Zayn Malik quits One Direction to be 'normal'
Harry Styles broke down in tears on stage as he struggled to come to terms with Zayn Malik's sudden departure from boyband One Direction last night.
Styles wiped away tears as the band performed the latest leg of their On The Road Again Tour in Jakarta, Indonesia, hours after the news of Malik's leaving broke.
Malik said he quit the world's biggest band as he wants the chance to be "a normal 22-year-old". He left the world tour last week after being "signed off with stress" and returned to the UK after he was forced to defend himself online and declare his love for fiancee Perrie Edwards, when pictures emerged of him apparently close to another woman.
The group said they would continue as a four-piece for the tour and record another album - their fifth - later this year.
Malik said: "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.
"I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight. I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry and Niall. I know they will continue to be the best band in the world."
In a statement, the rest of the group said: "We're really sad to see Zayn go, but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future. The past five years have been beyond amazing - we've gone through so much together, so we will always be friends.
"The four of us will now continue. We're looking forward to recording the new album and seeing all the fans on the next stage of the world tour."
A spokesman for the band said Malik, who grew up in Bradford, is at home with his family and fiancee Edwards.
X Factor judge Louis Walsh said he had heard rumours for a number of weeks that "everything wasn't happy in paradise".
He told RTE radio: "The problem with these guys is they've been in a bubble for the last five years - pressure, working, a lot harder than people think - so something had to give. So Zayn was the first person just to crack up a little bit."