The world — including Zayn Malik’s bandmates — is still reeling from his exit. The 22-year-old singer, who announced he was leaving the globally successful boy band after five years on Wednesday, has left his bandmates Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson “deeply saddened,” Payne revealed via an emotional and lengthy statement on Thursday, March 26.
"In light of recent events I think this is important to say,” the One Direction member wrote on Twitter. “For the past five years now I've been part of something so special I don't think any of us really understand, something that can mean the world to people and put a smile on the face of our fans even in the darkest times. To a lot of people it's just a bunch of silly kids in a band but to the people involved it means so much more.”
“This last week has been some of the worst times, possibly the worst it's something we are all deeply saddened by. It's sad to think for the time being we won't grace the stage as five bros or have the same fun on a tour bus or laughs in a hotel together that we have over the years but I'm super sure us and Zayn will always remain the closest friends,” he continued. “I guess what I'm really trying to say is it's far from over. When we very 1st became successful we all agreed that One Direction had become much bigger than each individual member that's why I feel like right now it's ok to be sad and upset but I do ask everyone who is a fan of us to please keep ur faith in us I'm sure there's a lot more to come,” he concluded in the emotional statement.
The five members were first united after competing on The X Factor in 2010, where they took third place before becoming UK sensations after their final song “Forever Young” was leaked to the Internet. Simon Cowell, who, along with fellow X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger, helped place them into the group, then signed them to his label. After releasing their debut single “What Makes You Beautiful” in September 2011, which became the most pre-ordered Sony Music Entertainment single in history, the band took off worldwide.
Malik, who is engaged to Pierre Edwards, said he left the group because he wanted to experience a regular 22-year-old’s life, but sources close to the group tell Us Weekly he simply “just wasn’t happy.”
“He felt he had gotten everything he can out of being in the band and that it was now time to change his life and be away from all the craziness.,” the source explained to Us, while another insider added, “The stress got to him and he just realized he wanted a normal life. It just got to be too much.”