Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction in March might have seemed like a shock to some, but Simon Cowell says he saw it coming from a mile away.

In an interview with Event published to The Daily Mail, Cowell claimed to have remembered Malik's unhappiness clearly, but said once the dust settled, his priority was with those Malik had left behind.

"I knew Zayn was going before it happened," Cowell said. "He was unhappy. My concern was actually for the boys."

"Zayn wasn’t in a great place but it was his decision to leave, he wasn’t kicked out," he added. "And then he wanted to distance himself...My responsibility was to the boys because they had no warning. They are in their 20s—it’s tough and it’s my job to be there."

And as far as the rest of 1D is concerned, Cowell said the news that Louis Tomlinson will become a father was a tough one for the One Direction member to take. But Cowell, who recently became a father, himself, was happy to offer some advice.

"When Louis got the call he was going to be a dad, I was the person he spoke to," Cowell recalled. "He was nervous...I said, 'Look Louis, I’ve been there, but you’ve just got to actually love it. And as a man you’ve got to deal with it. You have a responsibility now; you have a purpose.'”

"I’m very close to Louis and he trusts me, which I think is very important," Cowell concluded.

Check out the full interview here, which also includes Cowell's reflection on his mother's death in July, and share your thoughts.

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