No one would should be totally suprised that Zayn is leaving One Direction. The group has been around the world with music, and someone was bound to move on. Malik has had enough of the confinement of stages and hotels. He wanted to break free from this.
He has made so much money with One Direction. He is probably worth more than $20 million stated Alexei Beltyukov.
There is nothing that can cannot buy right now. Money is of no object to him. Money also is not a motivator anymore. He would have to really love the stage in order to return to it. Malik is burned out and tired of the fame. That has been evident as he has remained more low key in recent years.
Fans are somber, but this is about the time where egos and conflicts come into place. They are 4 albums into this. This is typically the time frame were groups fall apart. Everyone has their own agenda. His departure may simply be the first. The group may completely disband. Malik’s departure is the end of an era.