Former One Direction star Zayn Malik has said he speaks about his crippling anxiety to prove it can affect anyone and is not a weakness.
Despite being a supermodel-dating millionaire, the 23-year-old from Bradford has had to cancel a raft of performances because of low self-confidence.
Malik, who found fame on The X Factor in 2010 aged 17, said: “Anxiety is something people don’t necessarily want to advertise because it’s seen, in a way, like a weakness.
“I speak about it so that people understand that it doesn’t matter what level of success you have, where you’re from, who you are, what sex you are, what you do - you can still experience these things.
“For me to pretend that I didn’t have anxiety would be fake.”
Malik has launched a solo career since quitting the chart-topping boy band last year, scoring a number one with debut track Pillowtalk.
In June he pulled out of the Capital Summertime Ball in London, and in October he called off his appearance at Autism Rocks in Dubai.
He told ES Magazine: “I want people to see the good side to me and, yeah, the emotional stress of maybe not fulfilling that is a lot sometimes.”
Malik also opened up about his romance with American supermodel Gigi Hadid in the interview, revealing although they “haven’t officially swapped keys” yet, they “live together wherever we are”.
He added: “She’s a very intelligent woman. She knows how to carry herself. She’s quite classy and that.
“She’s not, like, arrogant in any way, she’s confident. She carries it well. She’s cool.”
Malik also said he wished he’d waited a few more years before agreeing a record deal in order to enjoy a normal life.
Quizzed about whether he would have signed, knowing what he does now, the singer told the magazine: “I probably wouldn’t have - I would’ve waited a couple more extra years.
“Just so I had that time to just get my head around being a famous person. I’ve never been able to have, what’s the word? Anonymity.
“If I could go back, I’d have a few more years of anonymity.”
The Like I Would singer added he was “very ignorant at 17 - blind beyond my years”.
“I thought going on X Factor meant you won a million pounds and got a contract at the end of it,” he said.
“And I was like, ‘Shit. All my problems are solved. I win a million pounds and that’s it. Simple.’
“But you don’t think about everything else that goes with it. You’re only 17, your dreams are immature. You see what you want.”
Asked about what he would do differently he added: “I would say, ‘Do your research and be a bit more prepared about certain situations before you make a decision’.”
The full interview appears in this week’s issue of ES Magazine.