One Direction’s is no longer going in one direction with today’s announcement that member Zayn Malik is leaving the popular British band.
The 22-year-old’s departure was made public on the group’s Facebook page earlier today.
“My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined,” Malik said in the statement. “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.”
The band’s remaining four members intend on continuing as a four-person band. They are currently in the middle of a world tour and are slated to record their fifth album later this year.
“We’re really sad to see Zayn go, but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future,” reads a joint statement by One Direction. “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.”
English reality television producer and talent scout Simon Cowell, who played a key role in forming One Direction, thanked Zayn for his contributions.
“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.”
The band formed in 2010 following that year’s edition of the British X-Factor when all five boys were contestants on the reality show. The band reportedly made $1 billion in sales in 2013, with band members each having an individual net worth of approximately $30 million.
One Direction will return to Vancouver this summer on July 17 for a major concert at BC Place Stadium.