Speaking her truth. Jesy Nelson is getting real about her decision to leave Little Mix in December 2020 as she starts to gear up to launch her career as a solo artist.

“I feel like a lot of people think it’s selfish that I’ve left the group, and it really affected me at the start. I really didn’t want to upset people and I didn’t want people to think that about me,” the British songstress said on a September 2021 episode of the “Reign With Josh Smith” podcast. “But I don’t care anymore because it was 10 years of my life that I was very unhappy with. And I needed to take myself out of that and genuinely do what’s going to make me happy. And some people may not understand that, but you live once, and you have to do what makes you happy.”

Jesy joined Little Mix — along with members Perrie EdwardsLeigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwall — when the band was formed on Britain’s The X Factor in 2011. They performed together for nearly 10 years before Jesy was noticeably absent from a few live performances, starting in November 2020. At the time, a statement from the girl group to Us Weekly explained that she would be taking an “extended” break from Little Mix due to “private medical reasons.”

Nearly a month later, the band took to their official Instagram account and announced Jesy’s departure from the group. The songstress, for her part, also shared a message on social media, which has since been deleted.

“The truth is, recently, being in the band has really taken a toll on my mental health,” she wrote. “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 a heavy heart, I’m announcing I’m leaving Little Mix.”

Despite leaving the group, Jesy is still supportive of her former bandmates, as they are with her.

“I had honestly the most incredible memories with Little Mix,” she also shared during her “Reign with Josh Smith” appearance. “We laughed so much … they’re like my sisters. Obviously, them getting the number one with ‘Sweet Melody’ and the Brit Award is everything they deserve. I was so happy for them when they won that Brit Award because they f–king deserve it.”

Scroll through our gallery to read everything Jesy has said about leaving Little Mix. 

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