Former boyband member Markus (Mark) Feehily has offered support to Zayn Malik, after he made the decision to leave One Direction.
Speaking on Morning Ireland, Feehily spoke about his own experiences of dealing with life post-boyband fame.
“For us it was a big blow to the stomach,” he said about Westlife disbanding. “Afterwards we said deep breath everybody and the rest of us just continued on.”
As one fifth of Westlife, one of Ireland's most successful pop bands, Mark said he could identify with the intense media intrusion that the One Direction boys deal with on a daily basis.
The dynamic of Westlife, which formed in 1998, was irrevocably changed when Brian McFadden left the group in 2004, three weeks before a scheduled world tour.
The remaining members stayed touring and releasing material until 2012.
However, the 34-year-old performer admitted that when one member leaves a band, it does tend to signal “the beginning of the end.”
“For a lot of bands, it doesn’t work out,” he added.
The Sligo native came to the defence of Zayn, who will leave One Direction after five years.
“I remember even at his original auditioning, Simon Cowell had to convince him to come back on stage,”
“Of course he had the choice to drop out then - but it’s not always as black and white as that.”
“He’s been in the biggest band in the world , maybe he’s just had enough, he probably feels his personal life and happiness could suffer if he continues.”
“Everyone in the world is probably saying he’s crazy but its difficult to understand unless you're in that place,” Markus offered.
“In reality, of course there’s ups and downs ...regardless of how successful you are.”
Markus said that he could identify with what Zayn was feeling.
“There was times in Westlife where I felt really guilty coming home saying ‘I’d had a bad day,’ as I didn’t feel I should be coming home complaining.”
“But some people have so many bad days, they can’t continue in the situation they're in.”
The singer has recently launched his solo career, and maintains that he is excited to try find his own feet.
“It’s nice to be an individual - for so long I blamed any success I had on other people, the machine of management and the lads. I wanted to see what I was capable of as an individual,” he revealed.
“I’m having fun now on my own, it’s good times,” he concluded.