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Olly Murs reflects on pal Zayn Malik's anxiety battle

Olly Murs voiced support for Zayn Malik and his struggles with anxiety.

Former One Direction heartthrob Zayn pulled out of the Capital FM Summertime Ball in London in June (16) because he felt uneasy about performing live as a solo artist, and then axed a gig in Dubai in October (16) after revealing he has been trying to combat the condition but doesn't feel performance ready yet.


“I have been working over the last three months to overcome my extreme anxiety around major live solo performances,” he said. “I feel I am making progress but I have today acknowledged that I do not feel sufficiently confident to move forward with the planned show in Dubai in October.”


Now You Don't Know Love singer Olly has revealed he understands where Zayn is coming from, adding: "It is definitely one of my worst fears and my heart goes out to Zayn."


Olly is a good friend of Zayn's, after he and the former One Direction star were both on The X Factor in consecutive years. While Olly says Zayn's anxiety was present during his time in the boy band, it was when the singer went solo earlier this year (16) that it really came to a head.


"I feel for him, because he did seven or eight worldwide tours and he always had friends around him," Olly added to BBC News. "Now, he has that daunting anxiety (of) having to come out on stage without those other guys around. He's got to start at theaters or smaller shows where he can build that confidence again.


"Once Zayn gets out there and starts performing, he'll be great. It's just that initial thing of getting over the line. But fingers crossed he does get to perform that album at some point."


Olly is no stranger to the pressures of being a celebrity, and has millions of fans throughout the world. But when it comes to coping with fame, few are bigger than Justin Bieber - who recently announced he had made the decision to cancel fan meet and greets.


And while the decision caused controversy with fans, Olly said he doesn't blame Justin for making that call.


"You have to put your heart out to those guys for coming out and being honest," he added. "You've got to remember they're young and the pressure is massive.


"People have paid for their tickets and they want you to entertain them. It can take its weight on you."