Pop star Liam Payne has called Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction a "disaster" but praised fans for helping both sides come out of it unscathed.
Zayn quit the group during the Asian leg of their world tour in March (15) in a bid to live a "normal" life, and he has since moved to America to work on solo material and called off his engagement to Little Mix star Perrie Edwards.
Liam previously admitted the remaining bandmembers were surprised and angry when Zayn first told them he was leaving, and he has now thanked fans for turning the boyband's nightmare into a winning situation.
"One Direction was never really Zayn's bag if you know what I mean," Liam tells U.K. TV show Good Morning Britain. "His taste in music was a bit different and I guess that's what drove him to do what he did in the end, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
"Everyone's come out fine from it, thanks to our beautiful fans. And he's off doing what he loves as well, so both parties are winners in the end of a disaster of a situation. It's all good."
Speaking on the split earlier this year (15), Liam told chat show host James Corden, "At first we were a little bit angry, obviously, we were surprised, but I think we all kind of knew the general vibe that Zayn was feeling... There's certain parts of this job that Zayn loved and certain parts of the job that he didn't.
"You've got to follow your heart sometimes and go where you need to go. There's no argument when you do that."
The remaining four members of One Direction have since announced they are taking a break in March (16) following the release of their fifth album Made in the A.M.