It's the same old boy band/girl band story: eventually someone leaves or goes solo, destroying the perfectly constructed quintent or quartet. It happened with The Spice Girls (Geri Halliwell) and NSync (Justin Timberlake), and now it's happening with One Direction.
The singer revealed that he's leaving the uber-popular band earlier today on the official One Direction Facebook page.
"My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined," he said. "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."
He continued, emphasizing that he wants to be "a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight."
Last week, Malik walked away from the band's world tour due to "stress." There was much speculation that he was cheating on his fianceé after photos of a mystery girl surfaced, with the pair holding hands. In another picture, Malik's arm was also wrapped firmly around the woman's waist. (She has since been identified as Lauren Richardson, a supposed "friend" of Malik's.)
Some fans were devastated:
Some made it into a joke:
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