The 22-year-old singer opened up about his decision with The Sun (via People), confirming that his fiance Perrie Edwards is “very supportive” and that he’s been working on his own music for some time.
Here’s what else Zayn had to share:
On quitting the band: “It is crazy and wild and a bit mad. But at the same time I’ve never felt more in control in my life. And I feel like I’m doing what’s right – right by myself and right by the boys, so I feel good…My band has been really supportive. They’ve been cool about it. And they understand that, you know, it’s not real to me anymore.”
On wanting to leave: “I did try to do something that I wasn’t happy doing for a while, for the sake of other people’s happiness.”
On the Directioners: “I feel like I’ve let the fans down but I can’t do this anymore. It’s not that I’ve turned my back on them or anything, it’s just that I just can’t do that anymore because it’s not the real me.”