For the first time, Simon Cowell has spoken out about Zayn Malik leaving One Direction.
And, no, unlike some, the music icon did not compare Malik to a terrorist.
At an event celebrating the ninth season of Britain’s Got Talent, however, Cowell did say Zayn is a “fantastic singer," adding of the young star:
"He's got to get his head together a little bit. He needs some time on his own, as he said, to be a normal 22-year-old, which he's gonna have."
It's true: in his stunning statement that announced his departure from the group, Malik said he needed a break from the spotlight.
He noted that he needed time to just be "normal" for a change, which many fans might understand... if rumors didn't immediately crop up about Malik starting a solo career.
"I can't give anything away" about that, Cowell said when asked on the same red carpet about Zayn's future plans.
The remaining four One Direction members recently gave their first interview, telling The Sun that they were "gutted" that Malik "chose to leave," but emphasizing that they're also "determined" to keep cranking out new music.
And Cowell was quick to assure fans that would be the case.
"We've always hoped that One Direction would stay together for a long time and my hunch is it still will," he told Sugarscape. "They're just too good for everything to stop now."