Zayn Malik reportedly gave his first interview as a former member of One Direction a mere six hours after announcing he was leaving the band for good. He opened up about his reasons for leaving, admitted he hadn’t been happy for quite some time and assured fans that there were no hard feelings between he and the rest of the group.

In an interview with the Sun, Zayn admitted that he felt he made the right decision. He said, “It is crazy and wild and a bit mad. But at the same time I’ve never felt more in control in my life. And I feel like I’m doing what’s right — right by myself and right by the boys, so I feel good.”

Zayn first disappointed fans when he chose to take an extended hiatus from One Direction’s current world tour amid allegations that he cheated on his fiancee, Perrie Edwards. He proceeded to crush the spirits of fans around the world when that extended hiatus turned into an official, final departure from the group — seemingly overnight. But according to his interview with the Sun, his decision was a long time coming. He said, “I did try to do something that I wasn’t happy doing for a while, for the sake of other people’s happiness."

He says he feels bad letting fans down: “I only ever tried to do it for the fans, and it was only ever for them…I’m only upset (because) I feel like I may have let them down in some sort of way. That’s the main thing that I don’t want to happen,” he said. “It’s not that I’ve turned my back on them or anything, it’s just that I just can’t do that anymore because it’s not real to me."

Zayn went on to say that despite whispers from various media outlets, he and the rest of the group remain on good terms. He said, “My band has been really supportive. They’ve been cool about it. And they understand that, you know, it’s not real to me anymore.”

When asked whether he may be able to join the band again if he ever feels a need to return, the answer wasn’t clear. He responded, “I really don’t think I can answer that. I don’t know."

While Zayn mentioned, via a statement on Facebook, a desperate need to be a normal 22-year-old boy and stay out of the spotlight for a little while, photos emerged of the former “One Thing” singer showing him entering a studio just a day after quitting One Direction. Said photos have rubbed some fans the wrong way, and according to sources at PEOPLE, the guys in One Direction may be feeling the same way.

A source reportedly said (quotes via PEOPLE), “[Zayn] told everyone in the band and management that he wants to live a normal life and the next thing you know he's going into music studios and doing interviews with tabloids.” The source goes on to say, “Everyone feels a bit misled and thinks he was lying about wanting to live a normal life.”

Worse stil, the source mentions that Zayn is “very easily led” and that some people in his life may be “trying to get him to do stuff and manipulate him.” They even go on to say that "everyone feels played by him. Louis and Zayn are friends and will talk but the rest probably won't.”

The idea that the guys may not be friends after the near implosion of One Direction is almost too much to bear, so we're going to take these unnamed sources with a bucketload of salt large enough to fill the Sahara. Besides, things seemed amicable enough between Zayn and the rest of the group when Liam posted that emotional Twitlonger online, ensuring fans that they would all remain close friends. So we're going to go with that for now.

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