X Factor co-presenter Caroline Flack has discussed dating One Direction‘s Harry Styles and the controversy it caused due to their 14-year age gap.
Flack and Styles briefly dating in 2011 when the singer was 17 and the then-host of spin-off ITV2 show The Xtra Factor was 31.
“I already knew that he had a crush on me, he’s made it pretty obvious as he’s said it in magazines and said it to friends,” Flack told The Sun on Sunday.
“I’ve never felt I was much older than Harry. I still feel 18 and I probably act that way half the time. Although it was just a bit of fun we decided it was best to keep it to ourselves as we were both working for Simon Cowell.”
Despite the age difference, Flack says matter only “turned sour” when their relationship went public, revealing that she suffered abuse from strangers in the street.
“We were both single, we got on well and we had a laugh. It was only when it become public knowledge that things turned sour. At the beginning it was all very playful. He joked about being attracted to older women.”
“It began to go wrong when he was pictured coming out of my house one morning. And that was that. In the street people started shouting ‘paedophile’ at me in the street and ‘pervert’.”
Flack recently took over as co-host of X Factor along with singer Olly Murs after former presenter Dermot O’Leary left the show.