It's bombshell news, if you happen to be of a certain age: Zayn Malik said today he is leaving chart-topping boy band One Direction "to be a normal 22-year-old." In an announcement that sent social media into a tizzy, Malik's bandmates said they were sad to see him go, "but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future." Malik said in a statement that his time with One Direction "has been more than I could ever have imagined." But he added, "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."
Last week, Malik flew home from a tour stop in the Philippines, citing stress. Malik's departure from the tour came after he hit back at rumors of trouble in his relationship with fiancee Perrie Edwards of the band Little Mix. Before his departure, authorities in the Philippines imposed a $5,000 "weed bond" on Malik and fellow band member Louis Tomlinson, with the money to be forfeited if either was caught using or promoting illegal drugs. One Direction formed in 2010 after five teenagers—Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Tomlinson, and Malik—auditioned individually for the British TV talent show The X Factor. Simon Cowell had the idea of putting them together as a boy band.