Zayn's 'upset' for letting One Direction fans down
Zayn Malik has spoken out for the first time since he announced he was leaving One Direction and said he feels "upset" for letting the fans down.
The 22-year-old singer quit the boy band's world tour last week after being "signed off with stress" and returned to the UK. On Wednesday he announced he was leaving 1D to live a "normal life".
"I did try to do something that I wasn't happy doing for a while. I only ever tried to do it for the fans," he said in an interview.
"I'm only upset because I feel like I may have let them down in some sort of way.
"It's not that I've turned my back on them or anything, it's just that I can't do that any more because it's not real to me."
Malik denied there had been any negativity between him and the rest of the band, and insisted he did not compare his situation with that of Robbie Williams who left Take That in 1995 due to ill-feeling among the group.
Malik said the rest of the band - Harry Styles (21), Louis Tomlinson (23), Niall Horan (21) and Liam Payne (21) - will keep going as One Direction.
Shortly before he quit the band's tour, a picture emerged of Malik with his arm around a girl in a nightclub in Thailand.
But he said he is still engaged to long-term partner Perrie Edwards, of Little Mix.
"She's a good girl. She's always supportive", he said of her.
Earlier, Payne described Malik's departure as "the worst" time for the band, but reassured fans that it did not spell the end.
Payne posted a message on Twitter saying he felt "deeply saddened" but promised there was more to come from One Direction.
He wrote: "It's sad to think for the time being we won't grace the stage as five bros or have the same fun on a tour bus or laughs in a hotel together that we have over the years but I'm sure us and Zayn will always remain the closest friends.
"I guess what I'm really trying to say is it's far from over. When we very first became successful we all agreed that One Direction had become much bigger than each individual member.
"That's why I feel like right now it's OK to be sad and upset but I do ask everyone who is a fan of us to please keep your faith in us."
Horan thanked his 21.8 million Twitter followers for their support after a "mad few days".
And Tomlinson promised the band would "work harder" to make even better music.
The news has shocked One Direction fans, with charities voicing concern after pictures on social media of some who appeared to have harmed themselves and were asking others to do so.