One Direction tell US host Matt Lauer: Zayn is sick with a stomach bug... there is no substance abuse
One Direction have insisted bandmate Zayn Malik was missing from an interview due to a stomach bug, after a well known US host quizzed them on substance abuse.
Niall Horan, from Mullingar in Co Westmeath, Harry Styles, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson were quizzed on Zayne's absence by top US host Matt Lauer.
Lauer, a well-respected host of top US show 'Today', was interviewing the band live for his programme which was beamed across the US.
The interviewer sparked fury among 1D fans when he raised unsubstantiated rumours about drug abuse.
The band strenuously insisted there was no case to answer and Zayn would be re-joining the group after recovering from an illness.
In an exclusive interview with the Irish Sun, Zayn said he was really ill over the weekend.
He said he was "gutted" to miss the release day of their fourth album and would be rejoining the band as soon as he got enough rest.
This week sees the band release new album 'Four' - their fourth in three years.
It's understood Zayn fell ill shortly after recording 1D's segment for Band Aid 30, along with Bob Geldof and other stars such as Ellie Goulding, Paloma Faith and Rita Ora on Saturday.
The band were being interviewed live for the 'Today Show' when Lauer asked: "There have been rumours of substance abuse, what's going on?"
Niall was seen to shake his head angrily at the question during the interview, which took place in Orlando.
1D fans then started booing.
Liam then responded: "No, he's just got a stomach bug, he's okay. He's just at home. He just needs to rest. He's okay."
Lauer's question comes six months after Zayn and Louis were at the centre of drugs rumours.
A video of the pair emerged in May smoking what appeared to be a joint while travelling in a car to a 1D concert in Peru.