He doesn't share the same musical taste with other members of One Direction.
“I stuck it out because the support and all the positive responses we were getting from our fans around the world were incredible, and I respected that it was working for my band mates. To be honest, though, it was a struggle for me -- the fact that we didn’t share the same musical taste. It felt a bit like being forced into a mould I would never fit. I wanted to be in the studio singing lyrics that resonated with me, not just repeating someone else’s lines.”
He battled an eating disorder.
“When I look back at images of myself from around November 2014, I can see how ill I was. I was suffering from an eating disorder. 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. I didn’t have any control over anything else in my life, but food was something I could control, so I did.”
He suffers from anxiety.
"I just got to a point where I knew I couldn’t go on. I was so tired. I felt like I was faking it and I hated that. Logically, it made no sense, leaving the biggest boy band in the world at the height of its success. But after nearly five years of non-stop touring and promotion, I was really struggling to keep going, and what had been a great experience was now a source of intense anxiety. My head said stay but my heart said go home. So, in the end, I went."
His mom influenced his final decision to leave the quintet.
"I was spiralling down into a very unhappy, very unhealthy place. I needed to reconnect with my family and feel some normality again. Finally, it was my mom who gave me the reassurance I needed to go with my decision. She said, "If it doesn't make you happy, just don’t do it.'"
"[Growing up] I was pretty wild. I could never focus, couldn’t get a handle on where my brain wanted to go. I was constantly getting in trouble. Once, when I was at Tong High School, I was collared for a BB gun in class. It wasn't loaded or anything, but me waving it around didn’t go down too well. I was later diagnosed by doctors as having super-hyperactivity -- or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) as they like to label it."
Wild parties and excessive noise got him get evicted -- twice!
"We started out in a futuristic modern house in the Hollywood Hills, but got kicked out after multiple noise complaints. Then we moved to an even bigger house in Malibu where we had a massive BBQ party. That was my first party in LA and we got kicked out of the house when that party got a little rowdy, so we moved again, this time into a studio house in Bel Air that’s owned by a huge record producer, Trevor Horn."
He believes women should run the world.
"The women in my life seem, in their emotional lives, sorted in a way the men [aren’t.] I always say, if you want a genuinely peaceful and intelligent solution to a problem, get a woman to solve it. That’s why I wish there were more women in positions of power across the world."
He wants to go back to school!
"Maybe I could do a course from home -- either in London or LA -- and I reckon graduating would feel just as big a personal achievement as releasing an album or performing on tour."
"Anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of; its affects millions of people every day. I know I have fans out there who been through this kind of thing and I wanted to be honest for their sake. When I was in One Direction my anxiety issues were huge, but within the safety net of the band, they were at least manageable. As a solo performer, I felt much more exposed and the psychological stress of performing got too much. Rather than hiding away, sugar- coating it, I knew I had to put it all out there."
For more on the "Pillowtalk" singer and his battle with an eating disorder, watch the video below.