When she dazzled screaming fans in London’s Leicester Square for the premiere of One Direction’s movie, This Is Us, with a ring containing three diamonds, speculation began that one of the members of the hottest boyband in the world had made things official with his girlfriend of almost 18 months. A few hours later, British tabloids and Perrie’s family confirmed it – Zayn had proposed to the pop starlet and ‘Zerrie’ are set to walk down the aisle. One source said: “It was so romantic – Zayn popped the question over the weekend when they were alone together. It’s one of the first weekends they’ve spent with each other, as they’ve both been on tours with their bands. He wanted to wait for the perfect moment."
Perrie’s mum Debbie also told a radio station: “Yes, it’s true. They got engaged on Sunday and it was absolutely lovely. It’s wonderful because Zayn’s absolutely gorgeous and Perrie loves him to pieces and it’s just perfect. They just get on so well together and they understand each other.” The couple, both 20, are part of two bands dominating the world’s charts, as well as the walls of teenage girls’ bedrooms around the globe.
Zayn, who hails from the city of Bradford in the north of England, is one fifth of One Direction with Harry Styles, 19, Louis Tomlinson, 21, Liam Payne,19, and Niall Horan, 19. The band were put together in 2010 after auditioning separately for the UK version of The X Factor. They came third in the show, but music supremo Simon Cowell had bigger plans in mind – world domination. With a £2 million (Dhs11.5 million) record deal signed, their first single What Makes You Beautiful hit the UK top spot, and their album Up All Night became the biggest selling of 2011, totting-up 12 million sales.
Over the Atlantic, the boys are also going down a storm. They became the first British group in US history to enter at number one in the Billboard chart with their debut album.
Meanwhile, Perrie’s band, Little Mix, have sold two million records since getting together two years ago, also on The X Factor, which they won in 2011.
Perrie, who is from South Shields near Newcastle in England, joined Jesy Nelson, 22, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, 21, and Jade Thirlwall, 20, in the band. Also part of Simon Cowell’s SyCo stable, they debuted higher than the Spice Girls on the US Billboard Chart.
So, as members of the two juggernauts of music get together, it can only mean one thing: they’re set to become Britain’s most powerful pop pair.
“Mum, I Married a Billionaire!”
It’s little wonder Perrie’s mum says their relationship is “perfect” – her daughter’s set to marry a member of what’s being dubbed the world’s first billion-dollar boyband. They’re already officially the UK’s richest boy band according to the Sunday Times Rich List, which set their fortune at £5 million pounds (Dhs28 million) each, but One Direction are on course to make the landmark billion dollar sum (Dhs3.6 billion) by the end of the year, say experts. However, Perrie’s not short of cash either. Though Little Mix are not quite in the same league as 1D, it’s estimated they’re on track to make £8 million (Dhs46 million) between them. If things continue to go well they could even rival the fortunes of minted couples like Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel who are worth $118 million (Dhs433 million), though they’re still a little way off the stash of $300 million (Dhs1 billion) that Posh and Becks who have amassed.
1D fans are notorious for their use of Twitter and the group has 50 million followers between them. During the This Is Us premiere, 3.9 million tweets were sent on the subject. But they’re not always pleasant. When GQ questioned the band’s lifestyles, tweets they got from fans included: “Can I please stab every single person who works for GQ?” When Harry dated TV presenter Caroline Flack she was bombarded with death threats online, and Ellie Goulding, Niall’s girlfriend, has experienced a similar response since it’s been confirmed that they’re now dating.
And the nastiness isn’t limited to fans alone. Members of British boy band The Wanted regularly have Twitter spats with rivals 1D, with fans on either side fiercely protecting their heartthrobs. So it’s no surprise that fans have shown their disapproval now. One fan tweeted, “I am crying” while another posted a picture saying, “The Beatles Broke Up after John Lennon got engaged. The Jonas Brothers broke up when Kevin got engaged.” One obviously distraught girl also wrote: “Dear Perrie, whenever you’re holding Zayn’s hand hold it tight, you’re holding my entire world.”
Zayn hit the front pages of the British tabloids on 27 January this year with claims he’d cheated on “His Little Mix” with Aussie dancer Courtney Webb, 21. Courtney, who worked in London’s Soho received death threats after somebody posted her phone number on Twitter. Zayn left his 1D bandmates in Cannes, France, to go patch things up with Perrie, and it was reported the pair decided to move in together. However, Perrie had her doubts. “She’d wanted to take the next step for ages,” said a pal at the time, “But now she feels she’s still getting to grips with the situation. She’s still terrified that other girls could come forward with allegations.” So has he changed his ways? Let’s hope so. In June he got a tattoo of Perrie on his arm, and described their love as “stronger than ever”. He said: “Perrie was shocked at first but she loves it now.”