Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw says he previously slept with a girlfriend at university because he thought being gay was a phase.

The 29-year-old told The Sunday Times Style magazine: “It was fine. It wasn’t horrible. Some of my gay friends can’t touch a bra, but I was never like that, I wasn’t repulsed. But it didn’t feel natural. It felt there was an effort, like, ‘Oh, maybe I’ll touch her hair now.’ It felt like acting.”

Asked about his showbiz friendship with One Direction singer Harry Styles, Grimshaw said: “I just kept running into him and interviewing him, then we met properly at a GQ dinner two years ago. I always got on with him. He’s really funny and he’s very easy to hang out with, and I think that’s why everyone likes him.”

When asked if the 19-year-old was the “sort of person” he could have a relationship with, Grimshaw replied: “I don’t know. I don’t know.”

Styles has repeatedly dismissed rumours about his sexuality and reading into the pair’s bromance.

Grimshaw also rejects the idea of their being an intriguing age gap in their friendship. “I think that in London age is less of a thing. Like, we went out to dinner with all my friends whose ages range from 45 to 30, and also my brother Andy, who’s 42, and a real blokey Man United fan and he [Andy] said, ‘He’s all right, that kid.’ He can hold his own.”

Grimshaw also claims he has still never had a serious relationship – but wants that to change. “I think this year, maybe because of doing radio every day and having to be honest every day, and having to do interviews where you’re asked probing questions, you start to think in a more adult way. I guess I’ve been more happy this year, more honest with myself, and figured out who I am. I don’t feel I want to impress anyone, I don’t go on a date and think, ‘Oh, what am I going to wear?’ I don’t give a shit. I just want to find someone who really does like me. There’s definitely been a change this year — and I’d like to have a boyfriend.”

Grimshaw took over the BBC Radio 1 breakfast slot from Chris Moyles in September 2012.

The DJ spoke about his sexuality for the first time in an interview with the Guardian 1 month prior.