After a week of speculation it has now been officially confirmed that Zayn Malik has quit One Direction.
The band released this statement on their Facebook page on Wednesday: “After five incredible years Zayn Malik has decided to leave One Direction.
“Niall, Harry, Liam and Louis will continue as a four-piece and look forward to the forthcoming concerts of their world tour and recording their fifth album, due to be released later this year.”
“Zayn says: “My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band. I’d like to apologise to the fans if I’ve let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart.
“I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight. I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry and Niall. I know they will continue to be the best band in the world.”
“One Direction say: “We’re really sad to see Zayn go, but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future.
“The past five years have been beyond amazing, we’ve gone through so much together, so we will always be friends. The four of us will now continue. We’re looking forward to recording the new album and seeing all the fans on the next stage of the world tour.
“Simon Cowell says: “I would like to say thank you to Zayn for everything he has done for One Direction. Since I first met Zayn in 2010, I have grown very, very fond – and immensely proud – of him. I have seen him grow in confidence and I am truly sorry to see him leave. As for One Direction, fans can rest assured that Niall, Liam, Harry and Louis are hugely excited about the future of the band.”
Zayn faced a hugely tough time last week, leaving the band mid-tour to jet back to the UK amid cheating claims.
Reports did the rounds that he had started to meet with lawyers to see if there was a ‘get-out’ clause in his contract that would allow him to leave the band.
Let’s just take a moment to pick our jaws/ourselves up from our foetal position on the floor, take a very deep breathe and attempt to process all this.
According to the Daily Star, the 22-year-old’s reps are have been ‘examining his music and commercial contracts’ to see what the situation is.
A ‘source’ told the paper: “At the moment he’s convinced he wants out. He is finding it all too much and wants to quit the group.
“His legal team is seeing what the situation is. There is a strong chance he will have to fulfill his commitments and he might change his mind once he’s had time away from the spotlight.
“But as it stands he’s not keen to continue.”
This all comes after bookmakers started slashing odds on One Direction going in five separate directions, but it looks like the band will definitely be carrying on as a foursome.
Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes, who halved their odds from 8/1 to just 4/1, said: “It looks like it’s the beginning of the end for One Direction.
“Zayn’s not the only one stressed out at the moment, but the odds suggest this could well be their farewell tour.”
Coral have also halved their odds on 1D splitting in 2015 from 6-1 to 3-1.
A Coral spokeswoman said: “The latest scandal surrounding Zayn has sent the betting into meltdown and the odds on the group going in different directions have been cut in half.”
Zayn was originally signed off of 1D’s OTRA tour due to stress following rumours he cheated on Perrie Edwards in Thailand – something he’s very much denied.
Simon Jones, PR for the band, released a statement saying: “Zayn has been signed off with stress and is flying back to the UK to recuperate.
“The band wish him well and will continue with their performances in Manila and Jakarta.”
Right, we’re off to recover with a stiff drink and a lie down.
[Mum Of Zayn Malik's 'Mystery Girl' SLAMS Cheating Rumours]
[One Direction Split Odds Slashed After Zayn Malik Quits OTRA Tour]
[Perrie Edwards Leaves Her And Zayn Malik's Home Wearing Engagement Ring]