Tomlinson began his career as an actor, initially appearing in ITV drama Fat Friends as an extra. He also went on to appear in another ITV drama film If I Had You and the BBC drama Waterloo Road. In 2010, he became a founding member of One Direction after auditioning as a solo artist on The X Factor. In 2013, he was signed as a footballer by Doncaster Rovers of the Football League Championship on a non-contract basis.
Tomlinson was a sixth form student at Hall Cross School (a state comprehensive school) and a former pupil of the Hayfield School. He failed his first year of A levels at the Hayfield School and ended up going back to Hall Cross and starting A levels again. He had a number of jobs, including at a Vue cinema and at Doncaster Rovers football stadium as a waiter in the hospitality suites. As a student at Hall Cross, Tomlinson appeared in several musical productions. He admitted to not applying himself academically in school, but he thoroughly enjoyed being with his friends and being involved with musical productions. Taking the lead role of Danny Zuko in the Hall Cross musical production of Grease motivated him to audition for The X Factor.
Acting and The X Factor
Tomlinson, along with two of his siblings, had extra roles in Fat Friends. After Fat Friends, he attended an acting school in Barnsley. He had small parts in an ITV drama film If I Had You and BBC's Waterloo Road. As a student at Hall Cross, Tomlinson appeared in several musical productions. Being involved with musical productions at Hall Cross gave him a growing sense of ambition and determination. Taking the lead role of Danny Zuko in the Hall Cross musical production of Grease motivated him to audition for The X Factor. Tomlinson auditioned for The X-Factor in 2009 where he failed to progress past the producer's audition, but this minor defeat only gave him the determination to return the following year.
In 2010, Tomlinson auditioned for the seventh series of the singing competition The X Factor. He failed to progress to the "Boys" category at judges' houses but, after a suggestion from Nicole Scherzinger, a guest judge, during the bootcamp stage of the competition at Wembley Arena, London in July 2010, he was put together with Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Harry Styles to form a five-piece boy band, thus qualifying for the "Groups" category. Subsequently, the group got together for two weeks to get to know each other and to practise. Styles came up with the name One Direction. For their qualifying song at judges' houses and their first song as a group One Direction sang an acoustic version of "Torn" by Natalie Imbruglia. Simon Cowell later commented that the performance convinced him that the group "were confident, fun, like a gang of friends and kind of fearless as well." Within the first four weeks of the live shows, they were Cowell's last act in the competition. The group quickly gained popularity in the UK.
One Direction finished in third place and immediately after the final their song "Forever Young", which would have been released if they had won The X Factor, was leaked onto the internet. Shortly afterwards it was confirmed that One Direction had been signed by Cowell to a reported £2 million Syco Records record contract.
Propelled to international success by the power of social media, One Direction's first two albums, Up All Night and Take Me Home, released in 2011 and 2012 respectively, broke several records, topped the charts of most major markets, and generated hit singles, including "What Makes You Beautiful" and "Live While We're Young".
Often described as forming part of a new "British Invasion" in the United States, the group have sold over 35 million records worldwide, according to the band's management company, Modest! Management. Their achievements include two BRIT Awards, two American Music Awards, and three MTV Video Music Awards. According to Nick Gatfield, the chairman and chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment UK, One Direction represented a $50 million business empire by June 2012. They were proclaimed 2012's "Top New Artist" by Billboard. Tomlinson, along with his other band members, appeared in an episode of iCarly in spring 2012.
Tomlinson cites Robbie Williams as his biggest influence and idol. In an interview with Now magazine, he said: "I've always loved Robbie. He's just so cheeky, he can get away with anything. His performances are unbelievable." He also admires fellow British recording artist Ed Sheeran, describing him as "phenomenal".
Solo projects and hiatus
Tomlinson appeared on The X Factor in 2015, serving as a guest judge alongside Simon Cowell. Tomlinson has indicated he would be interested in becoming a permanent X Factor judge during the hiatus if he is asked.
In 2015, Tomlinson created his own record label, Triple Strings Ltd, as an imprint of his current label Syco. It was reported he was working with Simon Cowell to create a girl band and held auditions in 2015.
One Direction has a planned hiatus starting in March 2016 to pursue individual projects. During the hiatus, Tomlinson has plans to continue songwriting with fellow band member Liam Payne and spend time with his other band members. He is also busy mentoring and managing his currently nameless girl group.
Tomlinson, whose previous football experience had been to play and run his own pub team called Three Horseshoes, had agreed to play in a charity game at the Keepmoat Stadium in his home town of Doncaster to raise money for the Bluebell Wood Charity and was offered a deal by professional football club Doncaster Rovers to join the club on non-contract terms after impressing in the game. The deal was brokered for Tomlinson to be a development player and to participate in reserve games, working around his music commitments with One Direction. He was given the squad number 28 for the 2013–14 season. Tomlinson said of the move: "It's unbelievable really. I have been a massive football fan for a long time and growing up in Doncaster, I've been to plenty of games at the Keepmoat. To be part of the club is incredible." Rovers manager Paul Dickov joked, "He's missed pre-season training and he's having a holiday in America, so we'd better get him over here pretty soon.".
