Niall Horan believes Zayn Malik's shocking departure from One Direction has brought the band "closer together."
The 'Little Things' hitmakers were left distraught when the 23-year-old heartthrob left the group earlier this year in order to live a "normal life" but the Irish singer is convinced his former bandmate's abrupt exit has worked well for them.
Speaking on Ireland's 2FM, he said: "He made that decision and he's happy now, we're happy and everything's worked out. It's actually brought us, the rest of us, closer together."
Niall, 22, has admitted he and his fellow bandmates Harry Styles, 21, Louis Tomlinson, 23, and Liam Payne, 22, had an inkling that Zayn was planning to leave them because he was growing more unhappy with each passing day.
He explained: "Towards the end you could see he wasn't enjoying it as much, his heart wasn't in it as much. There was never any arguments or disagreements, or anything like that, I think he just fell out of love with it in the end."
He added: "He had a couple of conversations where he had to make a few decisions I guess... if your heart's not in it you shouldn't really do it."
The popular boy band are now planning to take an extended hiatus early next year in order to spend time with their families and focus on their solo projects for the time being.
Niall said: "[A break] was a good call for us at the time, we've been hammering it out there for five years, five albums, five tours.
"We're at a good age where we can just stop for a minute, take a little break and come back to it in say a year's time."