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.
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."