The 22-year-old stunned fans this week when he announced he was walking away from the biggest boyband in the world in order to lead a more normal life.
And now he's told The Sun: "I can't do this anymore."
Zayn revealed: "I did try to do something that I wasn't happy doing for a while, for the sake of maybe other people's happiness. And that was mainly the fans. I only ever tried to do it for the fans, and it was only ever for them."
The 'Best Song Ever' singer apologised if he'd disappointed and upset the legions of One Direction fans around the world, saying: "It's not that I've turned my back on them or anything, it's just that I just can't do that anymore because it's not real to me."
Zayn has always been known as the private member of the band, preferring to keep away from the spotlight which isn't easy when you're in a globally successful band and engaged to Little Mix's Perrie Edwards.
He reiterated what the other boys – Niall, Louis, Liam and Harry – said in their statement this week, that they are supportive of him and he's left amicably.
The remaining 1D guys had said: We're really sad to see Zayn go, but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future. The past five years have been beyond amazing, we've gone through so much together, so we will always be friends."
They will continue as a foursome.
Meanwhile, Zayn has also said that Perrie has been fully supportive of his decision: "She's alright, she's a good girl."
Perrie hasn't publicly commented on his exit.
Watch the public - and some celebs! - react to the news:
Yesterday, X Factor stalwart Sinitta spoke out about how important Perrie was tO Zayn and how he'd do anything he could to protect that relationship.
Sinitta said: "Zayn was always the romantic, spiritual one, always took his relationships very seriously, was always very gentle. I think the relationship is important to him.
"He and Perrie, that is a very prominent relationship for him and for that to be threatened in any way - especially when you're travelling around the world and all the stress and drama of that - you need an anchor, some stability somewhere so I think that would have rocked him a lot."
Zayn was forced to publicly declare his love for Perrie earlier this month after pictures emerged of him holding hands with another woman.
He was then signed off the 1D world tour with stress, returning home to the UK to recuperate. Then the news came that he'd quit the band.
Now, he's back in the UK with Perrie and has been spotted heading into a music studio in London, fuelling rumours he may not be leaving the industry entirely.
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