Zayn Malik Reveals Eating Disorder, Anxiety In New Memoir

By McCarton Ackerman 11/03/16

“I’d just go for days...without eating anything. It got quite serious, although at the time I didn’t recognize it for what it was.”

Zayn Malik Reveals Eating Disorder, Anxiety In New Memoir

Formerly of the boy band One Direction, singer Zayn Malik is opening up about his battles with anxiety and an eating disorder in his new memoir.

Zayn, released on Tuesday, details the struggles that contributed to the 23-year-old's surprising departure from the British boy band in March 2015. Malik said he never thought he had an eating disorder or even gave much thought to food, but realized “how ill” he was in 2014 after looking at photos of himself.

“I’d just go for days — sometimes two or three days straight — without eating anything. It got quite serious, although at the time I didn’t recognize it for what it was,” he wrote. “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. 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.”

Malik also penned a letter this week for TIME magazine, in which he detailed his ongoing struggle with anxiety. Although he suffered from anxiety while part of One Direction, he said it grew worse after breaking away from the band and pursuing a solo career. He even cited “extreme anxiety” as the reason behind canceling his concert last month in Dubai.

“I have suffered the worst anxiety of my career,” he wrote. “It’s this thing that swells up and blocks out your rational thought processes. Even when you know you want to do something, know that it will be good for you, that you’ll enjoy it when you’re doing it, the anxiety is telling you a different story. It’s a constant battle within yourself.”

The singer also expressed frustration over swirling rumors that his drug and alcohol use were what led to his departure from One Direction and recent canceled concerts, but said he’s now at peace with the fact that there’s little he can do to stop it.

“All I’d say is: Always take everything you read online with a pinch of salt,” wrote Malik in the memoir. “I found it really frustrating that, even now that I was being upfront about what the issue was, some people still found reasons to doubt it. But that’s the industry.”

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.