Simon Cowell opened up about Zayn Malik’s departure from One Direction during a visit to The Late Late Show with James Corden on April 16. Although he revealed he saw it coming, the ex-American Idol judge—who claims credit for forming One Direction on the British X Factor—wasn’t exactly happy with Malik’s decision.
When Corden asked Cowell where he was upon receiving the news, Cowell wincingly replied, “about to jump off a cliff.”
“We’d had a few conversations. He wasn’t happy, and I was trying to say to him, ‘Look, I think you should try to stay around a bit longer,’” Cowell elaborated. “And then something in him said, ‘No, I’ve had enough.’”
Cowell said he respected Malik’s choice, also commenting on the effect it’s had on the rest of the group. “It was interesting, because they were in the middle of these live shows at the time,” he said. “They were—I’ve got to hand it to them—incredible to work everything out so quickly. I have a feeling they’re going to deliver this year the best record they’ve ever made. I’m feeling good.”