Sometimes Mom really does know best — just ask Zayn Malik. The former One Direction star credits time home with his parents, and more specifically, his mom’s cooking, with helping him overcome his eating disorder and debilitating anxiety. After splitting from the boy band, 24-year-old Malik launched his solo career, only to find himself unable to perform live because of his troubles. He took a break from the limelight and spent some quality time back at home, which seems to have done the trick.
“It was a control thing,” he explained to The Sunday Times Style Magazine. “Every area of my life was so regimented and controlled, it was the one area where I could say, ‘No, I’m not eating that.’ Once I got over the control, the eating just came back into place, super-naturally. I came back to the U.K. and spent some time with my mum and got some TLC, and she cooked me food, and I got back in touch, mentally, with a lot of the things I’d lost.” He added, “I now have no problem with anxiety. It was something I was dealing with in the band.”
After revealing his struggle in his autobiography, he said he was surprised by the response. “People saw strength in that, and they didn’t seem to expect it from a guy, but they expect it from a female, which to me is crazy. We’re all human. People are often afraid to admit difficulties, but I don’t believe that there should be a struggle with anything that’s the truth.” He went on to compare how society treats men’s feelings now versus how they were treated in the past. “If you were a guy, you used to have to be really masculine, but now expressing emotion is accepted and respected.”
And while his parents obviously played a key role in his recovery, his girlfriend, 21-year-old supermodel Gigi Hadid, has been by his side to support him as well. Though Gigi hasn’t been to Malik’s hometown yet, she has met his folks. “I’ve never taken her to Bradford, not yet. She’s met my family in London a few times, though,” he reported. Indeed, his Instagram feed is peppered with adorable pics of the pair looking very happy and very much in love.
Despite his own struggles, Zayn has made an effort to give Gigi the love and attention he feels she deserves, and he admitted he tried (though seemingly failed) to surprise her in Paris over Fashion Week earlier this year. “She didn’t know I was coming. I went up to the suite to knock on the door,” he explained. “But my number had changed to European on her phone, so it wasn’t much of a surprise in the end. She played along with it, though.” A for effort, Zayn!
He also revealed that Gigi has been living with him in his Bel-Air home for the past few months and that he calls her “Gee” while she calls him “Zee.” He added, “There’s some other nicknames too, but I’ll keep those private.” Gigi probably appreciates that decision.
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