Harry Styles has broken his silence on what it was like dating Taylor Swift, describing it as "hard" and a "learning experience".

Speaking four years after their breakup, Styles told Rolling Stone that he didn't expect such an intense reaction when they started dating.

Styles and Swift met at an awards show and were caught by paparazzi walking through Central Park in New York City on their second date. They broke up a month later after a holiday together in the Caribbean.

"When I see photos from that day," he said, "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.

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"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."

Swift, who has a tendency to write songs about her former boyfriends, is rumoured to have written Out of the Woods and Style about the former One Directioner.

"I don't know if they are about me or not," Styles said. "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."

Harry went on to thank Swift for "celebrating" their time together by writing about their romance as it proved he meant something to her.

Asked if there was anything he wanted to say to the 27-year-old singer now, he said: "Certain things don't work out. There's a lot of things that can be right, and it's still wrong. In writing songs about stuff like that, I like tipping a hat to the time together.

"You're celebrating the fact it was powerful and made you feel something, rather than 'this didn't work out, and that's bad," he said. "And if you run into that person, maybe it's awkward, maybe you have to get drunk ... but you shared something. Meeting someone new, sharing those experiences, it's the best shit ever. So thank you."

Swift was reportedly heartbroken when the pair split and may have been why Gigi Hadid, who is best friends with Swift and another of Styles' exes, Kendall Jenner, seemed to snub him at the American Music Awards in 2015.

Meanwhile, One Direction fans were in a frenzy this week after Styles released Sign of the Times, the first single from his upcoming album.

Styles hinted that most of his first solo album was about another relationship - potentially his romance with Kylie Jenner.

"She's a huge part of the album," said Styles. "Sometimes you want to tip the hat, and sometimes you just want to give them the whole cap ... and hope they know it's just for them."