On why he quit: “I guess I just wanted to go home from the beginning. I was always thinking it. I just didn’t know when I was going to do it. Then by the time I decided to go, it just felt right on that day. I woke up on that morning, if I’m being completely honest with you, and was like, ‘I need to go home. I just need to be me now, because I’ve had enough.’ I was with my little cousin at the time—we were sat in the hotel room—and I was just, ‘Should I go home?’ And he was like, ‘If you want to go home, let’s go home.’ So we left.”
On if the cheating rumors contributed to his decision: “The two things never really coincided in my mind. Obviously, publicly, that’s the way it worked, because it worked well for the purpose. Them two stories looked good together side by side. Stories came out because we were in Thailand, and we were out and about. If we were out in Australia, if we were out in India, the same thing would have happened. It was just at a peak where the fame was intrusive and invasive. It wasn’t because of that that I left—that was just a contributing factor to everything. I’d already made my mind up before that.”
On if he broke up with Perrie over text: “If you could word it exactly this way, I’d be very appreciative. I have more respect for Perrie than to end anything over text message. I love her a lot, and I always will, and I would never end our relationship over four years like that. She knows that, I know that, and the public should know that as well. I don’t want to explain why or what I did, I just want the public to know I didn’t do that.”
On his frustration with the music: “There was never any room for me to experiment creatively in the band. If I would sing a hook or a verse slightly R&B, or slightly myself, it would always be recorded 50 times until there was a straight version that was pop, generic as fuck, so they could use that version. Whenever I would suggest something, it was like it didn’t fit us. There was just a general conception that the management already had of what they want for the band, and I just wasn’t convinced with what we were selling. I wasn’t 100 percent behind the music. It wasn’t me. It was music that was already given to us, and we were told this is what is going to sell to these people. As much as we were the biggest, most famous boy band in the world, it felt weird. We were told to be happy about something that we weren’t happy about.”
For more on Zayn, visit TheFader.com.