Zayn Malik quits One Direction: 'I'd like to apologise to the fans if I've let anyone down'

'I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight,' he said

Zayn Malik has officially left One Direction.

The singer left the Asian leg of the band's world tour after being signed off with stress last week.

Malik said in a statement: “My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band. I'd like to apologise to the fans if I've let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart.

"I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight. I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry and Niall. I know they will continue to be the best band in the world."

 

In an official statement from the band, One Direction added: "We're really sad to see Zayn go, but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future. The past five years have been beyond amazing, we've gone through so much together, so we will always be friends. The four of us will now continue. We're looking forward to recording the new album and seeing all the fans on the next stage of the world tour."

Simon Cowell said: "I would like to say thank you to Zayn for everything he has done for One Direction. Since I first met Zayn in 2010, I have grown very, very fond - and immensely proud - of him. I have seen him grow in confidence and I am truly sorry to see him leave. As for One Direction, fans can rest assured that ‎Niall, Liam, Harry and Louis are hugely excited about the future of the band."

Malik pulled out of a scheduled Coca-Cola commercial shoot in Hong Kong and flew home from the Asian leg of the One Direction tour last Thursday.

“Zayn has signed off with stress and is flying back to the UK to recuperate,” a spokesperson for the band told The Independent.

“The band wish him well and will continue with their performances in Manila and Jakarta.”

The 22-year-old singer became the subject of tabloid speculation this week after photographs emerged of him purportedly holding the hand of a partygoer outside a nightclub in Phuket, Thailand. He is currently engaged to Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards.

News also emerged on Thursday that Malik and bandmate Louis Tomlinson had been ordered to pay $5,000 (£3,300) in drug bonds each ahead of their stage show in the Philippines.

The two singers will immediately forfeit the bond if they are caught using or promoting illegal drugs during their time in the country.

However, Malik received praised from mental health experts for his admission about suffering from stress.

“When you are a high profile celeb in the public eye, the stresses and strains are likely to be enormous,” Dr Sandi Mann, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Central Lancashire tells The Independent.

“Many ‘ordinary’ people think that it must be easy street at the top, but there are different pressures; living in a goldfish bowl where your every action, word, tweet and nose-scratch is observed, commented on and shared must present an enormous strain.

“It is also harder to admit you are not coping – it is hard for anyone to admit that, but when you are such a public figure, you know that the intense interest that such an admission will generate will be massive.”

“We all experience stress at some point in our lives but there are some professions which are more pressured,” Dr Georgina M. Hosang, an expert in life stress and depression at Goldsmiths University, adds.

“Being a celebrity, particularly a music artist, is a demanding career path which often requires long days, high productivity and media scrutiny. Lack of sleep and being subject to public criticism is likely to impact on one's mood and self-esteem.”

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