EXO’s Lay Zhang Yixing is leaving SM Entertainment. “This decade is one of the greatest gifts I could’ve ever received” wrote the idol on Twitter today, announcing the end of his contract with SM on EXO’s 10th anniversary. Lay also posted two handwritten notes in both English and Korean, thanking everyone for their love and for continuing to support him throughout his ten year career as a member of EXO. He also thanked his EXO brothers and promises to “always be the Lay (who is there) when my members need me. I’m your family member in China, Zhang Yixing”.
On a lengthier post to fans over on Chinese site Weibo, Lay reminisced how he used to think 10 years was quite a long time. But now that the time has come to bid adieu to his 10-year relationship with SM, it felt like time flew by so quickly. “In a blink of an eye, the young boy who just joined the company transformed into the 30-year-old that I am today.” Though his contract has officially ended, Lay says he will always be grateful to the company that supported and helped him along the way.
To his EXO band members who stood beside him, understood him, loved him and encouraged him for more than a decade, as well as to his fans and family who’ve been with him every step of the way, Lay said he is thankful. “I’ll never forget April 8, 2012, the day we officially debuted as EXO. I’lll always remember that small practice room in SM that’s full of my brothers and my years of youth. (I’ll) remember the excitement and nervousness upon seeing so many fans for the first time…” he added.
Another Door Opens (Maybe) …
Finally, Lay says he looks forward to the future and to the possibility of forging a new relationship with SM. “Today not only signals the end but also the start to a new beginning. I hope to carry with me all that my past experiences taught me as I continue to explore Zhang Yixing’s new career map and life plans. I will also work with SM to explore new ways to move forward, to try, to challenge, to take risks. I will build a bigger and better boat for a better me.”
Meanwhile, SM issued an official statement to confirm that although the contract with Lay Zhang has indeed expired, both parties are in the middle of discussing new ways to move forward together.