"It's always tough," the "Jealous" singer told E! News at the 2015 Kids' Choice Awards press day Thursday when asked about Zayn's decision to leave One Direction after five years of mega-success. "You know, there's never an easy time to make a decision like that. I commend him for doing what he feels is right for him and you got to stay true to yourself."
Nick, of course, went through a high-profile split himself—and with his own flesh and blood, no less!—when the Jonas Brothers went their separate artistic ways back in October 2013.
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Joe and Kevin by his side, Nick told Good Morning America's Robin Roberts at the time: "In a nutshell, I said, ‘Look, I feel like we've had some complications within the group for a long time without addressing them. I think this train will fall off the tracks without really getting real about some of the concerns and some of the limitations that we may feel as individuals in the group.' It was a tough conversation...It was the first time we really had that real conversation. It was a few days of working through it."
One Direction, of course, has vowed to carry on (for now, anyway) without Zayn, but the 22-year-old's official statement reflected the fact that his own exit had been a work in progress for a while.
"My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined," he stated Wednesday. "But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band. I'd like to apologize 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."
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While Nick didn't leave his band to take a step back from the spotlight, he presumably agonized over his own choice to initiate the breakup talk at the time.
"I feel for the One Direction fans and I hope they're doing OK," he told E! News today, "but you know, it's one of those things, that sometimes it's just time to close a chapter."
And you never know what sort of chapters will be written next! Next up for Nick: hosting the 2015 Kids' Choice Awards this Saturday.