Rebecca Ferguson has spoken about her brief relationship with One Direction boybander Zayn Malik.

The pair dated for a short time in 2010 when they were both booked on the X Factor tour.

Ferguson believes that the relationship may have hindered her career.

She explained to The Independent: "That was my first mistake. I was 23, he was 18. Of course, if it was a 23-year-old guy dating an 18-year-old girl, no one would have batted an eyelid, but this way around was a big deal, apparently.

"I didn't realise that. I was just a hippy, free-loving person, but that's not a good thing to be in this industry. You can't just follow your heart."

The singer added that she was shocked by Malik's recent comments where he labelled their relationship a "mistake".

She said: "I was so shocked by what he said! But I'm not going to retaliate".

"We don't talk any more. We're not in touch at all."