortlist magazine: "I was bankrupt. I didn't have a bank account ... I had no money but I was in a Bentley GT, I was having dinners at the Ivy, I was tuxxed up. That's the life I was living but it wasn't mine. None of it was real. I had no home, no money.
"Some people can get back on their feet, sign on or get a job and become great members of the community. I was more entertaining wealthy, I guess. I hated 5ive. I hated 5vive's music. That period when I was broken, I was like, 'F**k 5ive, I don't even want to talk about it.'
"I remember Scott Robinson getting in touch saying we've got a gig, for 50 grand or something. I said 'Na, that ain't enough.' I got myself a gun. I left the house where I was staying, the maids apparently said my eyes were black but I'd woken up like, 'I'm done, man.' "
Abz was heading to his agent's office because he was convinced the mogul was withholding money from him but the maids called ahead and warned that an angry Abz was on his way, preventing a potential tragedy from unfolding.
He added: "The universe stepped in my way. It stepped in my path and goes, 'You can't go this route.' I was so sick by this point. I was done. I didn't have any family, I didn't speak to anyone, my mum, my dad, anyone. I didn't trust anyone, I was high all day long. Wake up in the morning, coke, lemon sorbet with vodka, blazing all day. I was playing this role but it wasn't me. Nobody knows this about me."