Liam Payne Opens Up About Estrangement From Zayn Malik: ‘He Genuinely Was The Best Singer In One Direction’

Liam Payne is getting candid about his relationship with his former One Direction mates.

In a new interview with GQ Hype, the 26-year-old talks about the group’s “hiatus” beginning in 2015, months after Zayn Malik had left the band, admitting that there are still grudges between them.

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“Definitely in some part, yeah,” he says when asked if there are still unresolved issues between them. “We had our differences throughout the whole experience with some things. I still think about some stuff that was said and done that now I would do differently, but then that’s all part of growing up.

“Being in One Direction was such a schoolyard mentality somehow – the One Direction University, I call it. Everyone has stuff they’ve said at parties they wished they hadn’t but, for us, the difference was that it was all happening in front of the world. Now we are older, for me certainly there are things that I am just not as bothered about.”

Payne talks about Malik specifically and their estrangement.

“I think with Zayn’s particular exit and the way he chose to go, we haven’t really heard from him since he left,” he revealed. “He didn’t even say goodbye, if I am being honest. It was a really sordid scenario, from our side certainly. A bit strange. It’s difficult.”

Commenting on Malik’s difficult relationship with fame and anxiety, Payne adds, “For Zayn, he loves music and he’s an amazing talent. He genuinely was the best singer in One Direction, hand on heart, out of all of us. But for him to get to a point where, you know, he can’t step on a stage? It’s a lot. I mean, he’s doing great. His streaming numbers are ridiculous, but I do think he misses out on the performance side a bit, you know. He can’t seem to get past that part.”

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Payne says he wanted to reach out to Malik over their shared difficulties with anxiety but was never quite sure of the best way.

“I didn’t want him to feel like he was going through this all alone in some ways, or that we were all out to get him,” the singer says. “We’re the only people who know what you’re going through. The only five people who know what you are going through were all in a room together once, and you left – fair enough – but you don’t want anyone going through such evils for no reason. But it got to a point with me where I wouldn’t know where to begin with Zayn. I hope he has good people around him but I don’t at this stage think it’s anything the rest of us can solve.”

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