In his own words! Zayn Malik has gotten real about his experience in One Direction since saying goodbye to the group on March 25, 2015.

“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 apologize to the fans if I’ve let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart,” he said, in a statement shared on the band’s official Facebook page. “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.”

The band went on as a foursome with Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne until taking a break in December 2015. Since his departure, Zayn continued to make music as a solo artist and released three albums —  Mind of Mine, Icarus Falls and Nobody Is Listening. The British singer and his longtime love Gigi Hadid also welcomed their first daughter together in September 2020. But when it comes to looking back at his time in 1D, Zayn hasn’t always spoken highly about being in the band.

Over the years, he reflected on his experience making music with four others and how things just didn’t work out for him in the end. Scroll through our gallery for all Zayn’s most powerful quotes about being a member of One Direction after leaving the band. 

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