Simon Cowell on Zayn Malik's One Direction Exit: I Knew It Was Coming

by Rosalyn Oshmyansky 11:48 AM PDT, April 17, 2015
Photo: CBS

Millions of girls worldwide felt shock and sadness when Zayn Malik left One Direction, but Simon Cowell was not as fazed.

On Thursday's The Late Late Show with James Corden, the former American Idol judge, who is credited for forming One Direction on the British X Factor, shared how he felt when Malik announced he was leaving the band on March 25.

He was "about to jump off a cliff," Cowell joked at first before sharing what actually happened when he heard the news.

"I was in Miami. I kind of knew this was coming if I was being honest with you. We had a few conversations," Cowell admitted. "He wasn't happy and I was trying to say to him, 'Look, I think you should stay around a bit longer.' And then something just in him said 'I had enough,' and then once the decision was made I dealt with it."

WATCH: Zayn Malik Breaks Silence: I Feel Like I Let One Direction Fans Down

Cowell's attention then shifted to the other members of One Direction and how they were dealing with Malik leaving them. "Then obviously [I] made sure the guys were OK because, you know, they were shocked as well," he said.

Bandmate Harry Styles was caught wiping away tears during the band's performance in Indonesia a day later, while Liam Payne tweeted that he was just glad to be in bed after a long 24 hours.

NEWS: Harry Styles Cries Onstage After Zayn Malik Quits One Direction 

And in this tough time, Cowell claims that he respected Malik's decision. "Once someone's made their mind up, they're gonna go. But also at the same time, I don't want to push him too much because, you know, he's 22 and I could see he was a bit stressed and he needed some time off," he explained. "And then for the boys it was interesting 'cause they were in the middle of these live shows at the time. And then I watched the show back and they were, I've got to hand it to them, incredible to kind of work everything out so quickly. And they were amazing."

One Direction will continue to be amazing as Liam Payne tweeted they began writing their fifth album as a foursome this week, and Cowell has a feeling it's going to be "the best."

Check out the time One Direction said they'd never perform solo in the video below.