PA WITH A STAR
One Direction phenomenon Harry Styles and dad Des
It was the day the happiest face in pop was creased with anguish.
Harry Styles was unable to hold back the tears when his father sat him down and broke the news he was going to leave.
For the seven-year-old boy destined to become one of the biggest stars on the planet - it felt like the end of the world.
Even now Harry's dad says the memory of his boy in tears breaks his heart.
In an exclusive interview with The People, Des, 54, recalled: "It was the worst day of my life. He wasn't a cry baby or generally emotional. But he cried then."
Des Styles and wife Anne struggled to explain their break-up to littleHarry and his sister Gemma, who was 10.
But although he left them two years later he stayed in close contact with his children. He has allowed us a peek at the family photo album. And he has fascinating insights into the One Direction star's life - and his relationships with females.
Wherever Harry goes, girls want a cuddle and a photo of them together.
Des recalled: "We went on holiday to Cyprus when Harry was eight and as we left there was a whole gathering of teenage girls, 16 and 17-year-olds, by the bus saying, 'Bye, Harry. We love you.' "How did he do that? He's just got this fantastic personable demeanour. Clearly he's a bit special. It's not just his looks but he's very charming. It's like a gift." But Des said he thought the age gap between Harry, 18, and TV presenter Caroline Flack, 32, was "extreme".
And he is sure the star's memory of his parents' split left a deep impression.
Des said: "Harry was only about seven when I sat them down and told them I was leaving. Everybody was in tears.
"We were in the lounge. Gemma and Harry were sitting on the floor in front of us, Anne and I on the sofa.
"Both the children were crying. Generally you wouldn't see them cry as much as maybe some kids do.
"I didn't just leave. It was a decision we should split. Things weren't good for a while and it was the best way forward so that's what we did."
Des told how he and Anne tried to reassure their distraught son by telling him his dad would not leave immediately.
The couple carried on for another two years before he eventually moved out.
He recalled: "Of course I missed him and Gemma. You would unless you were some sort of monster. When he was a baby I used to feed him every night, change his nappy and put him to bed."
Sales and marketing director Des admitted he never fully discussed the break-up with his son.
He said: "I always tried to approach it from the other way, to say, 'Is everything all right, Harry? Is your mum all right? Are you OK? I used to see Harry and his sister Gemma every couple of weeks. I've always supported them financially and, when I can, emotionally. I'm not an estranged dad. It was a tough time obviously to leave them but these things happen.
"I never needed to sit him down and tell him about the birds and the bees.
"I tried to train him up as we went along. We had conversations and it was almost as though he'd say, 'Yeah, Dad, I'm on board with that,' rather than going all sicky and saying, 'Oh, Dad, don't talk about things like that,' as some kids do.
"He's not one to run three girls at once. He's a one girl person when he's with somebody. There was a short period when he had several different girlfriends one after the other and I said, 'Look, don't get a reputation because there'll be a point where the girls will catch on to that.'
"He said, 'Yeah' and took it on board. But whether he tries to live by that mantra I've no idea. As far as I know Harry doesn't have a girlfriend at the moment.
"They, the band, are very rarely in the same place for him to be able to do that. I said to Harry, 'Just make sure you don't get anyone pregnant.
"If that were to happen it would really screw things up big time. There's nothing I can do to stop him doing things anyway. He's in a different world now.
"From a One Direction aspect it wouldn't be great for all sorts of reasons. Still, I don't think it would bother him too much if he did get a girl pregnant.
"He would be a responsible parent and just get on with it. I honestly think that's the way he would be. Harry is polite and well mannered. He's trained up properly.
"That wasn't me. That would be Anne. But in his early years it was me. I say show me the lad at seven and I'll show you the man. So I was there then."
Harry formed One Direction with Louis Tomlinson, 20, Liam Payne, 18, Zayn Malik , 19, and Niall Horan, 18, after they all lost out as X Factor solo acts in the 2010 series.
The new boyband were placed third the following year - but their album Up All Night became the fastest-selling UK debut.
The phenomenon took off. Their tours sold out in minutes and they became the only British act ever to have their first album go straight to No1 in the US.
Last week music industry experts claimed One Direction will earn £64million next year and go on to be one of the world's first billion dollar bands.
Des said he is overwhelmed by the success and astonished by the hysteria.
He told The People: "I went to New York in April to watch them on TV.
There were 15,000 fans on Rockefeller Plaza all screaming their heads off.
"I spent a few days with the lads in their van going round, experiencing what they were experiencing. It was awesome.
"The fact that they all get on so well together and are bouncing off each other all the time is great.
"You can imagine it must be like that cracking it as a footballer.
awesome how the
girls went nuts
"The girls go nuts. In New York we were having to hide Harry in the back of the van because there were 500 people outside the hotel. He can't go anywhere.
"He should ride the wave, I think. Anybody would be mad to turn down what they're doing but it doesn't look very good from a girlfriend or prospective partner's point of view, does it?
"I've been married three times so I wouldn't say anyone should take a leaf out of my book, though." Last October Harry was still 17 and dated Caroline Flack, 15 years his senior. They split up after three months. Des said: "It seemed a bit ridiculous - 32 or whatever she was and Harry 17. That's a bit extreme."
But Des is never surprised at his son's knack of winning hearts.
He said: "I always knew he would succeed at whatever he did because he can always charm people.
"From singing in the car or on holiday he'd always be able to hold a crowd even when he was a kid.
"His sister has always been academically brilliant and when he was 14 he would say, 'I'll never live up to Gemma.' But look what's happened. I'm just so proud of Harry. Three years ago he was working in a bakery and now he's among the world's most mentioned on Twitter. The downside for me is I hardly see him. I keep up with his life better through the papers and web.
"It's been more difficult for Anne because Harry went to the X Factor house and he never really came back.
"On Father's day Harry sent me texts saying 'love you more than all the world, kiss kiss kiss, from LA'.
"Gemma bought me a nice bottle of wine from her and Harry.
"I'm very proud to be his dad but I don't want to exploit that. I just want to be here if he needs me. That's it really."