There are hundreds, thousands, and probably millions of you who have been fans of Zayn ever since he walked onto that X Factor stage and rocked the world with One Direction.
If you’re a die-hard zquad member, you probably know every nitty gritty detail about him. There are a few however, who we can bet are only just beginning to take a liking to Zayn Malik since he became a solo artist.
If you’ve only recently joined the ‘zquad’, and want to learn more about the popular star, here are 30 Zayn Malik facts that you might want to delve into…
1. Zayn’s Name Isn’t Spelled With a “Y”
You’ll never guess what! Zayn’s name isn’t spelled with a “Y”, it’s actually spelt with an “I”. “Zain Malik” is the name you’ll probably find on the singer’s birth certificate! Apparently, the Pillowtalk singer wanted a more original stage name and so he decided to swap the letters around…
2. He’s Dated Many Famous Girls
Zayn’s history of famous ex-girlfriends comes as no surprise, considering his good looks! In 2011, he dated his fellow X Factor star, Rebecca Ferguson, and he later got engaged to Little Mix star, Perrie Edwards. They were a couple for two years, but Zayn broke up with her soon after he quit One Direction.
He later dated major model, Gigi Hadid, and boy, did they make a gorgeous couple, but they later split after more than six years of dating.
3. He Has a Daughter
If you’re only just entering the zquad, you probably didn’t know that Zayn had a daughter. Indeed, he has a baby girl with Gigi Hadid named Khai (born in 2020). In fact, Zayn has sang about his baby girl in several of tracks:
“Me, I’m feeling grown since I had my daughter/ Now I had to change my goals / And become a father / I learned this is on my own / This is the life I chose.” [Believe Me]
Although Zayn and Gigi split for good, the pair now co-parent their daughter.
4. “Malik” Has a Special Meaning
Ever wondered what “Malik” means? In Arabic, it means “king” or “chieftain”. Now, that’s a title that couldn’t have been more fitting for Zayn…
5. Zayn Wanted to be an English Teacher
What if Zayn hadn’t auditioned for The X Factor? Or what if he didn’t take the musical path? Believe it or not, he would have been an English teacher. Yes, that’s right!
He once admitted that if he wasn’t in One Direction, he’d have liked to have been an English teacher [via Marie Claire]:
“I think about (what I’d do away from music) quite a lot. I think about alternative realities. I think I’d be at university and I would have done my English degree. I think I’d be looking for some employment to do with English lecturing or literature.
“I love poetry and writing – obviously, I’m a songwriter – so, it would’ve been something that would still give me the feeling of a creative outlet within my writing.”
6. Zayn is Half Pakistani, Half English
Wondering where Zayn got those brown eyes and his olive skin from? The Nobody is Listening star was born to his British Pakistani father, Yaser, and English mother, Tricia Malik.
7. His First Big Purchase Was His Home
Coming from a regular background, Zayn wasn’t into a lavish lifestyle. Even though he found himself with fame and money after participating in The X Factor, he wasn’t one to splash his cash. Zayn’s first big purchase was a sensible one – his house in Los Angeles.
8. Zayn’s Ideal Date is Quite Simple
Zayn’s ideal date night isn’t what you’d imagine for a popstar. Instead of fancy restaurants, he prefers a simple meal or a movie. He also looks forward to being at home where he and his date can chill out with drinks.
9. Zayn Left One Direction to be ‘Normal’
As fame began taking a toll on Zayn, he decided to quit One Direction in 2015 amidst their world tour.
Releasing a statement, Zayn said, “I’d like to apologize to the fans if I’ve let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart. I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight. I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry, and Niall. I know they will continue to be the best band in the world.”
Besides wanting to live a life outside of the spotlight, Zayn went on to release solo music. He also didn’t have his bandmates as “friends for life,” as he began feuding with the likes of Harry and Liam (more on that later).
10. Zayn Never Traveled Before One Direction
Being a member of One Direction brought more than money, fun and fame for Zayn. It also brought new experiences like getting on a plane! Apparently, he’d never owned a passport or even boarded a plane before he joined the group! Oh em gee!
