Louis Tomlinson is eyeing a "more mature" career path.
The One Direction hunk is said to be "desperate" to lead a normal life with girlfriend Eleanor Calder and is starting to explore possibilities for when the group go their separate ways.
A source said: "He's desperate for a more normal life where he can just take his girlfriend out without worrying some nutter is going to claw her eyes out. He can see a life after One Direction and that's increasingly appealing to him.
"That's why he's so into songwriting these days - he wants to move the whole project on and attract a more mature fanbase. A lot is riding on how well the next album is received, because Louis and Liam wrote the majority of it.
"Oddly enough, the better it does, the more likely Louis is to head for the exit."
The constant attention from fans is taking its toll on the group - which also comprises Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik and Niall Horan - and insiders predict they won't be able to cope with the scrutiny much longer.
One source told heat magazine: "It's just not fun for the band any more. They don't have lives, they have full-time, round-the-clock, 24/7 jobs. and the way things are going, they're not going to make it through another year."