How Harry Styles Really Felt About Zayn Malik Leaving One Direction

When Zayn Malik left One Direction in March of 2015, fans were devastated. The exit signified the end of an era. Though the band continued on for a while without Malik, everyone knows that once one band member decides to split, the breakup of the band as a whole is pretty much inevitable. And that is exactly what happened later that year.

Obviously, fans were surprised at Malik’s decision, but did the rest of One Direction feel the exit coming?

One Direction
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Did Harry Styles know Zayn was leaving One Direction?

In a new interview with New Music Daily with Zane Lowe, Harry Styles opened up about the aftermath of Malik deciding to leave the band.

“It was kind of like we were sad, obviously, that someone had left, but also sad that he was not enjoying it so much that he had to leave,” Styles said. “Because I think at the time too, the tour and everything was going so well and everyone had kind of got to this place where everyone was kind of living in a way where they I think felt pretty good. It felt like everyone was kind of enjoying it.”

“I’d say a big part of it was us kind of being like, ‘Wow.’ You didn’t realize he wasn’t enjoying it that much,” he continued.

But the boys didn’t try to make Malik stay.

“If someone’s not enjoying it, you’d rather they don’t do it,” Styles said.

“Why would you want an artist to make stuff for you when they don’t want to make it?” he asked. “It seems completely counter productive to me.” 

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Hong Kong, Live On Tour.

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But ultimately, Malik’s exit brought the remaining members of the band closer together for a little while.

“We were about to start recording a new album and stuff and it was like, ‘Are we recording this without him?'” Styles told the outlet. “But I’d say in the moment, I guess the four of us became closer because we were like, ‘OK, this is a hurdle that we weren’t expecting.'”

Why did Harry Styles leave the band?

Obviously, after Malik left, the rest of the band members started wondering about their place in the group as well.

“We’d sit down and have conversations [asking if] everyone [is] good, everyone wants to keep going and that kind of thing,” Styles said. “There was a part of me where I felt like all of the decisions I’d made as an adult — that affected my life and what I was doing with my life — had been made as a group. I think there was a part of me that felt like I wanted to make some decisions for myself… I felt like I needed to make some decisions that just affect me.”

At the time, the singer didn’t have set plans to leave the group but knew that he would do it someday.

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Milan, Live On Tour.

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“… I didn’t really have a plan for when I wanted to make a record,” he said. “… I knew that like maybe one day I’d want to do it, but I wasn’t like, ‘I can’t wait to get out of this thing so I can go and make my own records.’ I wouldn’t say [it] crept up.”

Since the split, Styles has reached success in his own solo career, releasing a self-titled album in 2017 and now, his new album, Fine Line, is set to be released on Dec. 13.