It’s official, Jesy Nelson is leaving Little Mix. Yep, the singer announced on Monday, December 14, that after nine years together, she was parting ways with the girl group, which is also made up of Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards and Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and we uncovered the real reason why she said goodbye.
She Said The Band Took A Toll On Her Mental Health
Taking to Instagram to share the news, the brunette beauty admitted that being in the band took a toll on her mental health.
“The truth is recently being in the band has really taken a toll on my mental health. I find the constant pressure of being in a girl group and living up to expectations in my head,” she explained. “There comes a time in life when we need to reinvest in taking care of ourselves rather than focussing on making other people happy, and I feel like now is the time t begin that process. So after much consideration and with a heavy heart, I’m announcing I’m leaving Little Mix.”
She continued, “I need to spend some time with the people I love, doing things that make me happy. I’m ready to embark on a new chapter in my life — I’m not sure what it’s going to look like right now, but I hope you’ll still be there to support me.”
The news comes just a few weeks after news hit the web that Nelson was taking “extended time off” from the girl group due to “medical reasons.”
“Jesy is having extended time off from Little Mix for private medical reasons. We will not be issuing any further comment currently and ask media to please respect her privacy at this time,” her publicist wrote on Twitter on November 17, 2020.
Jesy Nelson Has A History With Mental Illness
In her 2019 BBC Three documentary, Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out, Nelson got real about her past struggles, and she admitted that she tried to commit suicide in 2013. The 29-year-old explained that when she first joined the band in 2011, she received a lot of hate online and it effected her mental health.
“I had about 101 Facebook messages in my inbox, and the first one that came up was from some random man, saying, ‘You are the ugliest thing I’ve seen in my life, you do not deserve to be in this girl band. You deserve to die.’ It became the worst time of my life,” she recalled. “I wasn’t just known as one of the singers in Little Mix, I was known as ‘the fat, ugly one.”
Then, in 2013 she really spiraled out of control. Nelson continued, “I’d lost quite a bit of weight, and we were going back on X Factor to perform our new single. All I cared about was people seeing me and saying ‘Oh, she looks good.’ I starved myself for a week. I thought, ‘I could be the skinniest girl in the world, and this is never going to go away.’ That was the point I got severely depressed. I was sat in bed crying, thinking, ‘This is never going to go, I’m going to feel sad for the rest of my life, so what is the point in being here?’ The only way I can describe the pain is like constantly being heartbroken. I remember going to the kitchen, and I just took as many tablets as I could. Then my ex, who was with me at the time, he woke up and was like, ‘Why are you crying?’ I kept saying, ‘I just want to die.’”
But the star insisted at the time that she was doing a lot better.
“Back then I just thought everyone hated me,” she said. “But no, actually, they’re doing it because they feel bad about themselves. So now when I look at trolls being nasty, I feel a bit sorry for them. The only way I can understand it is that being nasty makes them feel better in themselves. I didn’t have the mindset to think like that back then – I wish I did. I’m a completely different person now, I’m a lot happier and mentally stronger. I really wanted to make this because, as much as it was a horrible experience for me, I want to make something good come out of it. I’ve got this huge platform – why would I not use that to raise awareness of how social media is affecting people?”
Jesy Nelson Unfollowed The Band’s Manager
Hours after making the announcement, fans were quick to notice that the “Shoutout To My Ex” songstress unfollowed the band’s manager, Samantha Cox, leaving them to wonder if there was any bad blood between her and her old management team. Cox, who has been with Little Mix since they won The X Factor in 2011, works for Modest! Management, the company behind groups like Little Mix, One Direction and more.
They Were Feuding With Simon Cowell
For those who don’t know, after the band won The X Factor, Simon Cowell’s record label, Syco Music, signed them, and they went on to release four albums together. But despite all of their success, the group claimed that the label wasn’t treating them right. According to The Sun, they “confronted Cowell in a strongly worded email, raising issues they had with his label.” The outlet also reported that when the label failed to give the ladies writing credit on their song “Woman Like Me,” things came to a head. In the end, they were given the credit they deserved, but “the damage had been done.”
During an interview, despite not calling him or the label out by name, Pinnock seemingly referred to their feud when she said the band “put their foot down” in the face of “sexism.”
“We’ve had our fair share of arguments with powerful men over what we want to do and how things should be done,” she told the Daily Star. “There are still not enough powerful women in the industry compared to men and that needs to change.”
In 2018, the musicians announced that they were officially cutting ties with Cowell’s label, and that they had signed with RCA instead — just days before their fifth album, LM5, came out. And while speaking to Cosmopolitan, they explained that leaving the label right before their LP’s release was “really hard” and “horrible.”
“[It] was probably one of the hardest parts of our career, but it was necessary,” Thirlwall said. “It came at a bad time, as we were releasing new music. We were so close to the people that were there with us every day.”
