It's official. Zayn Malik is leaving One Direction, the band confirmed on their 1D Facebook page. The news comes just one week after Malik left the group's “On the Road Again” world tour, citing "stress."
"Extra's" Renee Bargh was on the red carpet at the 2014 American Music Awards catching up with Malik, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Niall Horan. The boys addressed rumors then that Malik was leaving the band.
“That's the first time I heard of that,” Malik told Renee. “I'm here, I'm fine.” Things apparently changed.
"After five incredible years Zayn Malik, has decided to leave One Direction," the Facebook message read. "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."
Malik spoke explained why he wants out of the spotlight.
"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. 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.”
He went on to praise his bandmates, who he called “friends for life” and “will continue to be the best band in the world."
"We're really sad to see Zayn go, but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future,” wrote the remaining four members.“The past five years have been beyond amazing, we've gone through so much together, so we will always be friends. The four of us will now continue. We're looking forward to recording the new album and seeing all the fans on the next stage of the world tour."
One Direction has become one of the biggest bands in the world, getting their big break on Simon Cowell's “The X Factor.”
Cowell thanked Malik in the statement for everything he has done for the band, saying, "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.”
The music mega-producr assured 1D fans that Niall, Liam, Harry, and Louis are “hugely excited about the future of the band.”