It’s been just over two years since Jesy Nelson made the decision to leave Little Mix in order to focus on her mental health. Despite the girl band selling over 60 million records worldwide and dominating the charts with hits like “Shout Out to my Ex” and “Black Magic,” the foursome became three in December 2020. And Nelson has explained in a new interview with The Sun that she hasn’t spoken to her former bandmates Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards, and Leigh-Anne Pinnock ever since.
“I will say this always, your mental health is the most important thing. You only live once so sometimes you have to stop and look after yourself. I needed support and help to overcome that, and there wasn’t the time while I was in the band,” she says. “I don’t have regrets because I had to do what was right for me and I will always cherish the memories I had in Little Mix. So no, we haven’t talked since then.”
Nelson had been candid about the challenges she endured while in the band, most notably in her 2019 award-winning BBC Three documentary “Odd One Out.” Since leaving Little Mix, she has gone on to release music as a solo artist, although the video for her debut single, “Boyz,” faced criticism, with Nelson accused of “blackfishing” after she appeared to alter her appearance to become more racially ambiguous. Her next single out now, called “Bad Thing,” shows an abusive relationship in the video and was made with advice from Women’s Aid.
In 2022, the three remaining members of Little Mix announced they would be taking a hiatus and embarking on their own solo projects. With music in the pipeline for all of them, fashion brands, and beauty deals, as well as mum duties for Pinnock, who is a mum to twins, and Edwards, who is mum to baby Axel, the Little Mix stars are certainly staying busy.
“Never say never, but I honestly wish them the best on their solo journeys now, which is so exciting. That is what is so exciting about all of us. We are all musically different,” Nelson says. “We will all go in our own lane. I’m rooting for all of them. I honestly do wish them all the success as they are all crazy talented.”
The relationship between Thirlwall, Edwards, and Pinnock continues to be strong, with the three regularly showing support for each other on social media, while Nelson’s experience of being in the band was wildly different. “Being in a girl band, you are a machine going all the time. You don’t have a minute to breathe and take time out if you just need space. That was something I struggled with,” she says. “For me my mental health issues were an ongoing thing while I was in Little Mix. I was struggling with my body issues, I was constantly being trolled and I really, really struggled. I was in it for nearly 10 years. I think I was never prepared for what was to come. I didn’t have social media or any of that. I was just a barmaid working in Dagenham.”
Nelson is not the first to struggle with the perils of fame. Ed Sheeran discusses his own mental health in an upcoming Disney+ documentary, while Lewis Capaldi got candid in his Netflix film about his anxiety and the pressures of producing a second album. Yet, Nelson has been going to therapy and working through her mental health challenges. “Whenever you are at a low point, you always think, do what makes you happy — and music is what makes me happy and that is all I want to do,” she adds. “There was a time where I thought, ‘Is it worth it?’ But I always come back to the fact that I love music so much. It is what makes me so happy.”
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