Lance Bass claims Harry Styles has wanted to leave One Direction for ''many months''.

The 'NSYNC star believes the 21-year-old singer has been keen to depart the chart-topping group for a while now but was beaten to it by Zayn Malik.

He said: ''Harry Styles has been ready to go solo for many months; he was about to leave. The Zayn thing was spur of the moment but I think (it was) the best move he could have ever done because Harry Styles was a household name; my grandmother knows who Harry Styles is.

''But Zayn Malik, (people) didn't really know his name until he was the first to leave the group. Kudos to him for being smart to leave.''

The 'Bye Bye Bye' hitmaker also admitted he found it was a ''surprise'' that the group - which also includes Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson - had lasted so long.

Speaking on The Meredith Vieira Show, he added: ''I think the guys are always going to be friends. They're brothers. They were put in a situation that they didn't know they were going to be in.

''They were put together on a television show so (the fact) that they lasted this long as a group is a surprise to me. But hopefully, the other four can go on and maybe do a little more music. But I see Harry leaving soon and I don't see another One Direction album happening after he leaves.''