Zayn Malik has revealed the real reason why he briefly quit Twitter in August, stating he was called a "terrorist" on the micro-blogging site.
It was first thought the One Direction star may have left the website over claims that he cheated on girlfriend, Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards, but Zayn has now admitted he deactivated his account after his family became distressed over the racially-motivated tweets.
During an interview with Fabulous magazine, Malik explained: "You can say whatever you want about me, but when it starts to upset people I care about then that's a problem.
"[They said] nasty things like I'm a terrorist. How can you justify that? How can you call me that and get away with it?"
He then revealed how he was targeted by online bullies after his cousin uploaded a family snap from a Muslim festival, stating they "gave it to [him] double barrel", adding: "We live in 2012 and I thought we'd moved forward.
"If that was said to me on the street or someone said it to my face or whatever, then something could be done about it."
Zayn later returned to Twitter after not wanting to let his fans down, with bandmate Liam Payne now stating that after his online abuse, he fears for Malik the most out of 1D.
Liam told The Sun: "The only person I really worry about is Zayn, because I don’t think he’s quite accustomed to all of this. He’s had a terrible time on Twitter.
“I don’t think he’s quite adjusted to it yet, I’m sure he’ll get it. He’s my best mate. I’ve got to look out for him."
Payne added: "It’s mad to think I didn’t know them two years ago and now they’re my best mates.”