Zayn Malik Breaks Silence After One Direction Exit: “I Feel Like I’ve Let the Fans Down”

Zayn Malik has spoken out for the first time since he left One Directi
Zayn Malik has spoken out for the first time since he left One Direction Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

Zayn Malik has spoken out for the first time since quitting boy band sensation One Direction — and the 22-year-old hunk says he's finally "doing what's right."

The "Best Song Ever" singer broke teenage hearts across the world on Wednesday, March 25, when he announced he was quitting the band mid-tour, leaving the group to continue as a foursome.

Talking to British newspaper The Sun for the first time since his shock departure from the chart-topping boy band, Malik says his main concern is for the fans, and reveals he only continued in One Direction for as long as he did because of them.

"I feel like I've let the fans down but I can't do this anymore," he told the outlet. "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 the real me."

"I did try to do something that I wasn't happy doing for a while, for the sake of other people's happiness," he continued, adding that reality feels a bit overwhelming for him right now. "It is crazy and wild and a bit mad," he said, "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."

Malik insists talk of friction between him and former bandmates Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Niall Horan is entirely false.

"My band has been really supportive. They've been cool about it," he said. "And they understand that, you know, it's not real to me anymore." Malik also says his fiancee, Perrie Edwards (who he calls a “great girl”), is completely behind his decision.

The teen heartthrob admits he has plans to record as a solo artist in the future, and reveals he's been working on his own music for some time now.

And it looks like he means business! Despite saying he plans to "chill" for a while, and just “be me,” a source tells Us Weekly he spent Thursday, March 26, getting straight to work, holed up in a studio with producer Naughty Boy.

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