11. Zayn Suffers From Aquaphobia
He can sing, he can dance, and he can get your heart racing. Zayn’s a man of many talents, but one thing he can’t do is swim. In fact, the ex-One Directioner is scared of open water (also known as ‘aquaphobia’). And you’ll never guess what his favorite animal is – a hammerhead shark! Isn’t that ironic?
12. Zayn Has Many, Many Tattoos
Zayn might be afraid of water, but he’s certainly not afraid of a tattoo gun! The artist has over 25 tattoos inked on his body, including a Zap logo, a lotus flower, and a gun.
When Zayn was on The X Factor, his grandfather passed away. As a tribute, the singer tattooed his granddad’s name on his chest in Arabic. He’s even got an embarrassing tattoo of his ex-fiancé, Perrie Edwards, on his arm, which he later removed.
13. Zayn Treats His Loved Ones
Zayn doesn’t keep all his fortune to himself, he spends it on his loved ones. The Mind of Mine popstar has actually bought his mom and sisters a new house! In 2015, he even spent over $100k to fly his mom, Trisha, and his sisters Doniya, Waliyha, and Safaa for an epic Los Angeles vacation!
14. Zayn Originally Applied for ‘The X Factor’ in 2009
Did you know that Zayn originally applied for The X Factor in 2009? He avoided auditioning due to nerves, and in the end, he auditioned in 2010. Apparently, he only applied for the “experience.”
From being in the biggest boyband in the world to becoming a solo artist with a number one record, The X Factor sure gave Zayn a lot of experience!
15. Zayn Admitted He Hated One Direction’s Music
When Zayn quit One Direction, millions of hearts were broken worldwide. He revealed a few shocking truths in an interview with Rolling Stone, including the fact that he basically hated 1D’s music. “As much as I was in that band, and I loved everything that we did, that’s not music that I would listen to. I want to make music that I think is cool sh*t. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.”
Zayn also claimed that he wanted to quit the band from the very start. Yeah, we can hear the very sound of a few Directioners’ hearts breaking right now…
16. He Suffered From Anxiety and An Eating Disorder
During his time in One Direction, Zayn’s mental health ended up spiraling, which resulted in him suffering from anxiety and an eating disorder.
Discussing “how ill” he was in his book, Zayn revealed that he felt like he had lost control of every aspect of his life and the only thing that he could control was his eating habits. Due to all of the stress, he didn’t end up eating very much at all.
“I’d just go for days – sometimes two or three days straight – without eating anything at all,” he wrote. “I had lost so much weight I had become ill,” the singer added.
Besides his struggle with food, Zayn also developed crippling anxiety and would often get panic attacks before going on stage.
17. He Has a Favorite Member of One Direction
Even though Zayn turned his back on the band before they split, he still supports and roots for his band members – especially one in particular. His One Direction bestie is none other than Niall Horan. In an interview with SiriusXM, Zayn went as far as saying that Niall makes better music than him, too:
“I’ll tell you what, Niall is my favourite. How about that? There you go. Niall makes the best music, there you go. Yeah I will say that he makes better music than me. Yeah, I’m a Niall fan.”
18. Zayn Brushes His Teeth Before Performing
If you really want to know the ins and outs of this heartthrob’s life, check out this fun fact about Zayn – he has a strange pre-gig superstition!
Zayn once revealed that he always brushes his teeth before performing on stage. He even admitted to The Hits Radio that this habit “is a little bit weird.” Well, at least we know that he keeps clean! And hey, I guess clean teeth contributes to his amazing smile!
19. Zayn is a Neat Freak
Talking of cleanliness, Zayn has more cleaning habits! Apparently, he’s a real neat freak and likes everything to be clean and tidy. He has often described his former 1D bandmates as “pigs”. Oop!
20. Zayn’s Relationship with Harry Styles is Over
After leaving the band, it was obvious that Zayn and Harry never actually saw eye-to-eye. Zayn revealed that he didn’t have much interaction with Harry; even when they were recording music together:
“To be honest, I never really spoke to Harry even when I was in the band,” Malik told Us Weekly. “So I didn’t really expect that much of a relationship with him when I left. And I haven’t [had one], to be honest.”
