Malik, 24, has opened up about his anxiety in the past, and cited it as the reason for canceling a show in June 2016, nearly one year after he left One Direction.
“I now have no problem with anxiety. It was something I was dealing with in the band,” he told the British publication. “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. 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.”
Malik previously said via The Sun that he suffered from a “serious” eating disorder when he was a part of the group, but clarified now that it was more of a “control thing.”
“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,” he explained. “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.”
Malik’s girlfriend, Gigi Hadid, has been supportive through it all.
“I’ve never took her to [my hometown] Bradford, not yet. She’s met my family in London a few times, though,” Malik said of the 21-year-old model, who has been living with him in his Bel Air home for the past year. “I call her Gee, she calls me Zee. There’s some other nicknames too, but I’ll keep those private.”
Malik continues work on his highly anticipated follow-up to Mind of Mine, his first solo album, which housed Billboard Dance No. 1 “Like I Would”.