In 2017, although he revealed that they hadn’t spoken in a while, Liam couldn’t stop praising his former bandmate.
“I haven’t spoken to Zayn in a while, he’s off doing his thing and more power to him. I think it is great, more power to him,” he said.
But when asked if the band would ever reunite with Zayn, he wasn’t too sure.
“I think so, but I think there’s a lot of things that need to be polished out there, but that’s on him really,” Liam said when asked if the five of them could ever get back together. “He doesn’t really support the cause. I’ve spoken to Zayn since and it’s all fine and good, it is what it is. If he feels hurt and scorned in some sort of way that I don’t really understand, that’s down to him so there we go. It is very sad because One Direction was a wonderful, wonderful time in all of our lives. It was so much fun and I don’t understand how you can come out of that experience and say the things that he says sometimes, it doesn’t make any sense to me but there you go.”
In 2018, the singer gave some insight on Zayn and Harry’s relationship.
“I don’t know true or false for that one. Sometimes, people can seem like friends and maybe under the surface, they’re not,” Liam said, when asked if they were friends during their time in the band. “I don’t really know. When we were in the band, we all seemed to get along quite well up until the end of it I guess you know, after Zayn left.”
“I feel like it was nice to be Zayn sometimes. He just came in and he wasn’t expected to say very much, unless prompted to do so,” Liam also said while appearing on Radio 1’s Breakfast Show With Nick Grimshaw.
“Zayn left so I haven’t seen him since then,” Liam admitted in October 2019. “I always feel like Zayn didn’t really feel being there, if that makes sense. We all had a good time, there were moments when it was absolute bliss but then obviously there were moments where it was like, ‘This is awful.’ For him I just think there were more moments where he didn’t really enjoy what he was doing. Fair play to him, he went off and did his own thing and he’s doing really well.”
And when he was asked if One Direction would ever reunite with Zayn, he admitted, “No, I don’t think that’ll ever happen. When he left, it wasn’t on great terms so I don’t feel like it’s a thing. If he didn’t want to be here, he shouldn’t be here. Which is fine. Like I say good for him, he’s gone off and is doing his own thing and he’s doing really well so I don’t want to mess with his stuff… We did a whole stadium tour without him so I feel like it’s fine.”
The father of one also told GQ in November 2019, “Zayn genuinely was the best singer in One Direction, hand on heart, out of all of us. But for him to get to a point where, you know, he can’t step on a stage? It’s a lot. I mean, he’s doing great. His streaming numbers are ridiculous but I do think he misses out on the performance side a bit, you know. He can’t seem to get past that part.”
And when the outlet asked if Liam had reached out to his former bandmate after he left 1D, the “Strip That Down” crooner explained, “I did, yeah. I didn’t want him to feel like he was going through this all alone in some ways, or that we were all out to get him. We’re the only people who know what you’re going through. The only five people who know what you are going through were all in a room together once, and you left – fair enough – but you don’t want anyone going through such evils for no reason. But it got to a point with me where I wouldn’t know where to begin with Zayn. I hope he has good people around him, but I don’t at this stage think it’s anything the rest of us can solve.”
But Liam admitted that he stills holds a grudge against Zayn.
“We had our differences throughout the whole experience with some things. I still think about some stuff that was said and done that now I would do differently, but then that’s all part of growing up. Being in One Direction was such a schoolyard mentality somehow — the One Direction University, I call it. Everyone has stuff they’ve said at parties they wished they hadn’t but, for us, the difference was that it was all happening in front of the world,” he continued. “Now we are older, for me certainly there are things that I am just not as bothered about. I think with Zayn’s particular exit and the way he chose to go, we haven’t really heard from him since he left. He didn’t even say goodbye, if I am being honest. It was a really sordid scenario, from our side certainly. A bit strange. It’s difficult.”
The singer also spoke out about Harry’s “Ringo Starr” joke on SNL.
“I think it’s just a funny joke at the end of the day,” he said on Watch What Happens Live in December 2019. “Obviously Zayn’s circumstances for leaving were his own and it’s a different situation for all of us and I suppose we deal with it in a different way. I thought it was quite funny.”
Liam spoke out about Zayn’s issues with anxiety in April 2020.
“Zayn makes music but he doesn’t really perform. For him, he had such performance anxiety that he just couldn’t put his head around it. I remember watching his first solo performance it went really great. The graphics they did around him and everything else,” he said. “I think he is just kind of happy. He likes going to the studio, making the songs, he just doesn’t want to do anything that happens after that. But he is streaming hugely.”
He also told Daily Star, “I remember Zayn telling us the story that it was his mum got him to go to the audition the day he didn’t want to go and that was literally what we saw all the way through One Direction.”
In May 2020, someone asked Liam who from 1D he’d want to collaborate with the most, and he chose Zayn!
“I mean, he’s not really a member of One Direction anymore. But probably Zayn because we have quite similar sounds, I would say,” he said.