“I like to use the term ‘misunderstood.’ But I am a bit of a bad boy. I have tattoos and I mess around. That’s part of my image, so it’s cool.”
— Zayn Malik
Zayn Malik was born on January 12, 1993, in Bradford, England, to a family of English-Pakistani descent. He had an early love for singing and performing, and at the age of 17 he competed in the television competition The X Factor. He was teamed up with four other male contestants to form the group act One Direction, who went on to become one of the most popular boy bands in music history.
Childhood and School Years
Zayn Malik was born Zain Javaad Malik on January 12, 1993, in Bradford, a town located in the county of West Yorkshire in Northern England. He is of English and Pakistani descent. His father, Yaser Malik, is English-Pakistani and his mother, Patricia (known as Tricia), is English. He has one older sister, Doniya, and two younger sisters, Waliyha and Safaa. The Malik family belongs to the Muslim faith.
Malik grew up in East Bowling, located south of the Bradford city center. He attended Lower Fields Primary School and Tong High School in Bradford. As a teenager he took performing arts courses and appeared in school productions.
‘The X Factor’
In 2010, 17-year-old Malik auditioned in Manchester for the seventh series of reality-television competition The X Factor. He sang “Let Me Love You” by rhythm-and-blues vocalist Mario as his audition song and was accepted into the next round. He was eliminated before the final round of the competition, but judges Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell grouped him with fellow competitors Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson to form a new act for the remainder of the show.
Performing as One Direction, this group became one of the most popular finalists in their season of The X Factor. They finished the competition in third place and they were immediately signed to Cowell’s Syco music label.
One Direction topped the pop music charts with their first single, “What Makes You Beautiful,” when it was released in September 2011 in the United Kingdom. Their debut album, Up All Night, was a best-seller in both the United Kingdom and the United States in 2012. Malik has toured extensively with One Direction, meeting the band’s young female fans around the world.
On 25 March 2015, Malik departed the group, citing his desire to live as a “normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight”.
Dating and Romance
Malik is known as the “bad boy” of One Direction, due to his mischievous behavior, his many tattoos and his dyed, pompadour-like hairstyle. Since he first entered the spotlight, he has dated Geneva Lane, Rebecca Ferguson and Perrie Edwards, all former X-Factor contestants.
In August 2013, Malik got engaged to Perrie Edwards, a singer with the group Little Mix. The pair had been dating for two years prior to their engagement.