Seven things we learned about Zayn Malik in his first interview since leaving One Direction
There was no doubt that the hearts of One Direction fans were broken when Zayn Malik announced his departure from the popular boy band in April.
And apart from the occasional tweets and petty arguments with friends, we haven't heard much from Malik since that heartbreaking split.
But Malik fans would be delighted that he has appeared out of the woodwork for his first major interview since the split.
In the photoshoot with magazine The Fader, he is seen on a motorcycle. And in another photo, he is seen with a crossbow.
Fully shedding that boy band image, he sports a trendy beard and his hair, now much longer than the buzz cut he sported months ago, is blonde at the top.
The interview was revealing - and it delves further into why Malik left the band (clue: It's not entirely because of those pesky cheating rumours).
Here are seven things we learned about the pop star.
1. He doesn't think One Direction music is cool
Directioners, you might want to proceed with caution. Don't say you haven't been warned.
Malik said in the interview that the music that One Direction made was "not music that (he) would listen to.
"If I was sat at a dinner date with a girl, I would play some cool s***, you know what I mean? I want to make music that I think is cool s***. I don't think that's too much to ask for," added Malik.
Well, there is some consolation for hurt One Direction fans.
He said: "I loved everything that we (One Direction) did."
But fans, don't let Malik's statement drag you down.
2. So what is cool music to Malik?
The Fader provided a frustratingly short teaser of one of Malik's songs Befour. (Is this a dig at one of One Direction's albums Four?)
We don't hear much of Malik's voice in the track, but the instrumental does sound a lot less conventional and different, which is what Malik is after.
He said that his upcoming album, which may be out early 2016, will be made up of different genres.
Malik said: "I'm kind of just showing what my influences are."
And among some of his influences? Bollywood music.
3. He is committed to his passion for street art.
In the magazine, his house in the north of London has a room where he's painted over every available surface in there.
His "dream house", as he describes it, also has a garden shed that's been converted into a pirate-themed pub.
So... I guess that's what people do with lots of money.
4. Malik was a lazy teen (so there's still hope for us all)
He said that he wouldn't have actually tried out for X Factor, the show that launched his career, if it weren't for his mother.
"People laugh at me because it sounds so childish now, but genuinely, at the time, I was a lazy teen. If I was in control of me going to audition for X Factor, I would have never gone because I would have never got up on the the day of the audition at four in the morning."
He added: "The reason I woke up is because my mum came in the room and was like 'You have to go audition for this show'."
5. One Direction fans who 'ship' the boys will be disappointed
For the uninitiated, "shipping" means fantasising that different celebrities are in a relationship together.
And this has extended to One Direction fans who imagine that certain members of the group are in relationships with each other.
He confirms: "There is no secret relationships going on with any of the band members."
Social media is full of gifs that overthink the boys' every minute action and look - and it bothers Malik.
He said: "It's not funny, and it still continues to be quite hard for them. They won't naturally go put their arm around each other because they're conscious of this thing that's going on, which is not even true."
6. Being in One Direction was creatively stifling
Malik lamented that he wasn't able to experiment and explore his musical identity when he was a part of the band.
He said: "There was never any room for me to experiment creatively in the band. If I would sing a hook or a verse slightly R&B, or slightly myself, it would always be recorded 50 times until there was a straight version that was pop, generic as f***, so they could use that version."
7. Malik respects ex-fiancee Perrie Edwards too much to dump her via text
There had been rumours suggesting that he had broken up in April with Edwards, who he was engaged to, over text.
But he quickly shot them down.
He said: "If you could word it exactly this way, I'd be very appreciative. I have more respect for Perrie than to end anything over text message.
"I love her a lot, and I always will, and I would never end our relationship over four years like that. She knows that, I know that, and the public should know that as well. I don't want to explain why or what I did. I just want the public to know I didn't do that." he said.
If Malik is telling the truth, good for him.
These three celebs could stand to learn something from him as they all dumped their exes unceremonioiusly.
1) Joe Jonas and his 27-second break-up call to Taylor Swift
In 2008, Swift divulged while promoting her album Fearless on The Ellen Show, no less, that Jonas had broken up with her over a short phone call.
Swift has famously dated many others since then but let's hope their methods of breaking up was a little less cowardly.
2) Russell Brand and that divorce text
Katy Perry said this year that she hasn't spoken to her ex-husband since he sent her a cruel text in 2011, telling her that he would be filing for divorce.
3) Phil Collins and faxing his break-up message
What did cowards do before the age of mobile phones? They relied on fax machines instead. Well at least Collins did.
He opted to tell his wife of 12 years, Jill Tavelman, via fax that he was filing for divorce in 1996.
Source: The Fader