On 3 September 2013, it was announced that Tomlinson would make his debut for Doncaster's Reserve team in their Central League fixture against the Scunthorpe United reserve team on 18 September. Doncaster announced that despite the fixture being a reserve game they would be setting up a special ticket line for the match.
On 8 September, Tomlinson played for Celtic in another charity match for Stiliyan Petrov. During the game Tomlinson was injured following a tackle by Aston Villa and England striker Gabriel Agbonlahor and was substituted straight away. The tackle consequently caused Agbonlahor to receive abuse from One Direction fans on his Twitter account, and brought an apology from the player. As a result of injuries sustained in the match, Tomlinson was then forced to pull out of the Scunthorpe match, relegating himself to the bench, but promising that the match would be rescheduled.
His rescheduled debut for Doncaster's reserve side in the Central League came as a 65th-minute substitute in a 0–0 game against Rotherham United on 26 February 2014, a charity match in aid of Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice attended by a crowd in excess of 4,000. Tomlinson later participated in bandmate Niall Horan's Charity Football Challenge on 26 May 2014, at the King Power Stadium.
On 19 June 2014, Tomlinson and former chairman John Ryan confirmed they had taken over as joint-owners of Doncaster Rovers. It was later announced the takeover had fallen through, though Tomlinson continues to be involved with the club.
Tomlinson returned to Celtic Park on 7 September 2014, to take part in the MAESTRIO Charity Match, having been recruited to play for Rio Ferdinand's All-Stars against Paul McStay's Maestros. The match was attended by a crowd of around 25,000 with proceeds benefiting several charities including UNICEF, War Child, the Celtic Foundation and the Rio Ferdinand Foundation.
Whilst One Direction has put forth great group efforts towards charity work, Tomlinson himself has also done great charity work outside the band. He, along with band member Payne, co-hosted a charity ball held in honor of Believe in Magic, an organization that supports terminally ill children. Both Tomlinson and Payne got in a bidding war at the charity ball which resulted in Tomlinson donating £10,000 for Payne's face to be painted. He personally donated £2 million to Believe in Magic, while collectively he and Payne donated over £5 million. Fellow band members Niall Horan and Harry Styles could not attend the event, but also donated items to be auctioned off for Believe in Magic.
Tomlinson has been involved with charity work for several years. He has been thoroughly involved with Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice and is one their patrons. Tomlinson tends to get active social media to help boost support and awareness for his charity work. For his 23rd birthday, One Direction fans established a donation drive for Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice and set the bar high for the donation target. Tomlinson also turned to social media along with some of his family members for the charity Niamh's Next Step. This gained the charity several hundred followers on their Twitter account which drew in more awareness to the cause. During One Direction's hiatus, Tomlinson wants to increase his charity work with his newly found free time. He says about the charity work: "Being my age and being able to be in a position where I can help people out and give opportunities to other people is the most exciting thing to me."
In April 2016, Tomlinson was announced to be joining the Soccer Aid 2016 star line-up, an annual fundraiser for the children's organization UNICEF. He will be playing for the England squad alongside Robbie Williams, Olly Murs, Paddy McGuinness, Jack Whitehall, Marvin Humes, John Bishop and others on 5 June 2016. Tomlinson will be playing against his bandmate Niall Horan, who is playing for the Rest of the World team.
Tomlinson's parents, Troy Austin and Johannah Poulston, split when he was a toddler. He is estranged from his father. He has four half-sisters from his mother's second marriage to Mark Tomlinson: Charlotte "Lottie", Félicité "Fizzy", and identical twins Daisy and Phoebe, who had roles as babies in the television series Fat Friends alongside their brother. Mark and Johannah divorced while Louis was competing on The X Factor. Tomlinson has another half-sister, Georgia, from his father's second marriage. It was announced in October 2013 that his mother Poulston was expecting twins with her fiancé, Daniel Deakin. She gave birth to a set of fraternal twins, Ernest and Doris, on 12 February 2014. Poulston married Deakin on 20 July 2014.
Tomlinson was in a relationship with student Eleanor Calder for nearly four years, but the two broke up in March 2015. In July 2015 it was reported that Tomlinson was expecting a baby with 23-year-old unemployed American, Briana Jungwirth, who is based in Los Angeles. On 4 August 2015, on Good Morning America, he confirmed the reports. Their son, named Freddie Reign, was born on 21 January 2016. Tomlinson has stated in numerous interviews that he enjoys fatherhood and is looking forward to having more children in the future.
Since December 2015, he has been in a relationship with actress Danielle Campbell.
|2011||"Taken"||One Direction||Up All Night||Co-writer|
|"Everything About You"|
|2012||"Last First Kiss"||Take Me Home|
|"Back for You"|
|"Still the One"|
|2013||"Story of My Life"||Midnight Memories|
|"Don't Forget Where You Belong"|
|"Little Black Dress"|
|"Through the Dark"|
|"Little White Lies"|
|"Better Than Words"|
|"Why Don't We Go There"|
|"Does He Know?"|
|2014||"Steal My Girl"||Four|
|"Ready to Run"|
|"Change Your Ticket"|
|"Perfect"||Made in the A.M.|
|"End of the Day"|
|"Long Way Down"|
|"What A Feeling"|
|"Love You, Goodbye"|