Zayn Malik has spoken out for the first time since he announced he was leaving One Direction and said he feels "upset" for letting the fans down.
The 22-year-old singer, from Bradford, quit the boy band's world tour last week after being "signed off with stress" and returned to the UK. On Wednesday he announced he was splitting from 1D for good to live a "normal life".
In his first interview, Malik told the Sun: "I did try to do something that I wasn't happy doing for a while ... I only ever tried to do it for the fans.
"I'm only upset because I feel like I may have let them down in some sort of way.
"It's not that I've turned my back on them or anything, it's just that I can't do that any more because it's not real to me."
Malik denied there had been any negativity between him and the rest of the band, before or after he made his decision.
And he insisted he did not compare his situation to that of Robbie Williams who left Take That in 1995 due to ill-feeling among the group.
"My band has been really supportive", he insisted.
Malik revealed that the rest of the band, Harry Styles, 21, Louis Tomlinson, 23, Niall Horan, 21, and Liam Payne, 21, are keen to keep going as One Direction.
"They still want to do it for a while ... I think they're going to do OK for a while," he said. "I think they're going to be cool."
Shortly before Malik quit the band's tour, a picture emerged of him with his arm around a girl in a nightclub in Thailand.
But he stated he is still engaged to long-term partner Perrie Edwards, of Little Mix.
"She's a good girl ... she's always supportive", he said of her.
And now that he is no longer a member of the most famous boyband in the world, Malik revealed he is planning to "chill" for a while.
Earlier, Payne described Malik's departure as "the worst" time for the band, but reassured fans that it did not spell the end for the group.
The 21-year-old singer posted a heartfelt message on Twitter saying he felt "deeply saddened" but promised there was more to come from One Direction.
He tweeted: "It's sad to think for the time being we won't grace the stage as five bros or have the same fun on a tour bus or laughs in a hotel together that we have over the years but I'm super sure us and Zayn will always remain the closest friends.
"I guess what I'm really trying to say is it's far from over. When we very first became successful we all agreed that One Direction had become much bigger than each individual member. That's why I feel like right now it's OK to be sad and upset but I do ask everyone who is a fan of us to please keep your faith in us. I'm sure there's a lot more to come."
Fellow bandmates Tomlinson and Horan also said fans' support over the split made them determined to produce more chart-topping hits.
Horan thanked his 21.8 million Twitter followers for their support after a "mad few days".
And Tomlinson promised the band would "work harder" to make even better music for their fans.
The news has shocked One Direction fans, with charities voicing concern after pictures emerged on social media of some who appeared to have harmed themselves and were asking others to do so.
Reacting to fears of self-harming yesterday, a spokeswoman for charity Young Minds said: "Zayn is an important role model to other young people, as he is prioritising his well-being over fame and taking time out to look after himself.
"Young people who feel affected by this news should reach out to other young people and to trusted adults and talk to them about how they feel. It's a loss, so like any loss it is about taking care of yourself and being with people who care for you and can support you."