By Mahlia Lone

Young, rich, famous, good looking, and in love…life is good 

Bradford bad boy/boy bander, Zayn Malik has countless nubile young female fans the world over, but his number one fan would have to be his girlfriend, supermodel and Victoria Secret Angel, Gigi Hadid. In December, he even proposed to her, and while she has asked him for time before she even begins contemplating settling down, let’s look back at their fast paced year long romance.

Zain Javad Malik was born on 12th January 1993 in Bradford, Yorkshire, to working class Pakistani-British Yaser Malik and his English/Irish wife Tricia, who converted to Islam upon their marriage. The couple also has three daughters: Doniya, Waliyha and Safaa. All four have declared themselves Muslim, speak Urdu and can read Arabic.

Despite the band’s massive popularity, Zayn became the target of anti-Muslim slurs, forcing him to delete his Twitter account in 2012. During the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, he posted “#FreePalestine” on Twitter, for which he received condemnation and death threats. Now he wisely keeps his political views private

Zain grew up listening to his father’s urban music collection of R&B, hip hop and reggae, as well as Bollywood songs. As a teenager, he took performing arts courses and appeared in school productions. He also boxed at varsity level and enjoyed writing, which is why he wanted to pursue an English degree at university.

In 2010, he changed the spelling of his name to the more contemporary sounding Zayn and auditioned as a solo artist for the British television music competition The X Factor. Though he was eliminated as a solo singer, he came back as part of the boy band One Direction with Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson. Zayn’s wide tenor vocal range with his belting and falsetto singing techniques ensured that he hit the high notes and, thus, became the band’s strongest singer. The pretty boy group quickly became popular all over the UK and finished in third place. Seeing this, the show’s executive producer Simon Cowell contracted them to a £2 million deal at his label Syco Records. While in North America, the band signed on with Columbia Records.

One Direction gained immense popularity amongst female tweens. Their book, One Direction: Forever Young (Our Official X Factor Story), licensed by the band, released in February 2011, topped The Sunday Times’ Best Seller list. Simultaneously, the boy band went on The X Factor Live Tour in the UK performing for 500,000 people in total. At the end of the year, they dropped their debut studio album Up All Night, which topped the charts in 16 countries. The lead single What Makes You Beautiful reached number one in the UK and number four in the US; it went platinum four and six times in the US and Australia, respectively. After a year, they released their second studio album Take Me Home, which sold 540,000 copies in its first week in the US and went on to the number one position in 35 countries. The album’s lead single Live While We’re Young became One Direction’s highest ranking song in many countries and recorded the highest one-week opening sales figure for a song by a non-US artist at the time. When One Direction’s third studio album, 2013’s Midnight Memories’ debuted on Billboard 200 they became the first band ever to have their first three albums all debut atop the Billboard 200. With their fourth album, aptly entitled Four, they had a record of four consecutive number one albums. By March 2015, the band had sold more than 50 million records globally.

Despite this tremendous global success, after five years of being a part of the band that made him famous, Zayn quit on 25th March 2015, citing stress. He was feeling burnt out and perpetually exposed. He said he wanted to live as a “normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.” He denied rumors of any trouble with the other members, explaining that they were understanding and supportive of his decision.

In December ’16, Zayn reportedly popped the question, but Gigi replied that she is not ready to settle down and asked for more time. She’s also hesitant and wants to proceed with caution after her mother’s two messy divorces

“He was one of the more accomplished vocalists of the group, exhibiting the widest range. He mostly inhabited a silvery, full-bodied tenor, similar to but more sharp and precise than Harry Styles’ smoky warble,” wrote Brad Nelson in The Guardian, adding that his departure would leave “a void of vocal agility.”

Zayn had started dating Perrie Edwards in May 2012. She came from a similar background, was exactly the same age and was also discovered in the same way. She is a member of the all girl band Little Mix that was also discovered on The X Factor. In fact, Little Mix is the only band to ever have won on the show. The couple got engaged after a couple of years together. Scandal broke out in mid 2015 when an English fan claimed in the tabloids to have hooked up with Zayn when his band was on tour in Thailand. She met him and his band mates when they were partying at a nightclub in Patong, Bangkok. Though Perrie stuck by him through the scandal and he promptly returned to London to be at her side, clearly his heart was no longer in the relationship.

