Zayn Malik clarifies the origins of his eating disorder, which he first revealed in his memoir

Jeff Kravitz/AMA2016/FilmMagic
Credit: Jeff Kravitz/AMA2016/FilmMagic

Zayn Malik is revealing more about the restrictive eating behaviors he developed while touring with his former group, One Direction.

The singer first discussed his food issues in his self-titled autobiography, released in November, calling it a “quite serious” problem.

“Something I’ve never talked about in public before, but which I have come to terms with since leaving the band, is that I was suffering from an eating disorder,” Malik, 24, wrote. “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.”

“It got quite serious, although at the time I didn’t recognize it for what it was.”

Malik is now clarifying that he wouldn’t label his habits as an eating disorder, but more a need for control.

“It wasn’t specifically an eating disorder,” he tells the U.K.’s Sunday Times. “It was a control thing. Every area of my life was so regimented and controlled, it was the one area where I could say, ‘No, I’m not eating that.’ Once I got over the control, the eating just came back into place super naturally.”

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After getting away from the nonstop touring and song-writing life with One Direction, Malik was able to regroup.

“I came back to the U.K. and spent some time with my mum and got some TLC, and she cooked me food and I got back in touch, mentally, with a lot of the things I’d lost,” he says.

Malik also shared in his autobiography that he suffers from anxiety, and says that talking publicly about his eating disorder helped.

“People saw strength in that, and they didn’t seem to expect it from a guy, but they expect it from a female, which to me is crazy,” he tells the Sunday Times. “We’re all human. People are often afraid to admit difficulties, but I don’t believe that there should be a struggle with anything that’s the truth.”