Harry Styles thanks Jewish family for 'walking hours' to his Wembley gig on Shabbat

The former One Direction singer used to live in an Orthodox family's attic when he first moved to London


LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 11: EDITORIAL USE ONLY: Harry Styles performs on stage during The BRIT Awards 2023 at The O2 Arena on February 11, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Singer Harry Styles has thanked an Orthodox Jewish family for walking hours from their home in Hampstead to attend his sold-out Wembley gig.

Performing at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night during his worldwide tour, Styles told the 90,000 crowd how grateful he was to the Winston family, who took him in when he was just starting out in his music career and had attended the gig, despite it being on Shabbat.

Styles moved in with Ben Winston and his wife, Meredith, sleeping on a small mattress in their family’s attic. He had asked Ben - much to Meredith's initial protestations- if he could stay for two weeks until his new Hampstead house was ready to live in. He ended up living with the Winstons for nearly two years.

Those 20 months were when "One Direction went from being on a reality show, X Factor, to being the biggest-selling artists in the world,” said Winston in a 2017 Rolling Stone interview.

He added: “That period of time, he was living with us in the most mundane suburban situation. No one ever found out, really. Even when we went out for a meal, it’s such a sweet family neighbourhood, no one dreamed it was actually him.

"But he made our house a home. And when he moved out, we were gutted.”

The family’s Orthodox Jewish lifestyle, “with a strong family emphasis, helped keep him sane,” Rolling Stone reported.

In fact, so close are Styles and Ben to this day, that his hit single, As It Was, starts with the voice of Ben Winston’s daughter, Ruby, who Harry is godfather to. Ruby says in the beginning, “Come on, Harry, we want to say goodnight to you!”

Styles' time living in the attic for nearly two years "loosely" inspired the TV show Happy Together, which he and Winston helped co-produce.

Airing for one season, the show followed a married couple whose world (and home) is rocked by a rockstar — played by Styles' lookalike.

"Two weeks [after I told Styles he could stay] and he hadn’t bought his house yet," Winston explained to Rolling Stone. "It wasn’t going through. Then he said, 'I’m going to stay until Christmas, if you don’t mind.' Then Christmas came and [went.]"

The son of the IVF pioneer Lord Robert Winston, it was in 2014 that Ben, executive producer of The X Factor in the U.K, met Harry for the first time.

Winston would later go on to produce One Direction: This Is Us for Columbia Pictures and direct many of the English band’s music videos such as “Best Day Ever,” “You and I,” “Midnight Memories” and “Night Changes.”

Winston has produced and directed a number of pop culture-oriented films, documentaries, concerts and music videos. He has also produced Brit Awards from 2011 to 2014. More recently he was a co-producer of the Grammy Awards and Tony Awards.

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