Zayn Malik may have left One Direction because he wanted creative input into their music, but there’s always been an underlying story beneath the surface. The Facebook post announcing his departure from the band said he wanted to be “a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.”
In a Fader profile ahead of his solo album, one of his managers revealed One Direction fans (Directioners) used to ring his doorbell in the middle of the night in hopes of stumbling into a conversation with him. While it’s easy to point out anyone who lives in the spotlight is subject to such behavior, eventually it’s bound to take its toll.
The “Pillow Talk” singer is not alone. Selena Gomez has been open about her struggles as well and announced in August she was taking a break from her music career in part because of “anxiety, panic attacks, and depression” related to her battle with lupus. Fifth Harmony’s Camila Cabello left a performance mid-show just a few days ago due to anxiety after having revealed her struggles with the illness in the past as well.
And after Justin Bieber redeemed himself in the public eye last year with Purpose, it seems like the rigors of touring have taken a toll on his mental health. Earlier this year, he cancelled meet and greets because they left him “mentally and emotionally exhausted” and asked fans to stop requesting pictures when he’s out in public.
Moving back to Zayn, he has also spoken out about having anxiety when performing in front of large audiences and he is still not ready to perform quite yet. The 23-year-old singer has announced he’s canceling another show in Dubai planned for October 11.
I have been working over the last three months to overcome my extreme anxiety around major live solo performances I feel I am making progress but I have today acknowledged that I do not feel sufficiently confident to move forward with the planned show in Dubai in October.
I am assured that all tickets will be refunded.
I am truly sorry to disappoint you. I hope to see you all soon.
Thank you to all my fans who support me globally.
With love and respect always,
While it’s unfortunate fans of Zayn and other pop singers won’t get to see some of their favorite singers perform anytime soon, it’s commendable to see the young stars are willing to open up about their anxiety issues and help remove the stigma surrounding mental illness.