Can you hear that? It’s the sound of a billion teenage hearts breaking across the globe today over the news that Zayn Malik is leaving One Direction forever. For the rest of you, Zayn’s the tall one with the perfectly coiffed hair.
One Direction announced the news on Facebook today, explaining that Zayn’s leaving the boy band to take some time out of the spotlight: “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 said.
1D fans are among the most hardcore in the entertainment industry, so we can hardly blame the guy for itching to step back from band. Remember that time a fan had Harry Style‘s face tattooed on her arm? Or when a fan tweeted the boys with “Follow me on Twitter or I’ll break my dog’s neck” and a photo of her pinning her Chihuahua by its throat? Thankfully that one was a hoax, but whoa, these fans are hardcore.
The official announcement was just made on Facebook explaining Zayn’s decision. Read it in full below:
“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.
Zayn says: ‘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. 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.’
One Direction say: ‘We’re really sad to see Zayn go, but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future. 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.’
Simon Cowell says: ‘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.”
The rumor mill’s been running hot for some time that things were awry with Zayn. He was the only band member to skip out on an interview with Today Show in November 2014, sparking speculation that he was recovering from drug abuse. Last week, he quit the One Direction tour early, citing stress as the cause.
Here’s a look at how One Direction fans are handling the news. (Hint: Not well.)
After five years in the heavy media spotlight, Zayn just wants to be a normal 22-year-old, and to be honest we can’t really blame him.