Zayn Malik is not the man he used to be.
The English singer-songwriter sat down with The Sunday Times Style magazine to discuss how he conquered crippling personal demons that contributed to his departure from One Directionin 2015.
"I now have no problem with anxiety," Malik explained. "It was something I was dealing with in the band." Zayn has spoken about struggling with an eating disorder before, a confession he believes helped bring attention to the stigma surrounding mental illness and body image.
Zayn continued, "People saw strength in that, and they didn't seem to expect it from a guy, but they expect it from a female, which to me is crazy. We're all human. People are often afraid to admit difficulties, but I don't believe that there should be a struggle with anything that's the truth."
He clarified, "It wasn't specifically an eating disorder," but rather a "control thing" that helped him divert from his life with 1D that he described as "so regimented and controlled."
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"It was the one area where I could say, ‘No, I'm not eating that," Malik explained. "Once I got over the control, the eating just came back into place, super naturally... I came back to the U.K. and spent some time with my mum and got some TLC, and she cooked me food and I got back in touch, mentally, with a lot of the things I'd lost."
Now Zayn's personal life is much more stable, thanks in part to his year and half-long romance with Gigi Hadid. The 24-year-old, who was previously engaged to Little Mix's Perrie Edwards, revealed the supermodel has been living with Malik in his Bel Air home "this past year" and she's met his family.
"I've never took her to [my hometown] Bradford, not yet. She's met my family in London a few times, though," he told the publication.
Another adorable Zigi tidbit he couldn't help but share? Nicknames: "I call her Gee, she calls me Zee. There's some other nicknames too, but I'll keep those private." Aww!
The "Like I Would" singer also dropped some insight into how he keeps things fresh in the romance department. While Gigi was in France for Paris Fashion Week in early March, Zayn worked up a plan to surprise his girlfriend.
"She didn't know I was coming," he said. "I went up to the suite to knock on the door…But my number had changed to European on her phone, so it wasn't much of a surprise in the end. She played along with it, though."
Of his time in the City of Light, he added, "It's been amazing spending time here with my girlfriend."