Jesy Nelson has discussed her departure from Little Mix in a candid new interview, hours after her ex-bandmate Leigh-Anne Pinnock announced she’s expecting her first child.
Gracing the cover of Cosmopolitan’s June issue, the musician, 29, admitted she would have ‘ended up back where I was five years ago’ if she didn’t leave the band last December, and enthused about feeling ‘free’ since her exit.
The singer – who also confirmed she’s making new music – reflected on feeling ‘sad’ during her 10-year stint with Leigh-Anne, Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards, and revealed featuring in the music video for Sweet Melody marked her ‘breaking point’.
In 2019, Jesy bravely shared that she once tried to take her own life after years of relentless trolling, and went on to produce her award-winning BBC documentary, Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out, which detailed her struggles in the spotlight.
‘I would have ended up back where I was five years ago, and that’s scary’: Jesy Nelson discussed her departure from Little Mix in a new interview for Cosmopolitan’s June issue
Surprise! Her announcement came after her ex-bandmate Leigh-Anne Pinnock announced she’s expecting her first child with fiancé Andre Gray
When asked about words which represent her during her time in the group and how she feels now, the songstress told the publication: ‘In Little Mix: honest, hardworking, sad. [Now] Honest, content, free.’
The media personality recalled when she felt anxious during the production of Sweet Melody, which was filmed during lockdown.
On finding it difficult to return to work after enjoying her break from her career, the Romford native said: ‘The last music video we did (Sweet Melody) was the breaking point.
‘We’d been in lockdown, and it was the first time I could have a break and be at home around people that I love. It was the happiest I’d ever felt and I didn’t realise that until I went back to work. I immediately became a different person. I had anxiety.
‘I now feel free’: The musician, 29, admitted she would have ‘ended up back where I was five years ago’ if she didn’t leave the band last December
‘I put an enormous amount of pressure on myself’: The media personality recalled when she felt anxious during the production of Sweet Melody, which was filmed during lockdown
‘Whenever we have a music video I put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to try and lose weight. I have a fear of looking back on the camera. If I don’t like what I see, I find it so hard to be in front of the camera and feel amazing and perform.’
The artist said she left the set crying, before a close friend advised her to prioritise her mental health.
Jesy explained: ‘I’d been in lockdown, and I’d put on a bit of weight but I didn’t care. And they said, ”you’ve got a music video in a couple of weeks” and I just panicked. I went on this extreme diet, with bloody shakes, and tried to eat as little as possible.
‘On the day of the Sweet Melody video I had a panic attack on set because I didn’t look how I wanted to look and I found it so hard to just be happy and enjoy myself.
‘That was the pinnacle point’: The singer revealed featuring in the music video marked her ‘breaking point’ (pictured with Leigh-Anne, Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards)
Honest: In 2019, Jesy bravely shared that she once tried to take her own life after years of relentless trolling, and went on to produce her award-winning BBC documentary
‘There’s a scene in Sweet Melody I’m not in because that’s when I had a panic attack and broke down. I was like, ”I just want to go home.”
‘I was sobbing in the dressing room. Someone really close to me said, ”This has got to stop. You can’t keep doing this to yourself. You’re going to end up where you were before.”
‘For me that was the pinnacle point. I was like, ”I need to start taking care of myself now because this isn’t healthy.” It wasn’t nice for the other three to be around someone who didn’t want to be there. So I took a break.
‘For so long I worried about other people and letting people down. The only person I should have been trying to make happy was myself and I wasn’t doing that.
‘This is life!’ The former X Factor winner seemed positive about where she stands now and her future, adding: ‘I didn’t know that I could be this happy
‘I needed to do it for my mental health because I know I would have ended up back where I was five years ago, and that’s scary…’
The songwriter previously said that at the height of her bullying, following the group’s 2011’s X Factor win, she took an overdose, but was saved by her boyfriend at the time.
The Woman Like Me hitmaker revealed she was quitting the group late last year, weeks after taking an extended break for medical reasons.
The DNA star confessed she was left shocked when she was met with support from her fans, sharing: ‘I was at home with my family, taking everything in on the news. Everyone was talking about it on Lorraine.
‘It makes me happy’: The documentary filmmaker has been teasing her trips to the recording studio as she prepares to make a comeback, but this time, she’s going solo
‘When I put up my statement I turned off my comments because I was sh***ing myself because I thought, ”I’m going to get so much backlash for this.” My sister rang me and said, ”I think you should turn on your comments. Everything I’ve seen is really positive.”
