One Direction’s Zayn Malik is taking a break from the band’s Asian leg of their On the Road Again tour as of March 19.
Simon Jones, Malik’s publicist, says, “Zayn has been signed off with stress and is flying back to the UK to recuperate. The band wishes him well and will continue with their performances in Manila and Jakarta.”
Spokespeople for the star are saying Malik has signed off with stress, but the fans are questioning where this stress is coming from.
At a Thailand pool party, One Direction fan, Lauren Richardson, posted a picture on Instagram of Malik closely hugging her. Immediately, cheating speculations broke out about the star betraying his fiancé Perrie Edwards, lead singer in the band Little Mix. The couple has been together since August 2013.
Malik and those close to him violently opposed these allegations, saying he remains faithful to Edwards, and Richardson was “just a fan.” Other loyal fans and “Zerrie” shippers even threatened to beat up the singer if it happened to be true.
In order to prove his innocence, Malik took to social media and tweeted to his 14.1 million followers of his love for his fiancé on March 18, 2015: “I’m 22 years old… I love a girl named Perrie Edwards. And there’s a lot of jealous f***s in this world I’m sorry for what it looks like x”
The tweet got a total of 462k retweets and 589k favorites since then, and continues to cause controversy. Some fans speculate that it was actually his management who sent out the tweet.
Another major source of stress for Malik is the negative media following his and bandmate Louis Tomlinson’s “weed bond” issued by the Philippines Bureau of Immigration for £3,500 or about $4,700 each. This bond is to be forfeited if they are caught using or impliedly promoting illegal drugs during their time in Manila for concerts on March 21 and 22, 2015. If caught with the substance, the boys could be dropped from their contract and/or kicked out of the country.
Most of all, Malik has always been slightly uncomfortable with the constant limelight. The attention takes away from the “normal” life he subconsciously knew that he would not be able to have as a part of possibly the biggest boy band in the world.
Even so, Malik’s family has been nothing but supportive. His mother, Trisha Malik, said her son is “fine”, but she cannot say where in the UK he is.
The other members of One Direction – Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Tomlinson – are trying their best to perform without him because the show must go on.
On Saturday, March 21, 2015 in Manila, Philippines, Payne announced each member separately and not as One Direction because they are not One Direction without Malik.
Freshman Alexa McDaniel said, “Zayn’s break is definitely stressing out the band because of the short notice and changes that had to be made, but they are obviously very supportive of his choices.”
In response to the dilemma of not having Malik to tackle his legendary high notes, the boys split them up. Styles took the verse in “Little Things” and “Story of My Life” while Payne managed the impossible by tackling the famous high note in their hit single of 2014 “You & I”.
Fans have tried their best to be accepting of Malik’s decisions and undoubtedly will show their support. The hashtag #HaveAGoodRestZayn is even trending in the Twitterverse.
McDaniel says, “The fans are overreacting and I think they should try to stay out of his personal life more, so he’s not overwhelmed even though they only mean well. I think Zayn needs a break because he physically looks stressed and he deserves one. I will support him no matter what, but I do think it’s disappointing to fans who already have tickets for the concerts he is missing and won’t be able to see all of One Direction.”
Others are not being so helpful and keeping their disdain quiet.
Freshman Katherine Strych said, “It’s unprofessional for Zayn to leave his job. Him not being there is hurting the band and taking away from fan experience.”
How do you think Zayn Malik’s absence will affect himself, the band, and the fans?