Update: Zayn Malik's girlfriend, model Gigi Hadid, posted a response to his announcement on Twitter, expressing support for his decision and praising him for being open about his struggles. "You made the best of the situation and have given your fans an opportunity to understand you better as a performer," she wrote. "Those who can find compassion now are the ones that deserve to watch you continue to grow."
This article was originally published on June 12 at 1:15 p.m. EDT.
Zayn Malik was scheduled to perform at London's Capital Summertime Ball Saturday evening, but shortly beforehand, he announced that he had to cancel his set due to his struggles with anxiety. "I flew into the U.K. last night to appear in my home country in front of my family, friends, and, most importantly, my U.K. fans," he wrote in a statement posted to Instagram and Twitter. "Unfortunately, my anxiety that has haunted me throughout the last few months around live performances has gotten the better of me...With the magnitude of the event, I have suffered the worst anxiety of my career...I hope those who suffer anxiety will understand, and I hope those who don't can empathize with my situation."
While it may seem surprising that someone who performs for a living could stuffer from stage fright, Malik is one of many celebrities who have admitted to experiencing anxiety around their work. Malik's fans may be disappointed not to see him, but he set a good example for them by prioritizing his health. Nashville star Hayden Panettiere set a similar example last year by taking a break from the show to get treatment for postpartum depression. By risking others' disappointment to address conditions like anxiety and depression, these celebrities send a necessary message: Mental health is just as important as physical health — and more important than meeting everybody's expectations.