Zayn Malik Is ‘In Love’ (But Not with Who You Think)

Zayn Malik: An Alien Made Me Quit One Direction
Apparently, an extraterrestrial being was the one behind the breakup.

Zayn Malik may be dating Gigi Hadid at the moment, but music will always be his first true love. More than a year since leaving One Direction, the “Like I Would” crooner says he’s in tuned with himself and his work more than ever.

“At that time in my life I felt I had done everything I could do there and I just needed to change it up. It didn’t feel brave,” Malik, 23, tells Elle U.K. about his decision to part ways with his band. “I just don’t have it in me to feel fully secure in anything I do. I always strive towards something better. It’s why I think sometimes I come across the wrong way, a bit distant. I’m just stressed out trying to control how I’m perceived.”

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CREDIT: Nabil Elderkin

“My entire life has changed in the last year. I’m still taking it all in. I’ve found so much out about myself. Mostly how in love with music I still was. The album is a build up of six years and never being able to express what I wanted to say,” he continues of his debut solo album, Mind of Mine. “I had something to get off my chest.”

He adds, “Since leaving One Direction I’ve been given the freedom to be able to wear whatever I want and that’s made it more interesting. More creative. I can say I want to wear metal arms and it’ll happen.”

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CREDIT: Nabil Elderkin

Though his work is his top priority, he still has nothing but great things to say about Hadid, 21, who’s been very supportive of his career choice and his struggles with anxiety. According to Malik, their relationship works because they understand what one another is going through.

“She’s super intelligent, I think that’s why it works so well,” he says. “And we do the same type of job so we get that with each other.”