One Direction

Simon Cowell Defends One Direction

03 Jun 2014

TV guru comes to the rescue of his reality star protégés

Perhaps new father Simon Cowell knows what he will soon be in store for once baby Eric grows up? Or perhaps he recalls his own mis-spent youth? Whatever the reason, the TV impresario has waded into the One Direction scandal and defended his boy band in the wake of the group's smoking scandal, insisting they are one of the "hardest working" acts in music.

Band members 23 year old Louis Tomlinson and 21 year-old Zayn Malik hit headlines last week when footage of them apparently puffing on a dubious looking cigarette in a car in Peru was leaked to media outlets and went viral.

The pop stars have yet to comment on the video, but their mentor Cowell, who put the group together on the 2010 series of Britain's The X Factor, has publicly backed the pair by praising their work ethic.

In a red carpet interview he said, "I can't really comment on that. What I can say, however... is they are the hardest working boys I've ever worked with, they still haven't changed. They're really respectful to their fans, they're a great British export."

When asked by a reporter what advice he has for the group after the scandal, he added: "You know what, I can't comment on that. It's a private matter... I hope the fans stay loyal."

Liam Payne is the only member of the band to have commented on the clip - he took to Twitter over the weekend to apologise to fans, explaining the group has a lot of "growing up" to do.