Doting dad! Former One Direction member Zayn Malik opened up about his and his ex-girlfriend Gigi Hadids daughter, Khai, in a rare public comment. 

“Since I’ve had my daughter, the main thing in my mind is trying to be a good example to her,” Zayn, 30, said while speaking with Alex Cooper on her “Call Her Daddy” podcast, which aired on Spotify on Wednesday, July 12. “That’s why I’m even doing this interview, you know? I used to get a lot of anxiety around having a conversation like this. And I want her to be able to look at me and be like, ‘My dad’s doing this.’”

As for a “dad quality” that he is proud of, Zayn explained that was told he has relatable “dad jokes” every now and then. 

“And I’m leaning into [the jokes]. I’m just like, ‘It’s OK. It’s cool,’” Zayn added, before explaining the impact his daughter has had on his life. “I feel like I’ve rekindled my own childhood through her. There’s a certain point in adult life where everything is vague and gray and boring, and she’s brought that color back for me for sure.” 

While Zayn shares custody of Khai, 2, with Gigi, 28, he insisted that he is still “super full on, like, hands on with [his] child every chance [he] can be.” 

Gigi Hadid/Instagram

“I have her 50 percent of the time, so that time I have with her is so important because I feel like she’s growing up so fast,” Zayn added. 

As for how he manages to balance his work life with fatherhood, Zayn revealed that whenever he is with his and Gigi’s little one, he doesn’t “work at all.” 

“I just spend a full day with her doing things that she wants to do like painting, Play-Doh, this, that, go to the park, go to the theme park, go to the zoo,” Zayn said. “We just have fun.”

Since Khai’s dad is famous for his singing career, Zayn revealed that his daughter may have inherited a musical skill from him. 

“She shows a lot of signs of musical intelligence already, so I just love playing instruments with her and singing with her,” Zayn revealed. “I’ll sing and she sings along, and she can do good harmonies and stuff already — and she’s only 2 and a half. She harmonizes with me well and finishes notes, can hold them for a long time. … She remembers full lyrics to songs as well, like every word. Smart.”

This was one of the few times that Zayn has publicly commented about his and Gigi’s child, whom they welcomed in September 2020. Zayn and Gigi had an on-and-off relationship from 2015 through late 2021. However, they have made it a point to be amicable coparents since they split for good. 

At the time of Khai’s birth, the “Night Changes” singer took to Twitter to announce that he and Gigi had welcomed their child to the world. 

“Our baby girl is here, healthy and beautiful,” Zayn tweeted in September 2020. “To try and put into words how I am feeling right now would be an impossible task. The love I feel for this tiny human is beyond my understanding. Grateful to know her, proud to call her mine [and] thankful for the life we will have together.”