Louis Tomlinson used to be a ''cocky little sh*t.''

The 26-year-old singer shot into the limelight in 2010 when his band One Direction - who are currently on an extended hiatus - were thrown together on 'The X Factor', and he has admitted he's been forced to grow up quickly because of the trials and tribulations the group have faced over the years, as well as losing his beloved mother Johannah to leukaemia and becoming a father to his son Freddie.

Speaking to The Sun newspaper, he said: ''I'm conscious about the way I've changed in the eight years since I was on the show. I've grown up fast, because I now have a lot of responsibility on my shoulders.

''I've always been quite thick-skinned and I owe that to where I come from but also growing up in the industry, which is a very humbling thing. When I first came into the band, or when I was 17 say, a year before the band, I was a cocky little s***. After everything that's happened to me, I've quietened down a bit. The experiences I've had have forced me to grow up fast. I mean, I can still party. I'd still drink you under the table, don't worry about that.''

As well as trying to be a good example for his two-year-old son Freddie, whom he has with stylist Briana Jungwirth following a brief fling in 2015, Louis is also serious about his girlfriend Eleanor Calder following their reconciliation last year.

He explained: ''Look, behind closed doors I still like to be a chav and a bit reckless, but I also feel a real responsibility.''

The hunk is currently trying to finish his debut solo album while juggling his new role as a judge on the UK's 'The X Factor' but he's adamant music is his ''priority.''

He said: ''Let me get one thing straight, music is the priority but doing these things with Simon [Cowell] as well will make me a better artist. Seeing all these different people, hearing their stories, it's all important for what makes me an artist.

''The only reservation I had was 'Can I still finish my record at the same time?' and I can. It just means that I'm properly busy, which is so much better than twiddling my thumbs and wondering what to do next.''