Formerly one fourth of the most successful girl group of the 2010s, Jesy Nelson made waves last year when she announced her official departure from Little Mix due to mental health reasons. Now, she's opening up about her reasoning behind leaving the group in her first big push as a solo artist with The Guardian - and it sounds like the decision wasn't entirely hers.
Speaking about whether her mental health issues made it tough for the other girls over the years, Nelson said, "Of course. Course. We’ve all had our own problems. But it’s never nice to be around someone who’s down and doesn’t want to be there. As much as I needed to come out of it for myself, I didn’t want to keep putting three other people through that as well."
And when asked specifically about the lead-up to her ultimate departure, Nelson went into even more detail:
"I was having these panic attacks out of nowhere. I couldn’t understand what was happening. It got to the point where I thought, this is too much – I need to come out of this now."
Nelson has been calm, but starts to cry. “I did the music video and had a panic attack, and it was pretty mental that day. God, I haven’t really spoken about it and I’m getting upset. Sorry.” She brushes her tears away. “After the video I just got back in a really dark place and ended up back in hospital. That was when my mum said, ‘No more.’” The tears are still falling, and she grabs another tissue. “I had already decided. Then the girls spoke to Mum and said, ‘We think Jesy should come out of this now. She has to look after herself.’” So in the end it was their decision as much as hers? “Yeah,” she says. “Yeah. I know there are people who think I’ve let the other girls down, and that I’m so selfish, but I do think there comes a time in life when you do have to be selfish and look after yourself, and it was really affecting me mentally.”
“Certain people on my team didn’t care.” She comes to a stop. “I’m not talking about the girls. There were people on my team who knew how I was feeling and didn’t give a ****. They just weren’t bothered.” She means management? “Yep. There was an energy when I walked into a room. I felt there were certain people on my team who just didn’t want me to be there.”
But although times may have been difficult between her and the other three girls, Nelson is confident that the group will have continued success without her. “I reckon they’ll look after their babies, go off and do their own things for a while, then make a comeback together. I think they’re just as sick as a three. They’re still doing it for girl power. I still love them to pieces. They were like my sisters.”
Long-lost sisters, perhaps. When asked if she still keeps in touch with the girls still performing as Little Mix, Nelson responded in the negative. “No, not as much. Not now. I think we all need time. It’s a big thing that’s happened. What I’ve said about a million times is that I never said I’m coming out of the band to never be in the public eye again. I said I’m coming out of Little Mix because I could not deal with the pressure of being in a girl band, not that I can’t deal with the pressures of being in the spotlight or being famous.”
Time will tell how her solo career turns out.
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