The Pillowtalk singer admitted he is “still taking it all in” as his life has changed so much in the past year, and revealed insecurities about leaving the band that made him famous.
Speaking of his decision to quit 1D, he told Elle UK: “At that time in my life I felt I had done everything I could do there and I just needed to change it up.
“It didn’t feel brave. I just don’t have it in me to feel fully secure in anything I do.
“I always strive towards something better. It’s why I think sometimes I come across the wrong way, a bit distant.
“I’m just stressed out trying to control how I’m perceived. I think about things a lot.”
Malik said his first solo album, Mind Of Mine, was the result of “a build-up of six years and never being able to express what I wanted to say. I had something to get off my chest”.
Leaving One Direction allowed him to discover more about himself, he said, “mostly how in love with music I still was”.
He cast Hadid in his debut music video and soon began a relationship with her, the success of which he puts down to a matching intellect.
He explained: “She’s super intelligent, I think that’s why it works so well.”
The couple have been in the spotlight since they were first photographed together in November last year, and they regularly post pictures of themselves together on Instagram.
But Malik made it clear he would love to remove social media from their lives.
He said: “If I had a choice I would take the camera off everyone’s iPhone and make sure we didn’t have Twitter or Facebook.
“It affects art form. There’s something to be said about living in the moment. I try to keep my phone for calls.”
Malik also revealed he would love to try acting if the right role came along.
:: Read the full interview in Elle UK, on sale on August 3.