A British tourist who was pictured cuddling up to former One Direction star Zayn Malik while partying in Thailand received a slew of death threats after the snaps emerged online.
Malik, who is engaged to Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards, was hit with cheating rumours after he was pictured with his arms around Lauren Richardson, 26, during a tour stop in Asia in March (15).
The singer also appeared to be holding Richardson's hand in the snaps, which were taken when the pair met in a nightclub, and he subsequently issued a statement denying he had cheated on Edwards. Just days later he walked off the band's world tour and quit the line-up.
Richardson, a community sports officer from England, has now opened up about the scandal, revealing One Direction fans bombarded her with hate mail after the pictures went public.
She tells Dailymail.com, "It just got blown out of proportion. The picture was just a picture... We were dancing up in the VIP bit (section of the nightclub) and I went over to ask for a picture. There was no problem and I took the picture. I then posted my picture and it just went absolutely mental. So there's no juicy story behind it which I think everyone was dying to hear. It's just a picture...
"It was really intense because when I put the picture up they (One Direction fans) just kind of shouted out 'We hate you' and 'You should die, you're a home wrecker'. They would put up pictures of gun faces and say 'Share you're (sic) location, we want to see you. We're going to hunt you down'. It was quite extreme."
Richardson goes on to admit the abuse worsened after Malik quit the band as many fans blamed her for his exit.
She adds, "(After) the first run of abuse, I thought this is done now... (But) then there was the second piece of abuse. People saying 'It's your fault, you've made him leave and stressed him out by posting that image'. You try not take it to heart because it's not my fault he left the band. You try to not let the comments bother you."