Women in Music 2016

Zayn Malik Explains One Direction Exit: 'I Have To Do What Feels Right in My Heart'

Juan Naharro Gimenez/WireImage
Zayn Malik of One Direction attends "El Hormiguero" Tv show at Vertice Studio on October 31, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. 

On March 25, One Direction shocked fans by announced that Zayn Malik was officially leaving the incredibly successful boy band.

Malik -- who had previously taken off two tour dates due to "stress" following online rumors that he had cheated on his fiancée Perrie Edwards of Little Mix -- explained why he was parting ways with 1D on Facebook.

"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," Malik wrote.

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"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," he said. [Note: Plenty of fans are feeling let down, and are letting the whole world know on Twitter].

"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."

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Malik's "normal 22-year-old" comment echoes his most-recent tweet as of March 25, 1pm ET. 

Zayn Malik Leaves One Direction