Zayn Malik has spoken of his decision to leave One Direction after being signed off with stress for the first time, saying that while it is “crazy and wild and a bit mad”, he’s “never felt more in control” of his own life.
In an exclusive interview with The Sun conducted six hours after news of his departure from the world’s biggest boyband broke, the 20-year-old singer indicated not only that the door has been left open for him to return to the band in the future, but also that he didn’t intend to bow out of the limelight completely in the meantime.
In fact, we could be set to hear material from Malik as a solo artist sooner rather than later. He is currently in a West London studio working on new music with producer Naughty Boy, who masterminded Sam Smith’s award-winning debut.
In pictures: Zayn Malik
In pictures: Zayn Malik
Zayn performed Mario's 'Let Me Love You' in his audition in front of the X Factor judges
December 2010: Zayn (second right) and his bandmates ahead of the X Factor final
Zayn performing in Germany on tour with the band's first album, 'Up All Night'
Zayn Malik made it his New Year's resolution to quit smoking to improve his voice after being criticised by One Direction's management team
February 2012: One Direction pick up the British Single award for their song featuring Rizzle Kicks 'What Makes You Beautiful', at the Brits
The band perform on NBC's 'Today' show as they look to crack America
Zayn getting inked in Weymouth. The singer likes "getting tattoos and loves the whole culture behind them"
August 2013: Zayn gets engaged to Perrie Edwards, a singer with the group Little Mix
Zayn signing promotional material at Alexandra Palace following the release of One Direction's book 'Where We Are'
Zayn Malik and Harry Styles from One Direction attend the 'One Direction This Is Us' world premiere at the Empire Leicester Square
February 2014: One Direction win for British Video and Global Success at the Brit awards
May 2014: a video of Zayn Malik and his fellow bandmate Louis Tomlinson smoking a “suspicious-looking cigarette” was leaked online
19 March 2015: Zayn and bandmate Louis Tomlinson are told to post bonds of $5,000 each before they are allowed to take to the stage for a scheduled One Direction performance in Manila
20 March 2015: Zayn flies home from One Direction's World Tour due to stress
25 March 2015: Zayn becomes the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he says
Malik also discussed rumours that a rift had formed between the band, his engagement to Perrie Edwards (who fans have since branded the ‘Yoko Ono’ of 1D), and whether he thinks One Direction will be able to continue without him.
Here are the best quotes.
On finally coming to the decision to throw in the towel…
“It is crazy and wild and a bit mad.
“But at the same time I’ve never felt more in control in my life.
“And I feel like I’m doing what’s right — right by myself and right by the boys, so I feel good.”
On knowing he wanted out for a quite some time…
“You know, I did try to do something that I wasn’t happy doing for a while, for the sake of maybe other people’s happiness.
“And that was mainly the fans. And I only ever tried to do it for the fans, and it was only ever for them.”
On feeling like he’s let his fans down…
“That’s the main thing that I don’t want to happen.
“It’s not that I’ve turned my back on them or anything, it’s just that I just can’t do that anymore because it’s not real to me.”
On those rumours of a long-standing rift between the band…
“They couldn’t be more wrong, to be honest.”
On whether he thinks the band will stay together…
“They still want to do it for a while, so they’re going to carry on doing what they want to do.
“And I think they’re going to do ok for a while, do you know what I mean?
“I think they’re going to be cool.”
On confirming he is still engaged to Perrie Edwards…
“Yeah, she’s always supportive. She’s always good, man.”
On his acrimony-free departure being easier than when Geri Halliwell left the Spice Girls or Robbie Williams left Take That…
“My band has been really supportive. They’ve been really cool about it. And they understand that, you know, it’s not real to me anymore.”
On whether he’d ever consider returning to the band…
“I don’t think I can really answer that really. I don’t know.”Reuse content