Zayn Malik quits One Direction: A timeline

One Direction were signed by Simon Cowell to Syco Records for a reported £2 million in 2010

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X Factor

One Direction was formed in 2010 when Niall Horan, Zayn Malk, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson entered auditions as solo candidates for series seven of The X Factor.

After failing to progress to the 'Boys' category they were put together as a boy band at Wembley Arena to qualify for the 'Groups'. Harry Styles came up with the name One Direction.

The band were Simon Cowell's last remaining act in the competition and subsequently came in at third place.

Recording contract

One Direction were then signed by Cowell to Syco Records for a reported £2 million. Recording for their début album began in January 2011.

'What Makes You Beautiful', the band’s first official single, made it to number one in the UK Singles Chart in September 2011.


The two subsequent singles, 'Gotta Be You' and 'One Thing', peaked in the UK Singles top ten, and One Direction’s second album Take Me Home was released in November 2012.


A stadium tour began in April 2014, along with the announcement of the band's third album, Four.

Departure of Zayn Malik

On 25 March 2015 following considerable speculation from fans and the media, the band released a statement saying that Zayn Malik was leaving the group, and that the remaining members would continue as a four-piece.