One Direction Plays 'Today' Show Without Zayn Malik
Matt Lauer asks if substance abuse is to blame
One Direction hit the Today show in Orlando this morning (Nov. 17) to promote their new album, Four — but unfortunately they performed with a man down. Zayn Malik was absent, and not for the first time: He was also missing in the videos the band made to accept their recent awards from the MTV EMAs.
According to Liam Payne, Malik was having stomach issues. "He's got a tummy bug, so he’s not very well," Payne explained. "We only found out this morning, so we're really sad, he is as well, that he can't be here for our album release."
However, Today host Matt Lauer didn't entirely believe this excuse. "Is it something more serious than just a minor illness?" he wondered, mentioning "rumors of substance abuse" and asking, "When's he gonna rejoin the band?"
Check out the interview below.
Payne noted that "we aren't One Direction without Zayn." But the band still had to perform, so they continued with a medley of hits, which included the recent single "Steal My Girl."
A rep for the band told Billboard they don't have further comment regarding Malik beyond what Payne said.
This article first appeared on Billboard.com.