Zayn opens up about One Direction split: ‘We got sick of each other’on July 12, 2023 at 10:19 am

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The star discusses his time in One Direction and fatherhood in his first interview for six years.

Zayn MalikImage source, Getty Images

Zayn Malik has revealed the reasons behind his abrupt departure from One Direction in his first interview for six years.

The star quit the band in the middle of their 2015 world tour, initially saying he had taken a break due to “stress”.

But speaking to the Call Her Daddy podcast, Zayn said he’d realised the band’s days were numbered when other members refused to sign new contracts.

“I knew something was happening, so I just got ahead of the curve,” he said.

“I was like, ‘I’m just going to get out of here, I think this is done’.”

He continued: “I just seen it [coming] and I completely selfishly wanted to be the first person to go and make my own record. If I’m being completely honest with you, I was like, ‘I’m going to jump the gun here’.

“I’m a passive dude, but when it comes to my music and my business, I’m serious about it and I’m competitive, so I wanted to be the first to go and do my own thing. That was the reason.”

The star added that there were underlying tensions after the band had endured five years of intense fame and scrutiny following their debut on X Factor.

“There was obviously underlying issues within our friendships, too. We’d got sick of each other if I’m being completely honest.”

However, he said time had given him more perspective on his boy band days.

Fond memories

“We were close, you know?” he said of the group. “We’d done crazy things with each other that nobody else in the world will ever understand and I look back on it now in a much fonder light than I would have [when] I’d just left.

“There were great experiences, I had great times with them, but we’d just run our course.”

The star was speaking ahead of the release of his comeback single Love Like This on 21 July.

One Direction in 2011

In the hour-long interview, he also told podcast host Alex Cooper about his struggles with anxiety, his love of cooking and his large collection of pets, including three dogs, three cats, three turtles and six chickens.

He laughed off his portrayal as “the moody one” in One Direction, saying it was “just a marketing scheme”, and compared the band’s public personas to “the Teletubbies and the Spice Girls”.

And he said he had been working to overcome the anxiety that has largely stopped him from performing since he left the band.

“As a young kid, I loved being on stage and I loved performing. When it became a thing that had a lot of weight behind it, in terms of people watching and stuff, then you’re going to have natural feelings of anxiety. It’s not a natural thing to do. I had to learn to adjust.”

The star also addressed the 2021 incident in which he was accused of harassing his ex-girlfriend, the supermodel Gigi Hadid, and her mother Yolanda.

The star pleaded no contest to four charges of harassment following a family argument, in which he was alleged to have grabbed and shoved Yolanda.

‘Amicable’ resolution

He later issued a statement in which he denied hitting the elder Hadid (no charges were filed relating to this accusation) and said he had agreed not to contest the harassment charges so he could concentrate on raising his daughter, Khai, with his ex-partner.

“I just didn’t want to bring attention to anything,” the star said, emphasising his desire for privacy.

“I just wasn’t trying to get into a negative back and forth with her [Yolanda], or any sort of narrative online where my daughter was going to look back and read that. There was no point.

“I believe I dealt with it in the best way, an amicable, respectful way, and that’s all that needs to be said.”

Zayn also spoke about how becoming a father had changed his outlook on life.

“When I’m with her, I don’t work at all,” he said. “I just spend a full day with her doing things that she wants to do, like painting, Play-Doh… go to the park, go to the theme park, go to the zoo.

“I feel like I’ve rekindled my own childhood through her, you know?

“I feel like we get to a certain point in adult life where everything’s kind of vague and grey and boring, and she’s brought that colour back for me.”

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