ONE Direction say the past fortnight has been "the toughest since the band was formed".
The four remaining members of the chart-topping group, Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles, Liam Payne and Niall Horan, have spoken out about Zayn Malik's departure from the band, admitting they were "gutted" by his decision to leave.
Liam confessed: "It's been a tough few weeks, probably the toughest since the band was formed five years ago. We're gutted that Zayn chose to leave, but now after a few performances as a four piece, we're feeling confident and are determined to carry on stronger than ever."
In their first interview since Zayn left, they reassured fans about their dedication to continuing with the group, and thanked fans for their support.
Louis continued: "All four of us are 100 per cent committed to staying in One Direction and we want to thank the fans for being so incredible during this time. We have so much more we still want to achieve."
The four-piece - who are currently on tour in Asia - added they are now focusing on recording their fifth studio album and completing their 'On The Road Again' string of shows.
Niall told The Sun newspaper: "We're looking forward to seeing all our fans on the tour this year. The fans are amazing. They are so loyal. All we want to do is make them proud and return their faith in us with a brilliant tour and an amazing new album."
Harry added: "It's very exciting to be working on our fifth album, it shows how incredible the fans have been."