Why Did Zayn Malik Leave One Direction?

26 March 2024, 14:22 | Updated: 26 March 2024, 14:30

Zayn Malik embarked on a solo career after leaving One Direction
Zayn Malik embarked on a solo career after leaving One Direction. Picture: Getty/PA
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When did Zayn Malik actually leave One Direction bandmates Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Liam Payne? And what did he say his reason was?

One Direction is undoubtedly one of the biggest boy bands of our time since they first appeared on the X Factor in 2010 so it came as a massive shock when Zayn confirmed he would be leaving all those years ago.

Now, making a comeback into the music industry with a new album and even potentially a tour, fans of the singer are recapping on his time in the band from exactly when he left to his reasons why.

Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne came third in the ITV singing competition and went on to have the most successful career as a band, before going on to embark on equally successful solo projects.

However, the end of their time as full 1D happened when the father of one decided it was time for him to depart, leaving the rest to produce music for another year without him, before eventually announcing they would be taking a hiatus in January 2016.

But when did Zayn leave One Direction and why did he make the decision to go solo first? Here's what we know.

One Direction were together from 2010-2016
One Direction were together from 2010-2016. Picture: PA

When did Zayn Malik leave One Direction?

The ‘Flames’ hitmaker, who has a three-year-old daughter with model Gigi Hadid, announced on March 25, 2015, that he would be leaving the band.

At the time the boys were on their ‘On the Road Again Tour’ and he pulled out just two months in due to stress and anxiety, according to his rep at the time.

Zayn Malik makes surprise appearance on Fallon

Why did Zayn Malik leave One Direction?

His last performance with the 1D boys was in Hong Kong on March 18, 2015.

In an announcement on Facebook, 1D penned a statement which revealed Zayn wanted to leave the band to live a 'normal’ life.

It read: "After five incredible years Zayn Malik has decided to leave One Direction. Niall, Harry, Liam and Louis will continue as a four-piece and look forward to the forthcoming concerts of their world tour and recording their fifth album, due to be released later this year.

"My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band.

"I'd like to apologise to the fans if I've let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart. I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight. I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry and Niall. I know they will continue to be the best band in the world."

However, after having years to reflect on his departure, Zayn has also admitted he quit as he wanted to be the first to leave after growing concerns about the band's future and his friendships with Harry, Liam, Niall and Louis.

Speaking to Alex Cooper on her podcast Call Her Daddy, Zayn admitted there was more to his decision as he said: "I was like, 'I'm just going to get out of here, I think this is done'.

"I completely selfishly wanted to be the first person to go and make my own record. There was obviously underlying issues within our friendships, too. We'd got sick of each other if I'm being completely honest."

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