One Direction hasn't been the same since the departure of Zayn Malik last year. In August, it was reported that the band would be taking a hiatus in 2016. In January, rumours of the band breaking up permanently gave teenagers worldwide heart palpitations. And while a split was never confirmed, today's bombshell news is certainly enough to rattle the boy band's fan base all over again. Billboard reports that Harry Styles has just signed a solo record deal. The contract is with Columbia Records, One Direction's label, but details on the deal are not yet known.
The dreamy-eyed singer's latest move isn't a total surprise, though. Styles has officially embarked on his acting career with a role World War II action thriller Dunkirk, co-starring Tom Hardy. In December, it was revealed that that copyright registrations were filed for four songs listing Styles as both the songwriter and performer. Who knows what this means for the future of One Direction. Could this solo departure be the beginning of Harry Styles' transformation into the next Justin Timberlake or Beyoncé? Only time will tell.