Liam Payne is speaking out in defense of former One Direction member Zayn Malik following the singer’s announcement regarding his new solo career venture with RCA Records.
Payne opens up about Malik’s decision to leave One Direction in an interview conducted on Monday in which he explains that the group is fully supportive of Malik’s new career opportunities.
Malik announced his new record deal with RCA Records on July 29, taking to Twittter to tell fans, “I guess I never explained why I left, it was for this moment to be given the opportunity to show you who i really am! #realmusic #RCA!!”
Despite Malik’s exciting news, some fans interpreted Zayn’s “real music” hashtag to be a dig at One Direction, insinuating that Malik was never supportive of the music that the group made during their time as a five-piece.
When asked if he believed Malik was trying to throw shade at One Direction’s music, Payne reveals that he and fellow group members Niall Horan, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson were all aware that Malik was unhappy in the group, Gossip Cop reports.
“One Direction was never Zayn’s sort of music so he kind of always wanted to find something else,” Payne admitted on Radio 1 in the UK.
“If your heart’s not into something, you can’t just carry on doing it because of fame and stuff. You have to go and do what you want to do.”
Payne also puts rumors to rest that suggest the remaining members of 1D are not supportive of Malik’s new solo venture, to which Payne explains, “There’s too much history for there not to be love.”
Payne continues, “But it’s nice that we’ve banded together, and I feel like we’re stronger than ever now actually, which is strange but it’s worked out really nicely for everybody.”
The One Direction singer concludes his speech about Malik by noting that Zayn’s new solo record deal is “cool for him.”
The news comes on the heels of reports that suggest the group is planning to take a break after the release of their fifth album.
In addition to speaking on the state of his friendship with Malik, Payne also admits that he was “shocked” to learn about fellow member Louis Tomlinson’s baby bombshell that rocked the 1D fandom in July, People reports.
“Well, I was quite obviously a bit shocked, but he’s taken super well to it,” Payne admits of Tomlinson’s impending fatherhood, “He’s very excited about what’s going on with him at the moment.”
While Payne didn’t open up about whether or not Tomlinson’s future child with stylist with Briana Jungwirth would make it difficult for the group to tour in the future, Payne did reveal that Jungwirth is “a lovely girl” and that the idea of Tomlinson having a child is “quite a crazy thought.”
What do you think of Liam Payne’s comments about Zayn Malik?
[Image Credit: Getty Images / Jason Merritt / Ian Gavan]