One Direction and Zayn Malik are headed in different directions.
Malik announced that he is leaving the group via the boy band's official Facebook Wednesday afternoon. "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 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," he said.
Calling Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson his "four friends for life," Malik added, "I know they will continue to be the best band in the world."
Horan, Payne, Styles and Tomlinson will continue as a four-piece band and said they will honor their remaining world tour dates. The quartet will also record their fifth album, "due to be released later this year," without Malik's involvement.
"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," the four singers said in a statement. "We're looking forward to recording the new album and seeing all the fans on the next stage of the world tour."
Still, even the idea that he'd cheat on the Little Mix singer was a hard pill to swallow.
"He is completely in love with Perrie" a source told E! News. "What happened in Thailand was completely blown out of proportion."
"He is just a kid. He wants to make music, but the spotlight that comes with it is hard," an insider says of the "Kiss You" singer. "Fame is kind of catching up with all if them. It's been a grueling and intense few years and it's having a snowball effect now. Zayn would be happy with a low-key life. He has a problem with the fame—he doesn't handle the attention very well, and every so often he has a little wobble."