Fans express disbelief and sadness at One Direction member leaving group
The hashtag #AlwaysInOurHeartsZaynMalik held the top spot both globally and locally on Twitter yesterday, thanks to the collective heartbreak and hysteria of millions of Zayn Malik fans.
Early yesterday morning, popular UK band One Direction released a statement about his shocking departure from the group just hours after their concert in Jakarta.
This bombshell came after already unexpected news last week, when he quit their On The Road Again tour due to stress.
Malik, 22, had performed gigs in Australia, Japan, Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong before returning home to the UK.
Remaining One Direction members Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan - all in their 20s - continued with the Asian leg of the tour in Manila and Jakarta as a quartet, and will do the same for their Europe and North America dates.
In a statement, Malik apologised but said that "it is the right time... to leave" and that he "(wants) to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight".
News of his departure was met with a massive outpouring of emotions on social media from Directioners.
Many expressed sadness and grief, while others appeared to be in disbelief and denial.
Some fans also took to video-sharing platform Vine to post videos of their overwhelming misery.
While some were seen sobbing and screaming in anguish, others begged Malik to change his mind.
Malik has continued to remain silent on social media, but speculation was rife that he wanted the timeout to work on his relationship.
Rumours that he was cheating on his fiancée Perrie Edwards, a member of English girl group Little Mix, began emerging after incriminating photos made their rounds on social media.
They showed him cosying up to a blonde English fan named Lauren Richardson at a club in Phuket during their Thailand stopover.
Music mogul Simon Cowell, who signed One Direction to his label Syco Music after they were formed on his reality TV singing competition The X Factor in 2010, said he has "grown very, very fond - and immensely proud" of Malik and that he was "truly sorry to see him leave".
One Direction apparently have a year left on their three-year contract, which they renewed in 2013. A source told UK newspaper The Sun then that if a member decides to leave before the end of the contract, each member will receive less than the agreed amount.
In a statement, the boys expressed sadness in watching Malik go and said that they will always remain friends.
Individually, they let on little, except Payne, who had tweeted "so glad to be in bed after a long and strange 24 hours".
Styles also tweeted "all (his) love as always", while Tomlinson said on Twitter that they would work hard to deliver "the best album" ever made for their fans.
Local Malik fans The New Paper spoke to were emotional and distraught.
Student Angelica Chong, 19, said she cried on and off the whole night and only managed to sleep at 6am yesterday.
"It came as a surprise initially but his departure was not completely unforeseeable. Zayn has always had the toughest time dealing with fame and the media so I'm glad he has decided to put his health and happiness first. He has my support 100 per cent," she said.
She said she finds it hard to listen to One Direction's songs now as the group is not the same without her favourite member.
"I'm thankful that he came to Singapore (for their March 11 concert)... it feels more significant now that he has left. I feel awful for Zayn's fans who bought tickets for the current tour," she said.
"There is a massive gaping hole where Zayn used to be. Musically, he has the loveliest voice," she said.
Republic Polytechnic student Muhammad Hidayat Rafii, 17, heard the news after he woke up and was on the verge of tears on his way to school, he said.
"I am still in disbelief. His departure must have hit Harry, who cried at the show in Jakarta," he said.
Despite Malik's exit, the poly student said he will remain an ardent fan.
"I will support One Direction until I die. Besides, boy bands always end up regrouping - look at Backstreet Boys," he said.
I will support One Direction until I die. Besides, boy bands always end up regrouping - look at Backstreet Boys.
- Poly student Muhammad Hidayat Rafii
And then there were four...
Other popular pop quintets who became quartets
WESTLIFE: (From left) Kian Egan, Bryan McFadden, Shane Filan, Nicky Bryne and Mark Feehily.
Who are they? Irish boy band comprising Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan, Mark Feehily, Shane Filan and Brian McFadden.
Year formed: 1998
Member who left: McFadden, in 2004
Post-McFadden verdict: The remaining guys continued to enjoy success in the UK, with their subsequent albums holding the top three spots in the UK album charts.
TAKE THAT: (From left) Howard Donald, Gary Barlow, Jason Orange, Robbie Williams and Mark Owen.
Who are they? British boy band comprising Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams, Jason Orange, Mark Owen and Howard Donald.
Year formed: 1990
Member who left: Williams, in 1995
Post-Williams verdict: Williams went on to enjoy a bright solo career. He returned to Take That in 2010 to record Progress and join the rest on a UK stadium tour. Progress became the fastest-selling album in the 21st century. Orange left last year and Take That are now a trio.
SPICE GIRLS: (Clockwise from top) Victoria Beckham, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Geri Halliwell and Melanie Chisholm. - PHOTOS: EMI MUSIC, EMI, UNIVERSAL MUSIC
Who are they? British girl group originally comprising Victoria Beckham, Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton, Melanie Brown and Melanie Chisholm.
Year formed: 1994
Member who left: Halliwell, in 1998
Post-Halliwell verdict: Forever (2000) sold five million copies worldwide and did not match their previous albums' success. The group then went on an indefinite hiatus.
HELP YOUR CHILD COPE
CNN had these tips for parents with kids dealing with post-Zayn Malik grief:
1 Be there, armed with boxes of tissues
Don't dismiss their anguish, or try to console and give advice.
Ms Dannielle Miller, an author and educator who works with teenage girls, said: "The last thing you want to do as a parent is to just think it's silly and to laugh at your child if she's really upset about this because her feelings will be very real to her."
Child psychologist Dr Louise Porter added: "You don't need to console, you don't need to give advice...(the kids) just need (the parents) to hear the message that (they're sad)."
2 Look out for signs of self-mutilation
Scary as it is, #cut4zayn and #cutforzayn were circulating hashtags on the Internet yesterday.
We're not sure if they're real or not, but fans were circulating photos of slashed arms as a means to change Malik's mind or a sign of devotion.
Parents should intervene if their children show such signs of self-harm.
3 Don't enforce a stern ban on the Internet
Ms Miller suggested telling your child it might be better to stay away from the Internet during this period.
She also suggested getting your child to replay a One Direction concert video or take a walk if the pain becomes unbearable.
4 Seek help if it goes on for a prolonged length of time
Ms Miller said Malik's leaving might signal "the end of an era" and if the grieving goes on longer than a couple of days, parents are encouraged to step in or seek external professional help.
5 Turn this period of grieving into a lesson about resilience
Ms Miller said that in guiding them through this phase of grief, parents could leave children with a useful "scaffold" for them to fall back on when dealing with future heartbreak or parting.