Five total strangers who appeared as solo performers on The X Factor were eventually pushed together to form one of the biggest bands in the world: Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Niall Horan.
One Direction, the creation of Simon Cowell, became an unstoppable force. It was difficult to resist joining the 1D craze, though, given their chemistry and laddish banter. However, tragedy came just as they were at their peak when Zayn famously departed in 2015 after five arduous years on the road. A “regular 22-year-old who can relax and have some private time out of the spotlight,” he said, was who he wished to be.
The group was reportedly shocked when he left, with Liam, who turns 29 today, calling it the “worst time” but promising that he and Zayn will always be “the closest friends.” It was sadly not to be. Later that year, Zayn criticized One Direction’s music, calling their pop records “generic as f***” in an interview with Fader magazine.
Additionally, Zayn implied in a 2018 interview with British Vogue that he had a falling out with his former bandmates as a result of their “snide” remarks about him. To be honest with you, I haven’t spoken to any of them in a very long time.”That’s just the way it is. Some things happen and things that were said after I left. Snide things. Small things that I would never have expected.”
He asserted in 2016 that he had never intended to join the group, telling the radio station Beats1: “I think I always wanted to go, from like the first year, actually. Like in the band, I never really wanted to be there. Additionally, he claimed to Billboard that he “never actually spoke to Harry” while they were in the group and that he no longer communicated “to any of them.”In response to Zayn’s remarks, Harry stated to Rolling Stone in 2017: “I never wish anyone doing what they love anything but luck. I think it’s sad he felt that way.”If you’re not enjoying something and need to do something else, you absolutely should do that. I’m glad he’s doing what he likes, and good luck to him.”Zayn’s departure and the unflattering remarks he made regarding their music were also addressed by Louis.
After his mother passed away in 2016, Louis was heartbroken when Zayn refused to appear with the rest of their bandmates to cheer him on when he appeared on The X Factor. And he acknowledged in a 2020 interview with The Sun that he still doesn’t feel ready to get in touch with his old friend.