Zayn Malik has broken his silence since announcing he was leaving One Direction.
Speaking exclusively to British newspaper The Sun, the 22-year-old said that his decision to quit the group was “crazy and wild and a bit mad. But at the same time I’ve never felt more in control in my life. I feel like I’m doing what’s right — right by myself and right by the boys, so I feel good.”
Malik goes on to say it was not a decision that he had taken lightly, but one that he had taken for the sake of his own personal fulfillment.
“I did try to do something that I wasn’t happy doing for a while, for the sake of maybe other’s people’s happiness. And that was mainly the fans. I only ever tried to do it for the fans. I’m only upset [because] I feel like I may have let them down in some sort of way,” the Bradford-born singer told The Sun’s Dan Wootton.
He added: “That’s the main thing that I don’t want to happen. It’s not that I’ve turned my back on them or anything. It’s just that I can’t do that anymore because it’s not real to me.”
Malik also denied a rift between him and band members Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Liam Payne was a contributory factor behind his shock decision to exit the group.
“They couldn’t be more wrong,” he said of the media speculation. “My band has been really supportive. They’ve been cool about it. And they understand that, you know, it’s not real to me anymore,” stated the singer, who is currently working in a London recording studio with British producer Naughty Boy on his solo debut.
Pressed by Wootton if the door was open for him to one day return to 1D, Malik said: “I really don’t know if I can answer that. I don’t know.”
He was, however, more forthcoming about the future of One Direction without him.
“They still want to do it for a while,” Malik said of his former band mates. “They’ll carry on doing what they want to do and I think they’re going to do okay for a while. I think they’re going to be cool.”
Malik’s shock exit from One Direction due “to stress” came shortly after he was pictured with his arm around a girl in a nightclub in Thailand, prompting speculation that he had cheated on his fiancée, Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards. Shooting down those accusations, Malik confirmed that he remained engaged to Edwards, calling her “always supportive” and “a good girl.”