When Is Harry Leaving One Direction?

On Thursday, One Directioners were sent into a tizzy when Billboard reported Harry Styles is going solo and has signed a solo record contract with Columbia Records. Nothing has been confirmed, but obviously fans are now thinking this means Styles could soon leave 1D for good. On the other hand, just because he may be pursuing a solo career doesn't necessarily mean Styles will leave the band permanently, but looking at the fact that the group started an extended hiatus this year and considering the way things have gone with boy bands past (*NSYNC, anyone?), there's a good chance he really is leaving the band So, when is Harry Styles leaving One Direction?

Bustle has reached out for comment from Styles' rep on Billboard's report, but hasn't yet received a response.

It's hard to say for certain when Styles will leave 1D, especially since the 22-year-old hasn't even commented on the solo career rumors. He has yet to explicitly say, "I'm going solo and leaving 1D." Really, details surrounding all of the reports are scarce, but seeing as One Direction is already on a "break" and that Styles has seemingly been working on songs by himself for sometime now (in 2015, he registered four songs under solely his name with the American Society of Composer, Authors, and Publishers), it could happen sooner rather than later. When it was first announced that Styles registered four songs, it was unclear when or if they would ever be released. The same can be said for 2016. Basically, if you want details and dates on his supposed solo album and the release of his first single, well, you're going to have wait a bit longer.

Let's say he decides to leave. Now more than ever just may be the perfect time for Styles to depart 1D and pave an individual singing path. Can you imagine if he left when the group wasn't on hiatus? That would be a disaster and even more emotional for fans. Even if he doesn't leave, since they are on a break, it also sounds like perfect timing for Styles to work on a solo album. So, maybe that's what he is thinking as well with hopes of coming back to the band at a later date.

So, what about those fans who aren't surprised by the news and expect him to leave? Well, it seems like they've been expecting it for some time now and are proud of him. Here's what they're saying on Twitter:

There are also some fans who aren't worried one bit, believe 1D will continue to go strong, and have faith Styles will continue to do both:

Whatever happens, it sure seems like Styles has the support of many. Plus, he's a talented guy, so if anyone can pull of a solo career, all while staying in a band, it's Styles. Remember, he might not pull a Zayn Malik, so don't get frustrated just yet.