Did Zayn Malik’s Exit From One Direction Create Bad Blood Between Him and His Band Mates?

In 2014, Zayn Malik broke fans’ hearts when he announced his exit from One Direction.

While this came as a complete and utter shock to many around the world, it was later revealed that he was leaving the group to focus on himself and pursue a solo career.

One Direction
Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Harry Styles of One Direction | Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Although fans could understand his reasoning, Malik’s bandmates had difficulty coming to terms with his exit, which ultimately caused riffs within their relationship.

The band established ill-feelings toward Malik

When One Direction performed in front of audiences across the world, it seemed as though they were the best of friends who loved being on stage together.

While the group looked like they along great in public, behind closed doors, their friendship was deteriorating.

One Direction
One Direction |Lester Cohen/WireImage

After Malik announced his exit from the band in 2014, his relationship with his bandmates became strained and it hasn’t really gotten any better.

In a new interview with GQ Hype, Liam Payne opens up about life after One Direction and took time to discuss Malik’s exit, which he admits caused grudges between the former bandmates.

“Being in One Direction was such a schoolyard mentality somehow – the One Direction University, I call it,” Payne expressed. “Everyone has stuff they’ve said at parties they wished they hadn’t but, for us, the difference was that it was all happening in front of the world. Now we are older, for me certainly there are things that I am just not as bothered about.”

Although Malik called his bandmates his “four friends for life” in an official statement following his exit, it turns out that he hasn’t been in contact with the group at all since he left.

“I think with Zayn’s particular exit and the way he chose to go, we haven’t really heard from him since he left,” Payne admitted. “He didn’t even say goodbye, if I am being honest. It was a really sordid scenario, from our side certainly. A bit strange. It’s difficult.”

Payne wants to reach out to Malik but hasn’t found the right words

Although there was bad blood between the group and Malik following his exit, the former bandmates acknowledge that the singer has had tremendous success as a solo artist.

“For Zayn, he loves music and he’s an amazing talent. He genuinely was the best singer in One Direction, hand on heart, out of all of us,” Payne said.

While the ‘Pillowtalk” singer continues to find success in music, his constant struggle with fame and anxiety has taken a toll on his ability to perform live.

Zayn Malik
Zayn Malik | C Flanigan/FilmMagic

There have only been a few times Malik has performed in front of a live audience since going solo and Payne understands why his former bandmate struggles with being in the spotlight.

Seeing as though Payne has admitted to struggling with the same things, he recently expressed his desire to reach out and be someone his former bandmate can confide in.

Though he wants to reconnect with Malik, the “Strip That Down” singer doesn’t seem to know how to go doing so.

“I didn’t want him to feel like he was going through this all alone in some ways, or that we were all out to get him,” he said. “We’re the only people who know what you’re going through. The only five people who know what you are going through were all in a room together once, and you left –fair enough–but you don’t want anyone going through such evils for no reason.But it got to a point with me where I wouldn’t know where to begin with Zayn.”

While Payne wants to be there for Malik, the singer knows that there’s nothing he or his former bandmates can really do to help.

Payne concluded by saying, “I hope he has good people around him, but I don’t at this stage think it’s anything the rest of us can solve.”