Louis Walsh on Zayn Malik’s departure: ‘I’ve heard the rumors for the last few weeks that everyone wasn’t happy in paradise’

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Malik, 22, gave an explanation to his fans in a statement on Wednesday, saying he decided to leave the band because he wants to be “a normal 22-year-old” who can relax and “have some private time out of the spotlight.”

X Factor judge Louis Walsh has given his opinion on this matter in a new interview with Ireland’s RTE Radio One.

“What I found in the past is as things get on, and as they get girlfriends, the girlfriends are whispering things in their ears and saying like, ‘You should be a solo star,’ ‘You should be the lead singer.’ That’s usually the problem,” Walsh, 62, says.

Walsh gave his explanation for Malik’s quitting One Direction.

“I’ve heard the rumors for the last few weeks that everyone wasn’t happy in paradise,” the music manager explained (via E! News). “The problem with these guys is they’ve been in a bubble for the last five years, pressure, working, a lot harder than people think, so something had to give. So Zayn was the first person just to crack up a little bit.”

Walsh adds, “He’s made a lot of money. He’s seen the world. He’s had an amazing time with the other guys. That’s the good side of it. The dark side of it is all the traveling, the airports, in a bubble, not really seeing real life…They burn out basically. The thing with One Direction is they were massive worldwide. They were going from continent to continent, right across America. Hotels…he probably didn’t see light of day, he was just working, working, working.”

One Direction was formed after participating in the X Factor UK in 2010, where they came in 3rd place in the final.