Zayn Malik speaks: He felt ‘overexposed,’ mislabeled as ‘mysterious’ in One Direction

Zayn Malik poses at a premiere in a black turtleneck and bedazzled black jacket
Zayn Malik will sit down for his first interview in six years in an upcoming episode of the podcast “Call Her Daddy.”
(Rich Fury / Invision / Associated Press)

Zayn Malik is breaking free of his “quiet one” status and sitting down for his first interview in six years.

The podcast “Call Her Daddy” announced Tuesday that Malik would appear on Wednesday’s episode for a full sit-down interview. In a video preview, host Alex Cooper asked Malik about his career, fatherhood and his life since parting ways with the juggernaut that was boy band One Direction.

“I feel like we were so overexposed in the band that that’s why I took the time that I have, to not even necessarily do interviews,” the former band member said. It had been “about six years or so” since he last found himself in an interview setting.


Zayn Malik was charged with harassing Gigi Hadid and her mother, Yolanda Hadid, with ‘lewd, lascivious, threatening’ words.

Oct. 29, 2021

Malik left One Direction in 2015 after helping the group put out four hit albums. In a statement regarding his departure, he wrote, “I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.”

In Tuesday’s snippet, Malik mentioned that he grew tired of the labels and energy that came with being in a pop group.

“They just said, ‘Oh yeah, you can be the mysterious one.’ That wasn’t necessarily my personality, I’m just chill,” he said. “I know that a lot of people have high-energy personalities, and it’s just not the way I am.”

“The love I feel for this tiny human is beyond my understanding,” singer Zayn Malik wrote after welcoming a baby girl with model Gigi Hadid.

Sept. 24, 2020

He found instant success with his 2016 solo debut album, “Mind of Mine,” which included the hit single “Pillowtalk.” He has released two subsequent LPs, 2018’s “Icarus Falls” and 2021’s “Nobody Is Listening.”

In 2020, Malik announced the birth of his daughter with his former partner, model Gigi Hadid. The couple split up in 2021 after Malik pleaded no contest to four counts of harassment against Hadid and her mother, Yolanda Hadid.

One Direction famously hated being referred to as a boy band.

March 23, 2016

When questioned about why he decided to once again put himself in the public eye, the “Dusk Till Dawn” singer said his 2-year-old daughter, Khai, played a large role in his return.


“Since I’ve had my daughter, the main thing in my mind is trying to be a good example to her,” Malik said. “That’s why I’m even doing this interview, you know? I used to get a lot of anxiety around having a conversation like this. And I want her to be a to look at me and be like, ‘Yo, my dad’s doing this.’”

The full interview, which will be available Wednesday on the “Call Her Daddy” feed on Spotify, precedes the release of Malik’s new single, “Love Like This,” on July 21.