Born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England in 1993, the now 27-year-old came through the X Factor circuit like his future bandmates: eager to succeed and ready to show off his pipes. Though he didn’t make it past the boys’ trials, he was unexpectedly made part of a five-piece group consisting of Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles, Niall Horan and Liam Payne. The lads went on to compete in the competition after being given the monumental second chance — and they went on to snag the coveted third place honor during the finals of the reality competition.
Subsequently, the pop group became superstars in the U.K. and then the world — and we’re pretty glad they did, or else Zayn’s incredible transformation would have never been able to be appreciated by the likes of us mere mortals.
Unfortunately for 1D OT5 stans, Zayn left One Direction in March 2015 after over four years with the group that made him a household name. Citing stress as the reason for his departure, the singer laid low for the rest of the year and stayed out of the public eye.
His first solo single, “PILLOWTALK,” was released in January 2016, less than a year after his split from the band. He went on to release several solo albums, including 2016’s Mind of Mine and 2018’s Icarus Falls.
After going solo, he experimented a lot with style, which may have been influenced by his past relationship with supermodel Gigi Hadid. The couple started dating in 2016 and had their fair share of ups and downs over the years. After splitting in January 2019, they reconciled the following January — and in April 2020, Life & Style confirmed the pair were expecting their first child.
By September 2020, the dad announced the birth of their daughter, Khai Hadid Malik. “Our baby girl is here, healthy [and] beautiful,” Zayn wrote on Twitter and Instagram. “To try put into words how I am feeling right now would be an impossible task. The love I feel for this tiny human is beyond my understanding. Grateful to know her, proud to call her mine [and] thankful for the life we will have together.”
One year after Khai’s birth, Zayn and Gigi experienced some issues in their relationship, splitting up for good in late October 2021 when Gigi’s mom, Yolanda Hadid, claimed he had “struck” her. Although the singer initially denied doing so, he later pleaded no contest to four counts of summary harassment. The Brit was sentenced to 90 days of probation per count (a total of 360 days) in addition to having to take anger management classes and paying court fines in addition to other penalties, according to documents obtained by In Touch.
After that, a source exclusively told In Touch he and Gigi had “quietly separated.”
“They’d been having problems for a while and tried to figure them out, but it just wasn’t working,” the insider said that month.
Scroll through the gallery to see Zayn Malik’s transformation over the years!