Credit: ABC

While members of One Direction have assured fans their 2016 break won’t turn into a permanent dissolution, the band’s recently announced hiatus news still has fans apprehensive about the group’s future. But Wednesday, X Factor judge Simon Cowelltold Yahoo Celebrity UK he doesn’t believe the year off equates to a breakup.

“I don’t know if they’re going to split up to be honest with you,” Cowell told the site at an X Factor launch Wednesday.

The former American Idol judge confessed that the boy band was “100%” overworked since coming together on X Factor five years ago. “Even though they were young, that was a grueling schedule and after a while I could see they were exhausted so when they asked how I felt about it I said for them to do whatever they want.” Cowell says. “I’ve known for a while that they were going to take 2016 off, and they had to on their workload.”

Despite prior knowledge of the hiatus, Cowell says he left the decision up to the four-some. “I said, ‘Make your own decisions, I hope you stay together but you’ve got to want to do it for yourselves,'” he says. “But they’re smart guys and they’ll work it out.”

At the launch, Cowell hinted that Louis Tomlinson might already have plans for his year off (besides becoming a dad, of course). “I think Louis might be on one of the shows,” he said, referring to a possible mentorship on X Factor.

For more, head to Yahoo.