Going their own way. For some musical artists, they needed to leave their former bands to explore opportunities as a solo act.
Zayn Malik did just that in 2015. He left his longtime One Direction bandmates Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne to embark upon a solo music career, dropping his debut record the following year. The singer has had success through songs including “Pillowtalk” and “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever,” a song that he performed alongside Taylor Swift for the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack.
While speaking with British Vogue in 2018, he explained the reasoning behind his decision to leave the band. “We went from theaters to arenas to stadiums — there was never any sort of bridge between. Just boom, boom, boom,” he told the magazine at the time. “I guess that kind of progression to any mind — but especially when you’re 17, 18 — it kind of affects you a little bit.”
Malik added, “People take it different ways — especially when there are five different personalities. The relationships had broken apart.”
Jesy Nelson parted ways with her former band, Little Mix, in December 2020. Just before officially bidding adieu, her rep confirmed to Us Weekly that the U.K. native was taking an extended hiatus due to health reasons.
“The truth is recently being in the band has really taken a toll on my mental health. I find the constant pressure of being in a girl group and living up to the expectations very hard,” she wrote via Instagram of her exit. “There comes a time in life when we need to reinvest in taking care of ourselves rather than focusing on making other people happy, and I feel like now is the time to begin that process. So after much consideration and with a heavy heart, I’m announcing I’m leaving Little Mix.”
The “Wings” singer noted that she wanted to “spend time with the people I love” and “doing things that make me happy,” adding, “I’m ready to embark on a new chapter in my life — I’m not sure what it’s going to look like right now, but I hope you’ll still be there to support me.”
The “Can’t Stop the Feeling” crooner opened up to The Hollywood Reporter in 2017 about what led to his departure. “We were on a stadium tour, and I just felt like the whole thing was too big,” he explained. “It started as a fun snowball fight that was becoming an avalanche. And, also, I was growing out of it. I felt like I cared more about the music than some of the other people in the group. And I felt like I had other music I wanted to make and that I needed to follow my heart.”
Scroll down to see the many stars who have left their groups over the years.