In his autobiography, entitled Zayn, he writes when he decided to leave One Direction: “It was March 2015. I had been in a bad place for a while and I didn’t see myself getting out of it unless I made a change. My relationship with my fiancée, Perrie, was breaking down. To make matters worse, there were so many crazy stories flying around in the newspapers about us, and it felt like such an invasion of privacy, it made me just want to disappear for a while.”

Despite taking time off his music to work on the relationship, Zayn couldn’t make it work. Perrie became insecure and controlling and finally Zayn sent her a break up text in August 2015. In Little Mix’s  new book Our World, Perrie reveals, “It was horrible, the worst time in my life. A four-year relationship, two year engagement ended by a simple text message. Just like that.”

His good looks, naughty, juvenile peccadilloes, cheating scandal, body covered tattoo graffiti, including Perrie’s image that he subsequently got altered, trendy hairstyles and last but not least his singing and songwriting talent had garnered Zayn a substantial fan following. Billboard editor Joe Lynch described him as “the quiet one in the group, never the one to grab the spotlight during interviews. He typically saved his words for the songs, not for media sound bytes.” And after much speculation regarding  his career as a solo artist, Zayn signed a solo recording contract with RCA Records in 2015. That year he also met Gigi Hadid.

Jelena Noura Hadid, known popularly as Gigi, was born on April 23rd 1995 to a wealthy Beverly Hills real estate developer Mohamed Hadid and his model wife Yolanda. After her, came her younger siblings who are also models now, Bella and Anwar.

Mohamed Hadid is a Jordanian-American who was born in Nazareth and is of Palestinian parentage. On his mother’s side, he can trace back his ancestry to Dasher Al Omer, Prince of Nazareth and Sheikh of Galilee, the mid-18th century Arab ruler of northern Palestine who withstood the might of the Ottoman Empire.

Hadid immigrated to the U.S. to make his fortune and started out by restoring and reselling classic cars in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. He then moved to a Greek island where he opened a nightclub. The club flourished and with the profits, he started developing real estate in the U.S. In the ‘80s, he bought the Ritz-Carlton hotels in NYC and D.C. for US$150 million; he also famously outmaneuvered Donald Trump to buy the Ritz property in Aspen, Colorado; then he focused on Beverly Hills residential property, developing a luxurious mansion Le Belvedere that sold for $50 million in 2010; in 2012, he developed Le Palais, a 48,000-square-foot limestone fronted mansion built on an acre plot next to the Beverly Hills Hotel, currently listed for sale at $58 million.

A competitive man with a type A personality, at the age of 43 on the encouragement of his friend Austrian Olympic skier Franz Weber, Hadid competed in speed skiing at the 1992 Winter Olympics, representing Jordan. Not only was he the only member of the Jordanian delegation, but he also remains the only person to have represented the country in the Winter Olympics to date.

Though Hadid does not consider himself a devout Muslim, he has abstained from drinking alcohol. However, this did not stop him from investing in a 5,000-bottle wine cellar, including some from his own Beverly Hills winery that he runs as a business venture.

Born Yolanda van den Herik, Gigi’s Dutch mother herself worked as a Ford model for fifteen years.  In 1994, she quit modeling when she married the divorced millionaire businessman Mohamed, sixteen years her senior who had two daughters, Alana and Marielle, from his previous marriage to an American. After having her children, Yolanda gained fame on the reality show Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, on which her good looking progeny regularly appeared, propelling their own modeling careers. Yolanda divorced Hadid in 2010 and married musician, composer and producer David Foster, who himself already had five daughters, but the marriage only lasted five years due to her ongoing battle with Lyme disease. After her second divorce, she changed her last name back to Hadid to match the name of her famous children.

