Zayn Malik speaks about his 'crazy' decision to quit One Direction, fans request compassionate leave

LONDON - In an interview with The Sun newspaper on Friday, singer Zayn Malik admitted his decision to leave pop band One Direction was "crazy and wild and a bit mad".

"But at the same time I've never felt more in control in my life. And I feel like I'm doing what's right - right by myself and right by the boys, so I feel good."

The 22-year-old's decision to quit - and trigger a meltdown in the universe of tweens, teens and young women - came after his departure from the group's Asian tour amid online rumours that he was cheating on his fiancee, Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards.

On Friday, he said he was still with his fiancee, who was "very supportive" of his decision.

He said his former bandmades were also supportive and "understand that, you know, it's not real to me anymore".

He said he had wanted out of the band for some time. "I did try to do something that I wasn't happy doing for a while, for the sake of other people's happiness."

Speaking of those other people, workers - grieving One Direction fans, presumably - made more than 220 calls to employment law experts asking for compassionate leave after Malik's announcement, said the Manchester Evening News.

Director Alan Price at employment law consultancy Peninsula, which received hundreds of calls to its advice service, called it "a situation you just couldn't make up".

He said: "While I sympathise with One Direction fans, I hardly think this qualified as compassionate leave."

If it is any consolation to those fans, Malik clearly has plans to be seen and heard after quitting the group.

British reports said he visited a west London recording studio to work on a solo release with producer Naughty Boy, who has worked with the likes of Grammy winner Sam Smith.