In another interview, she said, “We did a little bit but we had a switch of labels during the LM5 process and that really f***ed us over. It was harder to put all our creativity out there in the way we would have liked.”
It’s still unclear whether or not this had anything to do with Nelson’s departure.
Her Former Bandmates Were Nothing But Supportive
As for her former bandmates, there’s definitely no drama between them! They were nothing but supportive over Nelson’s decision, writing on Instagram, “After an amazing nine years together, Jesy has made the decision to leave Little Mix. This is an incredibly sad time for all of us but we are fully supportive of Jesy. We love her very much and agree that it is so important that she does what is right for her mental health and well-being.”
Is Little Mix Breaking Up Or Will They Continue Without Her?
Naturally, many fans started to wonder if this meant it was the end of Little Mix. But not to worry, you guys, because the ladies confirmed that they are not breaking up.
“We are still very much enjoying our Little Mix journey and the three of us are not ready for it to be over,” they wrote on Instagram. “We know that Jesy leaving the group is going to be really upsetting news for our fans. We love you guys so much and are so grateful for your loyalty and continued support of all of us. We’re looking forward to seeing so many of you on tour.”
But an insider told The Sun that Edwards, Pinnock and Thirlwall all have plans to go solo after their contract ends next year.
“Jesy is also in talks over plans for her own solo career which will resume as soon as she’s feeling better,” the outlet reported.
“The girls have been open and honest with each other, and with their current management team. They have started discussions with some prospective managers and agents about what their solo careers might look like,” a source told them a few weeks before Nelson announced her departure. “Some of the girls might end up taking on solo projects with their current management team too. But this isn’t about ending the band, it’s about looking to the future. They still have a tour scheduled to start in April next year, and even if that is delayed because of COVID, as is quite likely, they will still complete it. That will happen either with or without Jesy, who is taking some time out for as long as she feels she needs or wants to.”
The insider added, “They’re talking about trying to emulate Take That, where each member has been able to drift out at times and work on their own projects, but come together at other times to tour and work as a group again. They love the band and all that they’ve achieved, and still get on very well as great friends. There is absolutely no fall-out between them and they’re all supportive of each other doing new things. It’s an exciting time.”
This Isn’t The First Time This Happened
It turns out, this isn’t the first time that this happened. Back in 2015, Zayn Malik shocked the entire world when he announced that he was leaving One Direction in the middle of their tour.
“My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band,” he wrote on Facebook at the time. “I’d like to apologize to the fans if I’ve let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart. I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.”
Months after the “Pillowtalk” crooner announced his departure from the band, he opened up about his decision to Fader Magazine.
“I think the boys kind of knew in terms of the music, that wasn’t my cup of tea. They knew that, they were aware of that, always,” he explained. “They would try to facilitate certain things for me so I could sing R&B ad-libs here or there and that was nice but obviously I think they always knew. When I was leaving the band, they obviously didn’t want me to leave, but they couldn’t talk me out of it at that point. I had already made up my mind so I just left.”
“After four and a half years together, we have been informed via her representatives that Camila has decided to leave Fifth Harmony. We wish her well,” the group, which is also made up of Ally Brooke, Normani Kordei, Dinah Jane Hansen and Lauren Jauregui, wrote in a Twitter note at the time.
After that, Cabello published a message of her own, and she said that she was completely shocked by 5H’s announcement.
“I was shocked to read the statement that the Fifth Harmony account posted without my knowing. The girls were aware of my feelings through the long, much needed conversations about the future that we had during tour. Saying that they were just informed through my representatives that I was ‘leaving the group’ is simply not true,” she tweeted. “I did not intend to end things badly with Fifth Harmony this way. As sad as it is to see this chapter ending this way, I will continue to root them all on as individuals and as a group.”
Then, the ladies posted another lengthy note in response to Cabello’s claims.
“Over the past several months we have consistently made every effort to sit down and discuss the future of Fifth Harmony with Camila. We have spent the past year and a half (since her initial solo endeavor) trying to communicate to her and her team all the reasons why we felt Fifth Harmony deserved at least one more album of her time,” they explained. “We called for group meetings which she refused, we asked LA Reid and the label to step in and try to set meetings, which again, she refused. We even went as far as group counseling which she did not show up to. So no, after months of rejection from her and her team, these supposed lengthy conversations in fact never happened, although we pleaded. We have tried and exhausted efforts and hearts to keep this group alive as the five of us, and we want it to be very clear that unfortunately those efforts were not mutual.”
A few months later, when asked why she left the group, Cabello told Seventeen Magazine, “Fifth Harmony wasn’t the maximum expression of me individually. My goal is to be brave and open up my soul.”
“We didn’t write our records. We were interpreting somebody else’s story,” the singer also told Billboard. “Fifth Harmony is an entity or identity outside all of us, and I don’t think anybody felt individually represented by the sound — we didn’t make it.”