By Abby Hassler

Zayn Malik might have everything going for him right now, but this wasn’t always the case. In a recent interview with the Evening Standard, the former One Direction star revealed U.S. airports would single him out for extra security measures because of his name and Muslim heritage.

Related: Zayn Malik’s Sophomore Album Has ‘More Optimistic Tone’

“The first time I came to America, I had three security checks before I got on the plane; first they said that I’d been randomly selected, and then they said it was something to do with my name, it was flagging something on their system,” he said. “Then when I landed, it was like a movie. They kept me there for three hours, questioning me about all kinds of crazy stuff. I was 17, my first time in America, jet-lagged off the plane, confused. The same thing happened the next time too.”

While he doesn’t agree with the measures, he said he understands why security officials must be especially cautious.

“I don’t think there’s any benefit to getting angry — it’s something that comes with the climate,” Malik said. “I understand why they’ve got to do it.”

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