Liam Payne was terrified about embarking on a solo career after One Direction's hiatus because shooting to fame in the boyband "nearly killed" him.
The Strip That Down hitmaker has previously touched on his struggle with depression during the height of the group's success, but in a chat with Britain's KISS FM radio station for their new mental health campaign Where's Your Head At?, he reveals the intense press scrutiny almost scared him off the idea of stepping out on his own.
"When the band started our break (in 2015) I struggled with the idea of becoming famous again, it scared the living daylights out of me," Liam shared, "because the last time it nearly killed me, frankly."
The singer eventually managed to conquer his fears and reevaluated how he approached his career so he wouldn't be battling "tough times" going forward.
"I had to figure out a way to make it work for me - rather than me work for it," he added, revealing surrounding himself with "good people" is key to his sanity.
Liam has also found every aspect of his personal life becoming tabloid fodder, thanks to his relationship with British pop star Cheryl, the mother of his baby son Bear, but he's learned it's best just to shrug off unfounded rumours about their romance.
"Laugh it off and remember it will become a story one day. And will seem funny," he explained of his approach to the tabloid attention.
Liam is currently working on his debut solo album, which he plans to release this autumn (18), but he insists his One Direction days are not over forever.
Likening the bandmates to comic book superheros the Avengers, he insists it's important for each member to experience success in their own right in order for the collective to grow stronger together.
"I miss being with the boys, that was so much fun, we love the boys, but I'm sure there's time for that to come back around," Liam told breakfast show Good Morning America.
"And my thing is, the more success we have on our own, the more success we're gonna have together in the future," he added, "because we're like the Avengers. If you want Spider-Man to sort something out, he sorts it out, but then Hulk will go, 'Well, I'll sort this out,' you know what I mean? It's one of them things, I guess (sic)."
Liam helped to kick off Good Morning America's Summer Concert Series on Tuesday (15May18) by teaming up with Latin star J Balvin onstage in New York's Central Park, where they performed their new collaboration Familiar.
The Brit also treated fans to a rendition of his debut single Strip That Down, while Balvin wrapped up the mini-gig by delivering his hit song Mi Gente.