Former Westlife band member Brian McFadden has given Zayn Malik a word of warning about fame, suggesting that the singer "ignore all the showbiz nonsense."
The 36-year-old, who quit Westlife 12 years ago in a move similar to Zayn, who left One Direction in March 2015, has spoken out about why he left the band and the negative side of fame.
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Brian offered advice to the 23-year-old pop star
Speaking to Sunday People, he said: "I know exactly what Zayn is going through, because I had similar problems. But it's only now, more than a decade later, that I can really understand what happened.
"We had it all – money, fame, beautiful women, amazing cars – but in the end it just wasn't making me happy. At the end I found I was taking myself away from everyone. One day I just jumped on a plane to Australia without telling the others because I couldn’t stand any more. I just told the tour manager, who was shocked and insisted we had promotional stuff to do, but I just couldn't face it."
Speaking from experience, Brian suggested that Zayn seeks support from outside the showbiz industry, saying: "I have never believed in therapists as such, but I managed to make one or two very good friends outside the industry and talked about all my problems.
Zayn recently cancelled a gig due to trouble with anxiety
"One worked in the oil business – we were in such different worlds that it really worked. They're the people who helped me turn everything around. That's probably what Zayn needs – ignore all the showbiz nonsense and find people who he can really trust."
Although the Pillow Talk singer's debut solo album was a smash hit success, the 23-year-old struggles from anxiety, and was forced to pull out of the Capital Summertime Ball, explaining to fans: "Unfortunately my anxiety that has haunted me throughout the last few months around live performances has gotten the better of me … with the magnitude of the event, I have suffered the worst anxiety of my career."