Now Gigi was a really pretty child and growing up in a Beverly Hills mansion with well connected parents who were proud of her looks, she had been modeling since age two for Paul Marciano’s  brand Baby GUESS. She stopped to concentrate on school plus get through the awkward stage and, in 2011, went back to work for GUESS as a teen model.  In 2013, she graduated from Malibu High School  where she had been captain of the varsity volleyball team as well as a competitive horseback rider. She moved to NYC to model and attend The New School, where she started studying criminal psychology. But her modeling career took off and she quit college and signed with IMG Models working full time. She made her New York Fashion Week debut in February 2014. By the end of the next year, Gigi had made it, shooting to the Top 50 Models ranking at She has graced magazine covers such as those of Vogue (U.S., Paris, Italy, Britain, Japan, Spain, Australia, Brazil, the, Germany, Italy, China), Allure, W Magazine and Teen Vogue as well as WSJ Magazine, Elle Canada, Dazed and Harper’s Bazaar (USA, Malaysia) among many others. By May ‘15, Gigi had walked for such premiere designers as: Marc Jacobs, Chanel, Michael Kors, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Max Mara. In December, Gigi’s dream of becoming a Victoria Secret model came true when she walked in her first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show along with her bff Kendall Jenner, of the Kardashian-Jenner clan. For the lingerie show, she trains and body sculpts by boxing.

For two years, from 2013 to 2015, Gigi dated musician Cody Simpson and also appeared in the music video of his song Surfboard. Following their split, she dated Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers for five months. Clearly, she liked pop stars. Gigi, along with fellow models Kendall and Hailey Baldwin, daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin of Hollywood’s Baldwin brothers, became American celebrity It girls. Gigi also became a part of American pop star Taylor Swift’s girl squad. She appeared in Swift’s Bad Blood video and also in Taylor’s then boyfriend Calvin Harris’ video How Deep Is Your Love.

By November, Gigi was dating Zayn. They announced their fledgling relationship via her Instagram account when she posted a photo of them holding hands together. In an interview with Sirius XM’s The Morning Mash Up, Zayn talked about the beginning of his relationship with Gigi: “Yeah, I just asked her out. It was pretty straight up. I just asked her if she wanted to go out. I was in New York…We met and we spoke, and we went on a date.”

“We were both talking about the fact that we’d never actually been on a first date until each other,” Gigi told a reporter of the TV show Entertainment Tonight. “I met him once before and he is obviously so gorgeous, but really the way we could have conversations and kind of just…we’re really interested in the same things, so it was really easy. So that was amazing.”

On the 12th of January ’16, Gigi celebrated her boyfriend’s 23rd birthday by gifting him a customized Z pendant. At the end of the month, fans got to see their chemistry for themselves with their hot makeout scene in his Pillowtalk video. When asked during a radio interview if it was easier to makeout with his girlfriend, he replied in the affirmative, confirming their relationship and, hence, a new power couple was formed.

Zayn’s debut studio album Mind of Mine released in March 2016. The album and its lead single, Pillowtalk reached number one in several countries including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden, with Zayn becoming the first British male artist to debut at number one in both the UK and US with his debut single and debut album. He debuted atop the US Billboard 200 earning 157,000 equivalent album units in its first week, with 112,000 coming from pure album sales. Zayn also topped the Billboard Artist 100 chart, replacing Justin Bieber at his peak and surpassing One Direction’s number-two peak on the chart. He had proved his naysayers wrong, those who had doubted his ability to succeed on his own, just like Justin Timberlake did after leaving NSYNC. Philanthropically minded, he is also an official ambassador of the British Asian Trust charity group, contributing to improving the lives of disadvantaged people living in South Asia.

In April, the genetically blessed couple featured in a romantic spread for Vogue, ala Kim and Kanye West. They also made a sensational red carpet debut at the Met Gala looking very much loved up.

But then in June came news that left fans reeling. Horror of horrors, they had broken up after an explosive fight on her birthday. Apparently, they had been fighting quite a bit recently, and so decided to take a time out. Stress had taken its toll on Zayn’s fragile nerves. Anxiety had crippled him and he had to pull out of concert appearances. He even cancelled his performance at London’s Capital Summertime Ball, saying he was “suffering the worst anxiety of my career.”

E! channel reported a source saying, “They got through a rough patch that Zayn was facing personally and it started to put a dark cloud on their relationship. Gigi was there for him when he needed her the most and that brought them closer than ever.” Gigi and Zayn stayed in touch through this period and she played the role of a supportive friend. He began relying on her more and more and she was determined to be his rock.

