Little Mix star sensationally quits band
Jesy Nelson has confirmed that she has quit Little Mix, revealing that nine years in the band "took a toll on her mental health".
The 29-year-old star announced the news on her Instagram page today after taking "extended time off" from the group last month.
Nelson told her followers that she was leaving Little Mix with a "heavy heart" as she reflected on the success the band have enjoyed since winning The X Factor in 2011, insisting it had been the "most incredible time" of her life.
"I can't thank you all enough from the bottom of my heart for making me feel like the luckiest girl in the world," he said.
"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.
"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 star went on to thank her bandmates Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Perrie Edwards, and Jade Thirlwall, writing: "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 making music that people love."
Little Mix responded to the statement on Twitter, sharing their sadness at Nelson's decision but insisting they understood and supported her choice.
"After an amazing 9 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," he said.
"We love her very much and agree that it is so important that she does what is right for her mental health and wellbeing. We are still very much enjoying our Little Mix journey and the 3 of us are not ready for it to be over.
"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."
In November, a Little Mix rep confirmed that Nelson was taking "extended time off" for "private medical reasons".
They 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."
It came two weeks after she missed the grand finale of the band's TV talent show The Search, as well as their high-profile stint hosting the MTV EMAs.
The Sun then revealed that Edwards, Thirlwall and Pinnock were all going solo, with each involved in secret plans to launch individual careers next year at the end of their existing deal.
However, Thirlwall has insisted the group "will never die" even if the girls do end up branching out.
Last month, The Sun revealed that Little Mix planned to go ahead with their 2021 tour "with or without" Nelson.
A source explained at the time: "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."
Yesterday, Little Mix fans sent love to Nelson as the girl group performed on the show Strictly Come Dancing as a trio.
Little Mix formed on The X Factor in 2011, becoming the first band to win the show.
Together they have sold more than 50 million records, landing two Brit Awards, four number one singles and releasing six albums along the way.
Nelson has been open about her mental health battle over the years, bravely sharing the devastating impact years of online trolling had in her BBC documentary Odd One Out.
In the film, which won a National Television Award, Nelson spoke candidly about her struggle in Little Mix, revealing how she would starve herself for days during the deepest times in her depression due to constant trolling about her weight and looks.
Discussing the impact it had on her, she shared: "I just wanted to be Jesy. I didn't want to be Jesy the fat one.
"I wanted people to see me as normal, so I punished myself. I starved myself."
Little Mix suffered backlash in Australia last year after they cancelled their planned tour in December 2019, announcing the abrupt cancelling just six weeks beforehand.
"This is not a decision we've taken lightly but we have to use this time to focus on recording new music. Please contact your point of purchase for a full refund of tickets," they said in a statement at the time.
This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced here with permission
Originally published as Little Mix star sensationally quits band