Here's What Harry Styles Said About Zayn Malik's One Direction Departure

If you were a tween or teen in the 2010s, chances are you've heard of the English-Irish pop boy band One Direction. The group — which originally featured Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, and Liam Payne — was formed on "The X Factor" in 2010. Although One Direction ultimately lost the music competition after finishing third, it was only the beginning for the group.

Shortly after their time on "The X Factor" came to end, the band released their debut single, "What Makes You Beautiful," which catapulted the group to superstardom practically overnight. It was such a smashing success that Billboard would later dub the single one of 100 songs that defined the 2010s.

For years, the band was flying high, producing numerous top ten singles, number one albums, and sold-out tours. However, in March 2015, Directioners were hit with devastating news when Malik announced he was leaving the band. "My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined," he wrote in a social media post (via E! News). He continued, "But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band. I'd like to apologize to the fans if I've let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart."

Life in One Direction after Zayn Malik

Following Zayn Malik's abrupt departure, the remaining members of One Direction soldiered on, releasing their fifth studio album, "Made In the A.M.," in November 2015. The record was an instant success that spawned two Top 10 singles  — "Perfect" and "Drag Me Down" — and snagged the No. 2 spot on the Billboard 200. However, the release was bittersweet for die-hard fans as the group announced a hiatus in August 2015.

"They are taking a hiatus so they can work on individual projects for a while but they are not splitting up," a source told E! News at the time. Since 2016, all five original One Direction members have gone on to pursue solo careers. From album releases to acting debuts, the former boy band members have worked to carve out their respective lanes in the industry. While most members of the group have since discussed a potential reunion of sorts, Malik has remained relatively silent on all things One Direction

According to Harry Styles, Malik's quiet nature was also prevalent before he announced his departure from the band.

Harry Styles wasn't aware Zayn Malik wanted out

While promoting his album "Fine Line," Harry Styles told Apple Music's Zane Lowe that he "didn't realize" Zayn Malik wanted to leave the band ahead of his exit."Yeah, I mean, it was hard you know. Part of it was ... We were sad that someone had left," he said. "But also sad that he was not enjoying it so much that he had to leave." Styles went on to say that while on tour, he thought his fellow band members "felt pretty good," noting, "It felt like everyone was kind of enjoying it. And yeah I'd say a big part of it was us saying wow, I didn't realize [Zayn] wasn't enjoying it that much."

Malik's departure initially created uncertainty about whether the band should record their fifth album. But in the end, Styles admitted that the unexpected "hurdle" brought them closer together. Towards the end of the interview, he revealed that the band was already thinking about their controversial hiatus. "Well ... I wouldn't say [the band splitting] crept up," he said. 

While a One Direction reunion may not be in the cards at the moment, Styles has previously hinted at potentially being interested. "It's something I would never rule out doing," he told The Sun. "Right now everyone's getting a chance to explore things they want to try and it's really cool to see what they're coming up with when it's just them in a studio writing."