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.
“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.”
Malik’s “normal 22-year-old” comment echoes his most-recent tweet as of March 25, 1pm ET.
I’m 22 years old… I love a girl named Perrie Edwards. And there’s a lot of jealous fucks in this world I’m sorry for what it looks like x
— zaynmalik1D (@zaynmalik) March 18, 2015