Gigi tweeted her support for him, “Z – I’ve seen the battles you go through and the way you fight to get to a place that allows you to get up there for your fans. Your bravery in those times makes me proud, but your honesty last night proved what you’re all about, being real … Your talent and good heart will never lead you wrong. Love you and so proud of you always.”

After they got back together, they took a romantic trip to Tahiti, which the paparazzi managed to photograph as the couple snoozed on the beach and kayaked together like regular beach goers.

When in September, she was pounced on by a prankster in Milan and picked up from behind, she elbowed him ferociously and said he should be thankful her boyfriend wasn’t there or he would have really been in trouble!

The show must go on and indeed her shows did.  Gigi walked for: Versace, Chanel, Elie Saab, Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui, Miu Miu, Balmain, Diane Von Furstenberg, Tommy Hilfiger, Fenty x Puma, Isabel Marant, and Giambattista Valli during 2016 despite the drama in her personal life. She signed lucrative endorsement deals, becoming the global brand ambassador for Tommy Hilfiger, fronting many of the brand’s campaigns plus launching her own clothing line Gigi by Tommy Hilfiger; similarly, she put out a boot collection for Stuart Weitzman, the Gigi Boot and she became Reebok’s brand ambassador. (Incidentally, Zayn has also just come out with a boot collection this year for Giuseppe Zanotti.)

Two of Gigi’s most high profile gigs of the year were the 2016 iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards and the American Music Awards both of which she hosted, injecting her youth, beauty and sex appeal into the proceedings. For the first she received favourable reviews but her comedy skits in the second were panned by viewers. She followed this up with getting her VS wings at this year’s show where she was joined by younger sister, Bella. To cap it all off at the end of the year, Gigi won the award for International Model of the Year at the British Fashion Awards, presented to her by Donatella Versace, beating out all the other top supermodels, like Cara Delevingne and Kendall.

On the down side, Gigi was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease involving the thyroid. In time, sufferers develop goiters, gain weight and may even develop thyroid lymphoma. Though incurable at the moment and degenerative, the disease can be managed with medication.

Gigi’s growing stature as a model can be gauged by the fact that out of all the models she has the highest number of Instagram followers—26 million by the end of 2016, over only 10 million the year before. Zayn’s social media followers across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Pandora are an eye-watering 47 million. Moreover, he was voted the “World’s Sexiest Asian Man” in Eastern Eye’s worldwide poll yet again.  Together they make quite a formidable power couple at such a young age. However, they are quite a low key couple in private, preferring to stay in and cook than party the town red. “He makes a brilliant curry. Butter chicken is his signature dish,” Gigi said in an interview to ES magazine.

Asked in an interview what makes their relationship tick, Zayn said: “She’s super intelligent. I think that’s why it works so well. She knows how to carry herself. She’s quite classy and that. She’s not, like, arrogant in any way, she’s confident. She carries it well. She’s cool. And we do the same type of job, so we get that with each other.”

Gigi added, “I would say his brain. For the first time, we are both in a relationship where we have similar interests outside of work, and that is really important. We cook a lot together and do art together, and we’re each other’s best friends. We both feel we can talk about anything and learn a lot from each other.”

In December ’16, Zayn reportedly popped the question, but Gigi replied that she is not ready to settle down and asked for more time. She’s also hesitant and wants to proceed with caution after her mother’s two messy divorces.

Meanwhile, the Mirror reported a source saying, “Zayn and Gigi have moved in together in LA and he’s busy furnishing and buying paintings to change it up and make it more of a couple’s pad. They cherish every moment together and make sure they’re never apart for longer than 10 days so it made sense for her to move in officially. The couple also share Gigi’s New York apartment when they are on the East coast and couldn’t be happier… Zayn prefers a quiet night with Gigi than showbiz parties so it’s important she feels comfortable.”

Here’s wishing the couple good luck. We don’t know if they will be together for the rest of their lives, but for however long it lasts, at least they bring out the best in each other and make each other feel secure.

“Zayn sees how much Gigi is there for him,” said a source close to the couple. “They’re mutually passionately in love.” It doesn’t get much better than that.


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