Inside Zayn Malik’s dramatic life from sudden 1D exit to secret eating disorder01/12/2021
While Zayn Malik may opt to remain out of the glare of the public eye, the singer will never escape that he was once a member of the world's biggest boyband.
As he celebrates his 28th birthday, Daily Stare is here to bring you all you need to know about the Pillowtalk star after his dramatic departure from One Direction.
Born Zain Javadd Malik on January 12, 1993, Zayn was brought up in a working-class family in Bradford,West Yorkshire.
The popstar was surrounded by family with Islamic heritage, despite Zayn no longer identifying as a Muslim.
His dad, Yaser, is a British Pakistani, while mum Tricia, is of English heritage but later converted to Islam upon her wedding to Yaser.
The self-professed "Bradford bad boy" was the only son of Yaser and Tricia, who already had older sister Doniya, before going on to have Zayn's youngster sisters, Waliyha and Safaa.
While the Yorkshire lad may have dreamed of becoming an English teacher, he was also keen on showing off his natural talents and looks, writing raps at school and also performing on stage in front of the legendary singer, Jay Sean.
Despite suffering anxiety, a then 17-year-old Malik applied for the seventh season of The X Factor, in 2010, which had been known to rocket contestants to instant fame.
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However, nerves set in and Zayn refused to get out of bed on the day of his audition, with Tricia later forcing the teen to make the journey to Manchester.
Performing a rendition of Let Me Love You by Mario, he impressed judges Nicole Scherzinger, Louis Walsh and Simon Cowell – sailing through to the Bootcamp stage.
It was during Bootcamp when Malik experienced heartbreak for the first time when he was told he would be going home but an epic twist was put in place by Simon Cowell.
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The Syco music boss saw potential in Zayn as well as Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson and came up with the idea to create "the next big boyband".
They soon became known as One Direction, instantly winning over millions of fans across the world who voted to save them each week.
However, 1D came third on The X Factor, with many thinking their careers were over but this was just the beginning.
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Shortly after their departure, they signed a £2 million recording contract with Syco and Columbia Records before swiftly taking over the world charts with their debut single, What Makes You Beautiful.
The Number One singles and albums came flooding in for the group as they experienced the highs of being the world's biggest boyband, as well as the lows.
Zayn, who at the time was in his early 20s, began to experience depression and anxiety with fans instantly sharing their worry for the singer.
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It was just five years after his first audition when he dropped the bombshell in the middle of the worldwide On The Road Again Tour that he would be leaving the band, citing his wishes to live as a "normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight."
Despite his departure, Zayn has since gone on to carve a successful solo career, signing to RCA Records just a year after his announcement of departure.
His tracks including Pillowtalk and I Don't Wanna Live Forever debuted at Number One on the UK Singles Chart as well as the US Billboard Hot 100.
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While he may be known for his chiselled cheekbones and model looks, Zayn has addressed his image, stating in his self-titled autobiography that the workload during his 1D days saw him become ill, battling an eating disorder in silence.
In 2016, he penned: "When I look back at images of myself from around November 2014, before the final tour, I can see how ill I was.
"Something I've never talked about in public before, but which I have come to terms with since leaving the band, is that I was suffering from an eating disorder."
The 28-year-old added: "It wasn't as though I had any concerns about my weight or anything like that, I’d just go for days – sometimes two or three days straight – without eating anything at all. It got quite serious, although at the time I didn't recognise it for what it was.
"I think it was about control. I didn’t feel like I had control over anything else in my life, but food was something I could control, so I did.
"I had lost so much weight I had become ill. The workload and the pace of life on the road put together with the pressures and strains of everything going on within the band had badly affected my eating habits."
Nowadays, Zayn spends his time in New York with long-term girlfriend Gigi Hadid and their daughter who was born in September 2020.
The singer often chooses to remain out of the spotlight and social media, only using platforms occasionally.
In line with his birthday, Zayn recently announced that his new album Nobody is Listening will be released on Friday, January 15, with the second release from the album, Vibez, going down a treat with his millions of fans across the globe.
If you're worried about your health or the health of somebody else, you can contact SEED eating disorder support service on 01482 718130 or on their website.
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