‘I turned on my comments and just sat in bed and cried because I was overwhelmed with how lovely everyone was being. It was a shock to me. I couldn’t get over how much people were supporting me and understood.’
Jesy seemed positive about where she stands now and her future, adding: ‘I didn’t know that I could be this happy.
‘I thought when I was in the group that it was just normal to feel that way. And because I’d felt like that for ten years I just thought, ”this is life.” Since I’ve left, I feel free.’
The documentary filmmaker has been teasing her trips to the recording studio as she prepares to make a comeback, but this time, she’s going solo.
She said: ‘I feel like there’s been a few people who don’t understand why I left Little Mix but am now in the studio making music. A lot of people said, ”I thought you came out of the band to focus on your mental health?”
‘I never said when I put out my statement, that I was coming out of the band to never be in the public eye, perform again or do music. I said I was coming out of the band because I genuinely couldn’t deal with the pressure of being in a girl band.
‘For people to think that I would just stop working completely is crazy because me working on my mental health is going to the studio, and creating music that I love. That’s what clears my head and makes me happy. It’s good for my mental health.
Incredible: Fellow belter Leigh-Anne announced her pregnancy with her husband-to-be Andre, after the couple announced their engagement last May
‘You feel like you’re invisible’: In a new interview, the mother-to-be said she has to ‘work 10 times harder and longer to mark her place in the band’ due to her race
‘I need to do things that make me happy now and people might think that’s selfish but sometimes in life you have to put yourself first, you have to love yourself, you’ve got to do what makes you happy.’
Jesy’s candid interview came after fellow belter Leigh-Anne announced she’s set to welcome a baby with fiancé Andre Gray, after the couple announced their engagement last May.
The High Wycombe native recently praised her footballer partner as her ‘backbone’ and admitted she finds his attitude towards race ‘inspiring’.
Leigh-Anne, 29, said: ‘Andre is like my backbone. If I didn’t have someone like that through this experience, I don’t know what I would have done…
‘We’ve always had amazing talks about [experiencing racism], from when we’ve met. I love how pro-black he is. It’s inspiring for me.’
In an interview with The Observer, the mother-to-be said she has to ‘work 10 times harder and longer to mark her place in the band because her talent alone is not enough,’ due to her race.
She added: ‘There’s only so much you can take of feeling like you are the invisible one, or you’re being overlooked. There had to come a point where I see this as my power and I now do. It is…
‘Being black is my power. And I want young Black girls around the world to see that. One of the reasons I didn’t want to speak at the beginning was because I was so scared of offending [Little Mix fans] and losing them…
‘But I just thought: this is not about me. The reason that I am here, in this position, is for me to speak out and do something.’
Leigh-Anne said she constantly feels pressured to work harder in the group as she feels less popular than her bandmates speaking in a new BBC documentary about racism in the music industry.
On the show, the swimwear designer, who meets with various stars to discuss their experiences with racism, even questions her own position in Little Mix after fearing she was only placed in the group as ‘the token black girl.’
According to The Sun, Leigh-Anne breaks down in tears while discussing her experiences with racism with her mum Deborah, who is half Bajan, and her dad John, who is half Jamaican.
Out soon! The June issue of Cosmopolitan is on sale from 6 May
She says: ‘All of these little feelings just built up, built up, built up. It was something I could never fully explain.
‘And you can’t pretend it’s not happening, feeling invisible, feeling that people would just look past me.
‘All these questions. Pushing myself constantly to do better. I just wanted to be on the same level and nothing I did would get me there.’
For the documentary, the In’A’Seashell catches up with celebrities such as Alexandra Burke and Sugababes’ Keisha Buchanan, who implies she may have been offered a place in Little Mix due to her ‘blackness.’
The music star was brought up being told she should be proud of her Caribbean hertiage, but also details a moment she did experience racism at primary school, being handed a note by another child stating she was from ‘the jungle.’
The programme will also see her talk to sportsman Andre about racist tweets he’d shared in 2012, with the Watford FC player suspended for four matches and fined £25,000 over the comments.
The June issue of Cosmopolitan is on sale from 6 May.
‘I love how pro-black he is’: The High Wycombe native recently praised her footballer partner as her ‘backbone’ and admitted she finds his attitude towards race ‘inspiring’