The 1 Thing Liam Payne Criticized About Zayn Malik’s Exit From One Direction

Liam Payne went through a super unique experience with Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, and Niall Horan in One Direction. Those boys rose to catastrophic fame levels on The X Factor and metaphorically took over the world with album sales, tour tickets, and pop culture relevance. The five performers experienced their lives together, in ways that only they can understand. And while they experienced the band together, one chose to leave: Malik. Payne had something to criticize about the way Malik departed One Direction in 2015.

Liam Payne from One Direction at 'Watch What Happens Live'
Liam Payne | Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank

Zayn Malik left One Direction in 2015 after 5 years with the band

Malik decided he no longer wanted to be part of One Direction and left the band in March 2015. The British singer was part of the band from their days on The X Factor all the way through the album Four. One Direction shared the announcement in a Facebook post that detailed Malik’s departure and statement. The boys were in the middle of a tour when Malik left the band.

“After five incredible years Zayn Malik has decided to leave One Direction,” the post said. “Niall, Harry, Liam and Louis will continue as a four-piece and look forward to the forthcoming concerts of their world tour and recording their fifth album, due to be released later this year.”

Malik commented the following: “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. 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.”

He explained that he wanted to be a “normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.”

Liam Payne wanted to reach out to Zayn Malik after One Direction exit

RELATED: Is Zayn Malik Still Friends With Former One Direction Bandmate Louis Tomlinson?

In Malik’s departure comment on Facebook, he claimed he had “four friends for life.” But the reality seemed to be quite different.

When British GQ asked Payne in 2019 if wanted to reach out to Malik, he said he did.

“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,” Payne expressed. “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.”

Payne also talked about Malik no longer performing his songs on tour.

“His streaming numbers are ridiculous but I do think he misses out on the performance side a bit, you know,” he said. “He can’t seem to get past that part.”

The former One Direction member described that his relationship with Malik got to a difficult point.

“But it got to a point with me where I wouldn’t know where to begin with Zayn,” he said. “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.”

The 1 thing Liam Payne criticized about Zayn Malik’s departure

Payne certainly empathsized with his former band mate, but he also was able to look back and critisize this one thing about Malik leaving the band.

“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 commented. “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.”

Currently, it’s unclear where Malik and Payne’s relationship stands. But hopefully, they can mend their bond if it is broken at some point in the future.