Malik quits 'One Direction', says wants normal life

Wed Mar 25, 2015 1:36pm EDT
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By Michael Roddy

LONDON (Reuters) - Singer Zayn Malik said on Wednesday he was quitting the best-selling pop band One Direction because he wanted to live a normal life and apologized to fans of the hugely popular British-Irish group for doing so.

The decision by Malik to quit came after he dropped out of an Asian tour due to what he said was stress when pictures of the singer, who is engaged to Perrie Edwards of Little Mix, were published showing him partying with another woman in Thailand.

"I'd like to apologize 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," Malik said in a statement on One Direction's Facebook page.

The announcement said Malik's decision had come after five years with the band, which came to prominence for its performance on the popular televised singing competition "The X Factor" in 2010.

One Direction's biggest hits include "Best Song Ever", "Kiss You", "What Makes You Beautiful" and "Story of My Life".

The remaining band members, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, will continue on their current world tour as a foursome and will release their fifth album later this year, the statement said.

"We're really sad to see Zayn go, but we totallyrespect 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 band members said.

Simon Cowell, the British music and television impresario who launched the band, said:   Continued...

Zayn Malik performs with his band "One Direction" on NBC's Today show in New York November 13, 2012.  REUTERS/Andrew Burton