Harry was born in Evesham, Worcestershire, England to Des Styles and Anne Cox. He has an older sister, Gemma. When Harry was seven years old, his parents divorced. His mother later remarried to Robin Twist. As a child Harry loved singing. He's listed Elvis Presley as one of his influences.
Harry was the lead singer for the band White Eskimo with band members Hayd Morris (lead guitarist), Nick Clough (bass guitarist), and Will Sweeny (drummer). They came together to compete in a Battle of the Bands. The band won the competition, and it helped Harry realize that he loved performing in front of people.
In 2010, when he was sixteen years old, Harry auditioned for the seventh season ofThe X Factor. He wanted a professional opinion on his singing because up until then his mom was the one telling him he was a good singer. Before his audition he said, "Singing's what I want to do, and if people who can make that happen for me don't think that I should be doing that, then it's a major setback in my plans."
Harry sang "Isn't She Lovely" and received positive comments from Simon Cowell andNicole Scherzinger, while Louis Walsh had doubts on whether he was ready to progress in the competition. At bootcamp, Harry sang "Stop Crying Your Heart Out" before being rejected and put into One Direction.
Following The X Factor, One Direction signed a record contract with Sony Music subsidiary Syco Music. They released their studio album, Up All Night.
Harry is very close to his mother, Anne, and his sister, Gemma.
Harry briefly dated Caroline Flack in 2011 when he was 17 and she was 32. Their relationship caused widespread controversy because of their fifteen year age gap. They met in 2010 while Harry was a contestant on The X Factor, and Caroline was the co-host of the companion show, The Xtra Factor. Harry would often flirt with Caroline during interviews, and admitted to being attracted to her. Romance rumors grew after October 16, 2011, when it was reported that Harry and Caroline were seen kissing at at an X Factor after party. Both denied there was a relationship. Rumors went unproven until December 2011 when he was seen leaving her London home early in the morning after having spent the night.
Throughout the relationship, Caroline received death threats from many One Direction fans as well as intense media scrutiny during the relationship. Although at the time neither confirmed they were together, on January 26, 2012, through Twitter Harry revealed the relationship had mutually ended. She and Harry still remain friends.