Little Mix’s Jesy Nelson, one of four members of the British pop girl group Little Mix, announced she left the group, after nine years, to focus on her mental health on Instagram Dec. 14. Little Mix’s official Instagram and Twitter accounts announced the news in posts made the same day.
Nelson, who has been open about struggling with mental health in the past, said that she found it hard to manage being in the spotlight. “The truth is recently being in the band has really taken a toll on my mental health.” Nelson specifically cited having trouble due to “constant pressure” and “living up to expectations,” which she found to be hard.
She is at a point in her life where she finds it important to focus on herself, rather than on pleasing others. “There comes a time in life when we need to reinvest in taking care of ourselves” and “now is the time to begin that process.”
Nelson is hopeful that being surrounded by loved ones and prioritizing her happiness will allow her to embrace this new chapter in her life. However, she revealed that she’s not exactly sure what she will do or what direction she’ll go in life, but she hopes her fans will continue supporting her.
“I thought it would last forever, bitterly nothing lasts forever,” a Twitter user said.
In Little Mix’s post, under a black and white group photo, the message was from the remaining three group members: Jade Thirlwall, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Perrie Edwards. The group feels that Nelson’s departure is “an incredibly sad time” for them, but they want what’s best for Nelson.
“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,” they said.
This news comes as a shock following Nelson missing recent performances. She was absent for the finale of The Search, a show by Little Mix in which the girls are trying to find the next biggest talent. She has also missed the group’s “Sweet Melody” performance for the 2020 MTV Europe Music Awards.
She even missed a television performance on the Johnathan Ross Show in November.
The group explained Nelson’s absences with personal medical reasons. In a statement made by Simon Jones, the band’s publicist, “Jesy is unwell,” he said on Twitter.
Fans, or “Mixers,” they are sometimes referred to as, have voiced support over social media for the 29-year-old singer. “We love you Jesy! Your feelings are valid,” a Twitter user wrote.
Nelson has touched on her mental health issues before. She released a documentary on BBC 1 in September 2019 called Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out. In the documentary, viewers learn that she is a victim of cyberbullying and body shaming. This has caused her to focus a lot on the negative comments and to internalize them, which made her insecure and have self-doubt, she mentioned. She even attempted suicide, People said.
“We just had to watch this amazing, funny girl become a bit like a broken doll,” Jade Thirlwall said in the documentary.
Most of the time Nelson wants to cry. “Sometimes out of nowhere I’ll get these random waves of sadness and I don’t know why or how they get there but they just do,” she said in an Instagram post from Aug. 6, 2019.
Little Mix reassured fans that the group will continue making music. “We are still very much enjoying our Little Mix journey and the 3 of us are not ready for it to be over,” they said. This comes as a relief to fans that are still expecting to go to the planned tour starting in April 2021.
The tour is for Confetti, the band’s most recent album that was released Nov. 6. This is their 6th studio album following LM5, which was released in 2018. The girl group won the X Factor back in 2011 and has since been a commercial success.