Mark Owen was speaking to British radio station Magic FM when he was asked about the similarity of the two situations, and replied “Do you know what, one thing that we never did when Rob left us the first time is we never... You get caught up in your world and you forget sometimes... hopefully somebody's phoned Zayn and made sure he's alright, because it's, you know, it's difficult.”
Take That early in 2015
The parallels of the groups’ respective career arcs are striking. Both groups started out with five members for the first half-decade of their chart dominance. Twenty years ago in 1995, Robbie Williams left Take That to pursue a solo career. And in 2015, a whole new generation of teenage superfans experienced heartbreak when Malik announced in March that he was leaving 1D due to stress.
Malik has not made any suggestions so far that he’s preparing a solo career, though it seems inconceivable that he won’t strike out on his own eventually. There’s also not been any suggestion of ill feeling, as the 22 year old said at the time “I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry and Niall. I know they will continue to be the best band in the world.”
Owen continued: “I hope they're still in touch with each other even though on the outside there might be different things, hopefully they're all in touch with each other and just checking in on each other.”
Following Williams’ departure, Take That battled on for another seven months before splitting up for the first time in 1996. Following a well-received reunion as a four-piece in 2005, Williams briefly rejoined before departing once more. In 2014, Jason Orange also announced that he was quitting the group, leaving Take That as a three-piece for the time being.
Take That’s leader Gary Barlow added: “I agree with Mark, I think it's sometimes, it's always hard for the one that leaves, so hopefully they are all in touch. I'm sure he's got good people around him anyway.”
Fans will be hoping that a 1D split isn’t in the offing, as the likes of ‘NSYNC’s Lance Bass and documentary maker Morgan Spurlock have speculated that Harry Styles might be the next out of the door. Encouragingly for them, Liam Payne tweeted in early April that the group had been planning a new album.