Though they’ve spent most of the last week ressuring fans that their upcoming hiatus won’t be permanent, Simon Cowell has intimated that he won’t be putting any pressure on One Direction to reunite.

Ahead of the twelfth series of ‘The X Factor’ launching this weekend, 1D’s Syco record label boss Simon Cowell spoke to MailOnline on Wednesday night (August 26th) and admitted that he’d known for some time that the foursome would be taking an extended break after their “gruelling schedule” over the last few years.

One DirectionOne Direction performing in North America in August 2015

Over the weekend, One Direction dropped the bombshell and devastated their fans by announcing that they had decided to take at least one year out in order to focus on various solo projects. Cowell offered a bit of insight into his reaction: “When they said, ‘How do you feel about it?’ I said, ‘Do whatever you want.’ Having a year off is going to be a healthy thing.”

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“I've known for a while that they were going to take this year off. They had to because of their workload,” Simon said at the press do. “I did what I've always done with the guys and said you make your own decisions and I hope you stay together, but you've got to want to do it yourself so they're smart guys, they'll work it out.”

When asked whether he thought that Harry, Liam, Louis and Niall would get back together, Cowell gave a rather diplomatic answer. “I hope so, but like I said, it's not going to be because of any pressure from me,” he replied. “It really has to be, like we said in the beginning, this is an opportunity, you won it, and I've always had that attitude with them. They're nice guys and they're loyal so it'll be fine.”

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