One Direction band member Zayn Malik, 22, has decided to leave the band due to stress. One Direction released the news via their official Facebook page, writing: “After five incredible years Zayn Malik has decided to leave One Direction. Niall, Harry, Liam and Louis will continue as a four-piece and look forward to the forthcoming concerts of their world tour and recording their fifth album, due to be released later this year.”
The Facebook post included a message from Zayn, who said he felt “now the right time for me to leave the band. 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. 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.”
Simon Cowell added, “I would like to say thank you to Zayn for everything he has done for One Direction. Since I first met Zayn in 2010, I have grown very, very fond – and immensely proud – of him. I have seen him grow in confidence and I am truly sorry to see him leave. As for One Direction, fans can rest assured that Niall, Liam, Harry and Louis are hugely excited about the future of the band.”
Zayn is believed to have quit the tour due to numerous rumors about him cheating on his fiancée, singer Perrie Edwards, 21, a member of the British X-Factor group named Little Mix. Although Perrie ignored the rumors at first, when she saw photos of Zayn cheek to cheek with 19-year-old British fan Lauren Richardson, his arm around her and his hand on her bare stomach at Seduction nightclub in Thailand, and another of them leaving the club together holding hands, Perrie was ready to call off their engagement.
Zayn and Perrie have been together three years and have been engaged since summer 2013. He has vehemently denied the cheating rumors and said he spent only two minutes with Lauren.
He reportedly left the tour after crisis talks with his managers and flew home to convince Perrie the rumors were untrue. It’s believed he has also made arrangements to have their wedding take place later this year, rather than put it off any longer. ~Alexandra Heilbron