Zayn Malik talks candidly about suffering from an eating disorder in his new book, Zayn. In quotes obtained by The Sun, the former One Direction member opens up about how he became ill during his time with the band.
“When I look back at images of myself from around November 2014, before the final tour, I can see how ill I was,” the “Pillowtalk” singer, 23, writes. “Something I’ve never talked about in public before, but which I have come to terms with since leaving the band, is that I was suffering from an eating disorder.”
Malik, who split from the band in March 2015, explains in his autobiography that it wasn’t about his looks: “It wasn’t as though I had any concerns about my weight or anything like that, I’d just go for days — sometimes two or three days straight — without eating anything at all. It got quite serious, although at the time I didn’t recognize it for what it was.”
The singer says that it came down to having a sense of control.
“I didn’t feel like I had control over anything else in my life, but food was something I could control, so I did,” he writes. “I had lost so much weight I had become ill. The workload and the pace of life on the road put together with the pressures and strains of everything going on within the band had badly affected my eating habits.”
The former boy bander has since gained back the weight, telling the Associated Press in a new interview that he’s now managing his meals: ‘I’m a bit older and a bit more wiser.”
But he still battles anxiety issues, though he told the AP he is now better able to cope.
In June and September, he canceled shows due to extreme anxiety.
“Dear fans, I have been working over the last three months to overcome my extreme anxiety around major live solo performances,” he said in a statement last month. “I feel I am making progress but I have today acknowledged that I do not feel sufficiently confident to move forward with the planned show in Dubai in October … I am truly sorry to disappoint you. I hope to see you all soon. Thank you to all my fans who support me globally. With love and respect always, Zayn.”
His girlfriend, Gigi Hadid, supported him, posting on Instagram that she’s personally witnessed his anxiety attacks. “Your bravery in those times makes me proud, but your honesty last night proved what you’re all about, being real. Human recognizes human. You made the best of the situation and have given your fans an opportunity to understand you better as a performer,” she shared at the time. “Those who can find compassion now are the ones that deserve to watch you continue to grow.