In passages from his upcoming autobiography Zayn obtained by The Sun, Malik reveals that he was suffering from a serious eating disorder that was actually a danger to his health while he was traveling and performing with his former bandmates before their split in March 2015.
“When I look back at images of myself from around November 2014, before the final tour, I can see how ill I was,” Malik writes in his book. “Something I’ve never talked about in public before, but which I have come to terms with since leaving the band, is that I was suffering from an eating disorder.”
Even more heartbreaking is what triggered Malik’s disorder — it wasn’t appearance, but a deep feeling that he wasn’t in control of anything in his life.
“I didn’t feel like I had control over anything else in my life, but food was something I could control, so I did,” he writes. “I had lost so much weight I had become ill. The workload and the pace of life on the road put together with the pressures and strains of everything going on within the band had badly affected my eating habits.
“It wasn’t as though I had any concerns about my weight or anything like that, I’d just go for days — sometimes two or three days straight — without eating anything at all. It got quite serious, although at the time I didn’t recognize it for what it was.”
We so often joke about pop stars — and how they like to tantrum about ridiculous things — that it’s easy to forget they are usually just very young people trying to come into their own. It sounds crazy, but Malik opening up about his struggle with an eating disorder almost makes us feel a little more sympathetic when it comes to Justin Bieber’s outlandish behavior. Maybe next time we’re quick to judge Bieber for his actions, we’ll remember Malik’s words about his own suffering while in the public eye.
Zayn will be available for purchase on Nov. 1 here.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.