Alex Cooper is dishing out all the juicy details about the guests on her popular podcast. Although the “Call Her Daddy” host has interviewed A-list celebrities like Priyanka Chopra Jonas and John Mayer, she spilled the tea on why former One Direction boy band member Zayn Malik was her most challenging interview yet.

“I’m very competitive with myself, so I think every single interview—I’m obviously very hard on myself,” Alex, 29, told E! News in an interview published on Tuesday, July 9. “I think there’s different levels to the intimidation or the stress.”

Zayn’s “Call Her Daddy” conversation with the Pennsylvania native marked his first media interview in more than six years. During the segment, Zayn, 31, addressed coparenting his daughter Khai, whom he shares with Gigi Hadid, his time with One Direction and the infamous 2021 incident with his ex’s mom, Yolanda Hadid.

“Zayn essentially coming out of retirement from doing interviews, I was putting pressure on myself to make sure that I was giving that person a really great environment to feel comfortable and to feel seen and to feel heard,” Alex told the outlet. “And to not feel pressured into talking about things he didn’t want to talk about.”

During the interview, the U.K. native revealed that his withdrawal from the media spotlight was due to the intense public scrutiny he and his bandmates faced during their time with One Direction.

Alex Cooper on Why Zayn Malik Was Her Most Challenging Interview 1
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“I think that’s why I’ve took the time I have to not even necessarily do interviews and do too much press exposure,” the “What Makes You Beautiful” singer explained. “Because I feel like we were so overexposed in the band that it takes a bit of time for you naturally to progress as a human and give something else that is interesting that you have to say.”

The musician described it as a “healthy break” to discover his “identity” as an artist and promised a major comeback to fans. He seemingly delivered by dropping his album Room Under the Stars in May, his first since Icarus Falls in 2018.

Zayn also talked about coparenting his daughter with his supermodel ex, 29, and emphasized why he prioritizes privacy in handling their personal issues. The former couple first met at the 2015 Victoria’s Secret Party and initially broke up in June 2016. After reconciling, they split again in March 2018 but reunited by January 2020, welcoming their daughter the following year.

“If something happens in the family, like I’d rather keep that between the family,” the boybander detailed. “You don’t need a whole audience of people and opinions because it’s hard enough to manage between two.”

However, by October of that same year, the A-list couple hit rocky waters in their relationship. A source confirmed to In Touch that they had “silently separated” following an apparent altercation between Zayn and the RHOBH alum, 60.

At the time, Zayn denied his mother-in-law’s accusations and issued a statement, saying that he remained “vigilant” in protecting their daughter by ensuring she has “the privacy she deserves.” Almost two years later, the musician stands firm in his original stance.

“I knew what the situation was, I knew what happened and the people involved knew what happened too,” the “Drag Me Down” singer concluded. “And that’s all I really cared about. If anybody of the same mind would look at the situation, I believe that you could respect that I just didn’t want to bring attention to anything. I just wasn’t trying to get into a negative back and forth with her—any sort of narrative online where my daughter was going to look back and be able to read into it and it would just be something, there was no point.”