While Directioners are still reeling from Zayn Malik’s decision to leave One Direction, their mentor Simon Cowell says that he kind of saw it coming — but that didn’t stop him from feeling like it all happened way too soon. When asked about where he was when he found out the news, he joked, “About to jump off a cliff.”

But he admitted that the news wasn’t entirely shocking (like it was to us fans) because they’d talked about his problems before.

“I was in Miami. I kind of knew this was coming, if I was being honest to you. We had a few conversations. He wasn’t happy.”

The former X Factor judge even tried getting him to stay in the group for just a bit longer, but the Bradford Bad Boy already knew what he wanted to do.

“I was trying to say to him, ‘Look, I think you should stay around a bit longer.’ And then, something in him [snapped and he] said, ‘No, I’ve had enough.’ And then, once the decision was made, I dealt with it. Then, obviously I made sure the guys were okay because they were shocked as well,” he said.

“Once someone’s made their mind up, they’re going to go. But also at the same time, I didn’t want to push him too much. He’s 22. I could see he was a bit stressed and needed some time off. So I had to respect his decision.”

As do we! While we’re obviously nostalgic for the days that 1D was a five-piece act, it seems like he was really unhappy during their On the Road Again tour, so perhaps he made the right choice for himself.

Do you relate to Simon’s reaction? Tell us in the comments!