Jesy Nelson will be leaving Little Mix, the band has announced.
The news followed an announcement in November that Nelson would be taking an “extended” break from one of the country’s biggest-selling girl bands for private medical reasons.
She had previously been absent from the final of Little Mix’s BBC One talent show The Search, and also a performance at the MTV European Music Awards.
A statement from the band’s publicist Simon Jones said at the time: “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.”
Here is everything you need to know.
Why has Jesy left Little Mix?
On 14 December, Nelson announced her permanent departure on social media, saying her nine years in the group had been “the most incredible time of my life”.
Nelson thanked fans as she explained her decision, saying “recently being in the band has really taken a toll on my mental health”, and adding that she finds the “constant pressure” of being in a girl group and living up to expectations “very hard.”
Nelson has spoken openly about her battle with anxiety in the past, most notable in her 2019 BBC documentary Odd One Out, which won her the award for best factual entertainment at the 2020 National Television Awards.
As part of the film, she revealed that abuse on social media got so bad she attempted to take her own life. The heartbreaking documentary drew praise from fans and critics alike, with many showing their support for the singer.
Jesy Nelson’s statement in full:
“To all my Mixers, The past nine years in Little Mix has been the most incredible time of my life.
“We have achieved things I never thought possible. From winning our first Brit Award to our sold out shows at the 02. Making friends and fans all over the world I can’t thank you all enough from the bottom of my heart for making me feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
“You have always been there to support and encourage me and I will never ever forget it. 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 very hard.
“There comes a time in life when we need to reinvest in taking care of ourselves rather than focusing on making other people happy, and I feel like now is the time to begin that process.
“So after much consideration and with a heavy heart, I’m announcing I’m leaving Little Mix.
“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.”
“Most of all I want to say thank you to Jade, Perrie and Leigh-Anne for creating some of the most amazing memories I’ll never forget. I hope that you’ll continue to fulfil all of your dreams and keep on making music that people love. Love Jesy x.”
Has there been a falling out?
It seems there is no ill will at all between Nelson and the remaining Little Mix members.
Tweets from the band’s official account said: “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.
The band, who found fame on The X Factor, said: “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.”
Nelson was also sent messages of support from across the showbiz world.
Will Little Mix continue?
The band are scheduled to embark on a UK tour next year, which at the time of writing is still expected to go ahead; “We’re looking forward to seeing so many of you on tour,” said the remaining members. “Love always, Jade, Perrie and Leigh-Anne xxx.”
The 21-date tour was originally due to take place in June 2020 and run for around a month, taking the band to a range of outdoor venues including a date at British Summer Time festival in London’s Hyde Park.
But the band announced they were cancelling plans in April 2020, urging fans to “stay safe and stay home” during the UK’s first lockdown; the tour has since been rescheduled to 2021.
In their statement, Little Mix said: “We are still very much enjoying our Little Mix journey and the 3 of us are not ready for it to be over.”
As showcased by November’s MTV EMAs appearance and their recent performance on Strictly Come Dancing, the band are still a force to be reckoned with even when performing with one member down.
A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title, the Scotsman