23-year-old Zayn Malik says he suffered from a “serious” eating disorder before quitting One Direction.
He revealed that sometimes he went days at a time without eating due to his schedule and the pressure from being in boy band.
“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 an excerpt of his new book, “Zayn,” obtained by The Sun.
“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,” he continued. “It got quite serious, although at the time I didn’t recognize it for what it was.”
Malik, who left One Direction in March 2015 to pursue a solo music career, says he’s now taking better care of himself, telling the Associated Press that he’s “a bit older and a bit more wiser” when it comes to making sure he eats proper meals.
He recalls in his book that his problems two years ago stemmed from wanting to be able to manage at least one aspect of his whirlwind lifestyle.
“I think it was about control. 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 wrote in the book. “I had lost so much weight I had become ill.”
Malik isn’t the first male celebrity to speak out about his battle with an eating disorder, with actor Russell Brand and musician Elton John among those who have opened up about their struggles with similar illnesses in the past.
Malik’s revelation comes less than two months after he canceled a scheduled performance in Dubai due to anxiety issues. The “Pillowtalk” crooner, who is dating famed model Gigi Hadid, also nixed a concert at the Capital Summertime Ball in London over the summer for the same reason.
“Unfortunately my anxiety that has haunted me throughout the last few months around live performances has gotten the better of me,” he explained on Twitter after canceling the London show. “With the magnitude of the event, I have suffered the worst anxiety of my career.”
Too often we associate eating disorders with women. It’s great to see a young man come forward and share his story so that other young men may be inspired to seek help if needed.