Behind-the-Scenes Drama That Led to Zayn Leaving One Direction

Behind-the-Scenes Drama That Led to Zayn Leaving One Direction
Image credit: Legion-Media

'We'd got sick of each other.'

Can you believe it's been 13 years since The X Factor UK contestants Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Liam Payne and Zayn Malik got together to form One Direction? And it's been eight years since Malik quit the band, citing the 'stress' of their massive popularity as the reason and adding that he wanted to be a 'normal 22-year-old.'

But the singer revealed on Wednesday that there was actually more to his decision. In his first sit-down interview in six years, Malik told Alex Cooper, host of the Call Her Daddy podcast, that his departure was a preemptive move to avoid getting involved in internal politics and turmoil.

'I think I'd known for a minute,' Zayn said. 'Look, I don't want to go into too much detail, but there was a lot of politics going on. Certain people were doing certain things; certain people didn't want to sign contracts. So I knew something was happening, so I just got ahead of the curve.'

But that's not all. Malik added that contrary to what the fans would like to hear, the 1D boys were tired of being together all the time, and that was creating a lot of tension in the band.

'There was[sic] obviously underlying issues, like within our friendships too,' he said. 'We'd been together every day for five years, and we'd got sick of each other.'

Apparently, after five years in the band, there were talks of going solo, and Malik wanted to outdo his bandmates in that department.

'I completely selfishly wanted to be the first person to go and make my own record,' he said.

His foresight paid off. Malik's first solo album, Mind of Mine, reached #1 in both the UK and the US in 2016, making him the first British male artist to have such a strong debut record. However, his second and third albums, Icarus Falls (2018) and Nobody Is Listening (2021), failed to achieve the same level of success.

Now, the 30-year-old singer is ready to salvage his career and return to fame with his new solo album, on which he has sought to present himself to fans as a 'cool, funny, loving guy' in contrast to his One Direction image.

'I want [fans] to know that, across the board, I've kind of had a full mental rehaul, and in the best way,' Zayn promised.

Source: Call Her Daddy podcast.