In a new interview, Liam Payne says his former bandmate, Zayn Malik, left the group to spend time with his family — particularly his fiancée. Speaking with Capital FM’s The Breakfast Show, Payne admits that he does miss Malik but he understands why the singer had to leave his five-year post in the band.
“Yeah, of course! I mean you know, he had to do what he had to do really, for himself,” he tells host Lisa Snowden. “It’s like any other job really, sometimes you have to move on because you’re not enjoying what you’re doing as much. He wanted to go and spend some time with his family and missus.”
Though there’s an ongoing feud between Louis Tomlinson and Malik’s solo album producer Naughty Boy, Payne insists that the current One Direction members, including Harry Styles and Niall Horan, are still “great mates” with Malik.
“We’re just going to carry on doing what we’re doing,” he says. “We wish [Malik] all the best with whatever he goes into and stuff. We’ll just have to see what happens.”
Payne’s sentiments echo One Direction’s recent speech at the 2015 Billboard Awards, where the boys called Malik their “brother” while accepting a trophy for Top Duo/Group.
When Malik announced his exit from One Direction in March, he explained to fans that he was departing the group because he wanted “to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.”
His statement read, “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.”