And while Harry didn’t initially comment on the situation, years later, he showed his true feelings whilst making a joke on Saturday Night Live:
“I love those guys. They’re my brothers….Niall, Liam, Louis…”
Harry then took a moment to pretend he’d forgotten Malik’s name. Instead of Zayn, Styles then said “Ringo”, the drummer for The Beatles.
21. Zayn and Gigi’s Relationship Turned Toxic
When Gigi and Zayn started dating in 2015, they literally broke the internet. The power couple stole the show on red carpets and were everyone’s favorite famous duo at the time.
Despite an on-again, off-again relationship, the pair welcomed their daughter Kai into the world in 2020. But in 2021, the fairytale came crashing down when Zayn reportedly struck Gigi’s mum, Yolanda.
While Zayn has refused to comment on the matter, he released a public statement asking for privacy during this time to protect his daughter.
Since then, Gigi and Zayn have co-parented their daughter and Gigi even praised Zayn on his parenting.
22. Liam Payne Has Beef With Zayn
Another 1D member that has been quick to slate Zayn is Liam Payne. Within a one-hour podcast with YouTuber Logan Paul, Liam shockingly claimed that he “disliked” Zayn.
Implying that the Pillowtalk singer didn’t have supportive parents, and referring to the apparent feud between Zayn and his ex-mother-in-law, Liam stated:
“There’s many reasons why I dislike Zayn and there’s many reasons why I’ll always, always be on his side. If I had had to go through what he went through — with his growth and whatever else… My parents are overly supportive to the point where it’s annoying at times. Zayn had a different upbringing in that sense.
“Listen, I don’t agree with any of his actions. I can’t commend some of the things that he’s done. I can’t be on his side for that. What I can say is I understand and your only hope is that at some point in their life, the person at the other end of the phone wants to receive the help that you’re willing to give them.”
Regardless of whether it’s true or not, Zayn’s fans weren’t impressed by the shade that he was getting from his ex-bandmate.
23. Zayn is an Overprotective Brother
Here’s a sweet Zayn Malik fact! He’s definitely your typical big brother! He has three sisters, Doniya, Waliyha and Safaa, and as expected, is very overprotective over them. Doniya, in particular, revealed to Hello magazine that her brother “bosses me around, he acts like a big protective brother which is quite nice at times.”
24. He Caught a Fan Hiding in a Bin
Fans go to extreme lengths to meet their idols! Believe it or not, Zayn once spotted a fan hiding from security in a bin. This particular fan made their way across a lake to the band’s location and hid for four hours. Talk about stalker alert!
25. Zayn Looks at Eyes First
Zayn says that the most attractive thing about a woman is her eyes. He once revealed that while he’s not attracted to a specific color, he can tell a lot by a woman’s eyes.
Considering both Perrie and Gigi’s eyes were blue, we have a feeling Zayn does kinda have taste in one particular eye color…
26. Zayn Has a Passion for Gardening
Who would have thought that Zayn Malik was a green-fingered guru? In his free time, the popstar enjoys planting and growing fresh vegetables on his farm. He revealed that his current array includes cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, lemons, and apples.
27. He Enjoys Conspiracy Theories
While you might not initially think it, Zayn is actually an avid reader and is big on conspiracy theories. He spends his free time deep in research “about aliens and space,” he told The Fader.
28. He’s a Big Fan of Taylor Swift
Even though Zayn hasn’t given many props to his fellow artists, he highly rates Taylor Swift. During an interview in 2017, he said:
“I rate her as an artist, I think she’s cool, I think she’s successful, and I think she deserves her success because she’s worked hard. That’s just how I look at it. I did a song with her, it was fun, and she was professional. She gets on with my girlfriend, they’re good friends. I don’t have a bad word to say about her. She’s cool.”
29. Zayn Was Chased by a Power Ranger (Kinda)
Zayn said the most bizarre dream he’s ever had was when he was around eight years old. The singer dreamt that he was being chased by a power ranger. Now that’s what you call a vivid imagination!
30. He’s a Real Mommy’s Boy
As revealed in an interview with Glamour, Zayn’s mom is the first person he calls or texts in the morning – no matter where he is in the world. How sweet!
Read all 30 facts about Zayn? Great! Truly consider yourself a member of his Zquad!
This article was originally published in March 2016.
There are sections of this article that were written by Angela Stephanou.
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