“When I look back at images of myself I can see how ill I was”: Zayn Malik opens up about past eating disorder

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Harriet Hall
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Zayn Malik, has revealed he developed a ‘serious’ eating disorder during his five-year tenure in One Direction.

Opening up about the condition in his autobiography, Zayn, the 23-year old admits to making himself seriously ill in order to ‘gain control’.

In the excerpts, published by The Sun, the Pillowtalk singer explains how he made himself ill by – on occasion – not eating for three days.

“When I look back at images of myself from around November 2014, I can see how ill I was. 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,” he writes.

“'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 recognise it for what it was.”

Malik explained that that his condition was as a result of the strain of the job, and a way in which he believed he was regaining control over his life. The singer shot to fame following the X Factor in 2010, and describes how the experience led to a loss of agency over his own life:

“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 says.

“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 left One Direction in March 2015, citing stress as a reason, and has since gone on to a successful solo career. But in the passages the singer also says that he is planning on performing at smaller venues until he’s got control of his anxiety – which has led him to cancel several recent gigs.

But he’s not going to be beaten, saying: “This anxiety isn't going to get the better of me.”

Zayn is out today via Penguin Random House.