Los Angeles - Zayn Malik "never" wanted to be famous.
The 22-year-old singer - who announced his departure from One Direction on Wednesday - admitted he had no "master plan" about becoming a celebrity when he went to audition for the X Factor.
In a previously unreleased interview from 2012, when asked if he expected his life to be how it is now, he told Rolling Stone magazine: "No, not at all. This isn't what I thought I was going to be doing. I just went for the experience.
"I never went with a master plan, thinking, 'I want to be famous.' I literally went for an experience thing on the show and just hoped that... I guess I just got lucky."
The star also alluded he was struggling with the success of the band, admitting he found it "hard to put into words" how he felt about causing mass hysteria wherever he went.
He said: "It's that thing that we've sometimes talked about - when you hear yourself on the radio or see yourself on the front of a magazine - and you sometimes don't get it; you can't believe it's actually happening to you. Even the girls running down the street still doesn't really hit you.
"It's like, 'No, they can't be running for me; for us.' It's really strange, and it's hard to put into words, but it's almost like you know it's happening and you know you should believe it, but you almost don't."
And even three years ago, Zayn appeared to hint about plans to take more of a back seat in the future.
When asked if he could go back to a normal life ever again, he added: "I don't know. I think I'd love to be involved with it still, because obviously, we'll be working in the industry for an extended amount of time and you get used to it.
"Even if it wasn't as public or out there as what we do now, if it was just something even in the background, working as a studio songwriter, producing, that would always be a cool thing to do."
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