They’re the biggest band n the world... and today their former bodyguard lifts the lid on life on the road with One Direction.
Andy Davies, who barely left their side for nine months, reveals how they even got an amazing invitation to perform for no less than Barack Obama.
He also tells how an American woman offered them ONE MILLION DOLLARS if they would spend the day with her 1D-obsessed daughter.
And, witnessing at first hand the hysteria that follows their every move, he talks of how the boys joke they’re now even bigger than The Beatles.
But he also reveals that despite their phenomenal success, Harry, 18, Niall, Liam and Zayn, all 19, and Louis, 20, are really lovely guys... so “polite and kind-hearted”.
Today, in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Mirror, the man the boys affectionately call Baldy talks about how he was responsible for tucking them in at night and dragging them out of bed in the morning, and how he gave them a hug and a pep talk when they missed home.
Andy, 45, witnessed how American First Lady Michelle Obama fell under the spell of the boys, who started on their incredible journey to superstardom as runners-up on The X Factor.
He reveals: “The boys had a really nice chat with Michelle and her daughters backstage at one of the gigs last March. They got on so well they ended up chatting for about an hour and swapped numbers.
“Michelle took a call from the President while they were talking. It was surreal because the boys could hear his voice on the other end. The President even asked Michelle to say ‘Hi’ for him, so they all excitedly shouted back, ‘hello’.
“They then had an invite to the White House from the President but had to turn it down because of schedules. They were all devastated.
“Michelle said they could reschedule so it’s all good.”
They are now due to play the gig of a lifetime next year on their world tour, which they’re all thrilled about – especially Niall, who Andy says loves President Obama: “He has a life-size statue of him at home... that’s how much he likes him.
“He kept asking Michelle questions about her husband, telling her how much he loved and respected him and that he had this statue. She found it really funny and said when they come over to bring a picture of it for him to see. In return she’s promised he’ll play a bit of American football with them.
“I remember Harry saying that Michelle reminded him of his mum because she seemed very kind and caring. She took a real interest in the boys and wanted to know everything about them all.”
Since the band was put together by Simon Cowell on the show in 2009, they have seen their debut album, Up All Night, go to No 1 in 15 countries.
Andy has seen first hand how their popularity has surged and the lengths to which some fans will go to get close to them. But he says nothing compares to the offer from one US socialite.
“We were in a lift in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and this lady offered the boys $1 million to meet her kids.
“Sometimes the parents can be worse than the actual fans. This lady didn’t understand why we couldn’t take her offer. Some of these very wealthy people will do anything for their daughters.
“Three years ago you wouldn’t have paid a fiver to meet the band. It’s truly astonishing.”
Andy tells how when he first started working for the boys he told his daughter: “I give it a week before I give one of them a clip round the ear.” But he says: “I love the boys to bits, and we’ve become great mates. As much as they enjoy their fame, I think they’re still a little taken back by it all. They’ll talk about it sometimes, usually when we’re surrounded by a sea of screaming girls.
“Harry will say, ‘We’re as big as The Beatles’ and then Niall will pipe up, ‘No we’re bigger than The Beatles’. But seriously they’re down-to-earth lads.... they don’t mean it.
“I think the guys are still slightly overwhelmed by the attention but they certainly do enjoy it. I don’t think anyone thought in their wildest dreams they’d be as big as they are.
“They’re flying everywhere first-class, staying in the poshest hotels and never have to put their hand in their pockets.
“They have everything given to them for free and have millions of girls screaming wherever they go.
“They’re living the dream and they know how lucky they’ve been. Sometimes though they just want to do the things everyone else does. We were staying in this lovely hotel in Kent during a photoshoot but all the boys wanted to do was camp. So we found a campsite, set up tents and built a campfire. They loved it.
“They don’t really talk much about the job when you’re with them. They’ll talk about other stuff... PlayStation, Fifa, mucking around. They’re just normal lads. They really are pleasant young men. Really polite, kind-hearted and very well-mannered.
“They’re not diva-ish at all. All they want before a concert is a bag of sweets and a Pepsi. They won’t say, ‘I want green grapes with no seeds that look like bananas’. They’re all pretty chilled.”
Andy insists the lads have their feet firmly on the ground and is quick to talk of their generosity: “The nicest thing was when the boys upgraded my flight to get me home in time for the birth of my little boy. Niall jammed my Twitter when he tweeted that my wife’s waters had broken. I had like 8,000 tweets from fans.”
Andy talks about each of the boys in turn, saying of Liam: “He’s the most sensible. He’s the most businesslike and the most professional. He would love to produce and write music. He’s already into the music writing.”
Of Niall, he says: “He just loves to play on his guitar and watch sport. He’ll often ask me to go and watch a football match with him, or go to a concert. He also loves his Skype...he’s always Skyping his friends. He likes a few pints and he’s a big eater.”
Andy tells how Zayn is more of a home-boy, saying: “He likes to get home at night, just chill and do things with his friends. He loves art. He’ll often buy canvases to do his own art. But he said he’d like to try acting at some point.”
Andy reveals Louis is the energetic one, saying: “He would instigate all the naughty things and is a cheeky chappy. He is very different when his girlfriend was around though... he’d become very mature.”
He says Harry is very sensitive, adding: “He wants to talk but doesn’t want to make conversation. You have to do all the talking. He just wants a bit of company. He’s always worried about his mum.
“Last year I had an arm wrestle with Harry and he saw the star tattoo on my bicep. A couple of weeks later he had exactly the same one. I think he was a little embarrassed when I teased him about it.
“They’re all quite tight but Harry’s a little bit of a loner. He has a hell of a way about him. He’s a very charming individual. Everyone who meets him notices that.
“All the guys are lovely individually but Harry does have a certain something about him that separates him. No-one ever has a bad word to say about him.”
Harry has been linked with a number of high-profile women, including US singer Lily Halpern, Irish photographer Sarah-Louise Colivet and Xtra Factor host Caroline Flack.
Commenting on Harry’s pulling power, Andy says: “He gets a lot of attention from girls. Harry is a charmer... a smooth operator.”
Andy had his work cut out trying to keep crazed fans at bay. He says he soon learned the tricks employed by girls to try to sneak into the boys’ rooms: “Quite often you’ll get the boys to bed and you have to stay on the landing for a couple of hours making sure girls aren’t coming up the stairwells, up the fire-escapes.
“Quite often they’ll check in to the hotel and start ringing each individual room to find out which room the boys are in. One of the craziest things I saw was a couple of girls in high heels and little black dresses, allegedly wanting to use the gym where the boys were training.”
He says that leaving the band was one of the hardest things he’s ever had to do, adding: “I miss the boys a great deal.
“They keep in touch though. Niall, Louis and Zayn are really good at that... they text me.
“Harry’s Harry... if I bumped into him tomorrow he would run up, give me a hug and say, ‘I miss you, man’.”
Andy says he will always follow their careers and has every confidence that they’ll only ever go in one direction... and that’s “even higher”.