Zayn Malik 'couldn't cope with the scrutiny' of One Direction superstardom
Zayn Malik has reportedly been struggling for months.
Yesterday the 22-year-old singer confirmed he is leaving One Direction, after he was signed off their current On the Road Again Tour with stress last week. In his statement he explained he wants to live a more normal life, thought to be a reference to the furore surrounding him being spotted with a woman who wasn't his fiancée Perrie Edwards earlier this month.
Apparently this decision has been in the pipeline for some time.
"Zayn simply had enough and couldn’t handle it. The lads respected his decision and although it was a tough call, Zayn feels it was the right one. He couldn’t cope with the scrutiny of his private life," an insider told British newspaper The Sun.
“Zayn’s been struggling for months and the high level of intensity had taken its toll.
“The decision is still fresh but he can sense the weight will eventually lift off his shoulders. Although he acknowledges that he faces an incredible amount of scrutiny over the next few days.”
The star's former bandmates Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne continued with a show in Jakarta, Indonesia, last night and it was an emotional affair. Harry was seen crying on stage and at one point Louis put his arm around an open space next to him - pretending to give Zayn a hug.
Fans immediately tweeted about the show, with many also posting messages about how upset they were online. Due to this a special phone line has been set up to offer support to anyone who is struggling to cope.
While some One Directioners are upset, others are already feeling angry. Little Mix star Perrie appears to be the object of their frustration, with some claiming she is the Yoko Ono of the band. That's in reference to John Lennon's wife, who was blamed for the Beatles split.
Zayn's uncle has stepped in to insist the decision was nothing to do with his nephew's fiancée, saying the star has been thinking carefully about what he wants from life for many months.
The rest of the band released a statement following Zayn's announcement, in which they explained they felt sad but respected their friend needed to move on. Now several of them have spoken out on social media.
"So glad to be in bed after a long and strange 24 hours," Liam wrote.
Harry simply put: "All the love as always. H."
The group have said they will continue with their new album as planned, with bookkeepers Paddy Power already slashing odds that they will bring a new member on board by the end of 2015.