MANILA - One Direction star Zayn Malik has quit the British boyband for good after five years.
The 22-year-old singer made the decision on Wednesday, leaving behind Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson to continue as a four-member group.
"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," said Malik in a statement released on the band's official Facebook page.
"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," he added.
For their part, the remaining members of One Direction said: "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."
His departure comes a week after photos of him with another woman stirred trouble in his relationship with fiancee Perrie Edwards, best known as a member of the band Little Mix.
Malik took to Twitter to defend himself, saying: "I'm 22 years old... I love a girl named Perrie Edwards. And there's a lot of jealous ***** in this world I'm sorry for what it looks like x."
The controversy caused the singer to miss the Manila leg of the band's "On The Road Again Tour."
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