Zayn Malik has already opened up about the crippling anxiety that has led him to cancel more than one performance, and in his upcoming book Zayn he reveals that he also had a severe eating disorder while part of One Direction.
In quotes from the book obtained by The Sun, the singer admits he lost so much weight that rumours of substance abuse surfaced due to his increasingly gaunt appearance.
“When I look back at images of myself from around November 2014, before the final tour, I can see how ill I was,” Malik admits. “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.
He adds: “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.”
In fact, he thinks that his issues surrounding food were “about 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 says. “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.”
He also opens up about his anxiety, describing what led to cancelling a high-profile show at the 11th hour.
“On the morning of the 2016 Capital Radio Summertime Ball, an anxiety attack hit me like a f***ing freight train. I felt sick. I couldn’t breathe,” he admits. “The idea of it totally freaked me out and I was paralyzed with anxiety. This overwhelming fear just kicked in out of nowhere, bringing with it a s***storm of self-doubt.”
When members of his management team came to his home to see what the problem was, he reveals, “I was on total psychological lockdown. I would make a move to walk out of the house, to get into a car that would then drive me to Wembley, but I could only manage a few paces before I hit an imaginary wall. It stopped me in my tracks, and I would have to sit down again.”
As for the future, he says: “The plan is to start performing smaller venues and work my way up from there. This anxiety isn’t going to get the better of me.”