Celebs: Perrie Edwards & Gigi Hadid and others
The ex factor. Zayn Malik has had his share of high-profile relationships, sparking romances with fellow stars including Little Mix’s Perrie Edwards and model Gigi Hadid.
The U.K. native got his start in the music business as a contestant on The X Factor UK, where judges Simon Cowell and Nicole Scherzinger grouped him with four of his competitors — Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne — to form One Direction. During Malik’s time on the reality series in 2010, he met and briefly dated fellow contestant Geneva Lane. The “Pillowtalk” singer went on to date Rebecca Ferguson — another X Factor alum — for four months in 2011. Ferguson later called the romance her “first mistake” during a November 2013 interview with the Independent.
“I was 23, he was 18. Of course, if it was a 23-year-old guy dating an 18-year-old girl, no one would have batted an eyelid, but this way around was a big deal, apparently,” she told the outlet. “I didn’t realize that. I was just a hippy, free-loving person, but that’s not a good thing to be in this industry. You can’t just follow your heart.”
The same year he split from Ferguson, Malik started dating Edwards. The pair met in December 2011 when One Direction returned to perform on the show that launched their success, where Edwards was competing as part of girl group Little Mix at the time. The musicians got engaged in August 2013 before calling it quits two years later. The “Shout Out to My Ex” songstress claimed that Malik broke up with her via text message.
“It was horrible, the worst time in my life,” she wrote in a passage from Little Mix’s book, Our World, which was released in October 2016. “A four-year relationship, two-year engagement ended by a simple text message. Just like that. Even though things in my career were going really well, it was incredibly difficult for me.”
Malik, for his part, denied that he dumped Edwards via text during a November 2015 interview with The Fader magazine.
“I have more respect for Perrie than to end anything over text message,” he told the publication at the time. “I love her a lot, and I always will, and I would never end our relationship [of] over four years like that.”
The Mind of Mine artist moved on with Hadid in late 2015. After packing on the PDA in the January 2016 “Pillowtalk” music video, the duo made their red carpet debut at the Met Gala that May. They split the following month before reconciling just five days later.
Malik and the Next in Fashion cohost continued to break up and make up several times over the course of their romance, calling it quits for good in October 2021. In September 2020 — during one of their “on again” periods — the twosome welcomed their daughter, Khai.
“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, & thankful for the life we will have together x,” Malik wrote via Twitter at the time.
Although things didn’t work out between the former boy band member and Hadid, the exes have maintained an amicable relationship for the sake of their daughter.
“You have a long life alongside this person,” Hadid told London’s Sunday Times in March 2023 of coparenting. “That [Khai] can be with both parents makes me very happy.”
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