Zayn Malik Gets Candid About Why He Left One Direction

Zayn Malik has opened up and spoken candidly about why he chose to leave One Direction. In his first interview in six years, the singer appeared on a new episode of the Call Her Daddy podcast and told host Alex Cooper that he exited the iconic boy band in 2015 after anticipating changes. "I knew something was happening, so I just got ahead of the curve," Malik offered. "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," Malik went on to explain. "If I'm being completely honest with you, I was like, 'I'm going to jump the gun here.' I'm a passive dude, but when it comes to my music and my business, I'm serious about it and I'm competitive, so I wanted to be the first to go and do my own thing. That was the reason." 

Malik later confessed, "There was obviously underlying issues within our friendships, too. We'd got sick of each other, if I'm being completely honest." He added, "We were close... we'd done crazy things with each other that nobody else in the world will ever understand and I look back on it now in a much fonder light. There were great experiences, I had great times with them, but we'd just run our course."

After leaving One Direction, Malik stuck out on his own musical career. In 2016 he released his debut solo album, Mind of Mine. Two years later he dropped his sophomore album, Icarus Falls, and in 2021 he put out his third record, Nobody Is Listening. Later this month, Malik will release "Love Like This," his highly anticipated new single.

In addition to discussing his music career, Malik also offered some insight into the claims that he physically assaulted Yolanda Hadid, the mother of his ex, Gigi Hadid, with whom he shares a child. "I just didn't want to bring attention to anything," Malik stated, then adding that he wasn't "trying to get into a negative back and forth" with Yolanda, or "any sort of narrative online where my daughter was going to look back and read that. There was no point." He added, "I believe I dealt with it in the best way, an amicable, respectful way, and that's all that needs to be said."