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Leigh-Anne Pinnock Speaks of Jesy Nelson Quitting Little Mix

Leigh-Anne Pinnock Recalls the "Traumatic Experience" of Jesy Nelson Quitting Little Mix

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Little Mix seen leaving the Langham Hotel ahead of their performance of BBC Radio One Live Lounge on September 15, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Neil Mockford/GC Images)

It's been almost three years since Jesy Nelson made the decision to leave Little Mix in order to focus on her mental health. Despite the girlband selling over 60 million records worldwide and dominating the charts with hits like "Shout Out to my Ex" and "Black Magic", the foursome became three in December 2020. And now Leigh-Anne Pinnock is talking about the difficult separation in her new memoir, "Believe", released on 27 Oct.

"It was a complex and painful thing to come to terms with. We all felt it, that pain and sadness. The whole thing felt like a weird break-up, and I wasn't prepared for it," she writes, via an extract in The Sun. "I wasn't prepared for the intensity of those emotions. The whole thing was abrupt and sad and then it was messy, which made it even more painful."

"I wasn't prepared for the intensity of those emotions. The whole thing was abrupt and sad and then it was messy, which made it even more painful."

Despite having seemingly been a close group of friends, Nelson's departure was sudden. "We were a family, the four of us were like sisters, and we had been that way since we were teenagers, so it's not an over-exaggeration to say that losing a member was a traumatic experience." Pinnock goes on to explain that she sought therapy to help with the band breakup, as did her fellow bandmates, Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall. "Therapy helped me, helped all of us, process what had happened and manage the emotions that came with it. All of that messiness is now so far behind me that it's not even worth commenting on. We have moved forwards into something even brighter and stronger," Pinnock adds.

Prior to Pinnock's candid reflections, Nelson had divulged to The Sun back in April that she hadn't spoke to her old bandmates since quitting the group.

"I will say this always, your mental health is the most important thing. You only live once so sometimes you have to stop and look after yourself. I needed support and help to overcome that, and there wasn't the time while I was in the band," she said. "I don't have regrets because I had to do what was right for me and I will always cherish the memories I had in Little Mix. So no, we haven't talked since then."

Nelson had been candid about the struggles she endured while in the band, most notably in her 2019 award-winning BBC Three documentary "Odd One Out". Since leaving Little Mix, she has gone on to release music as a solo artist, although the video for her debut single, "Boyz", came under criticism with Nelson accused of "blackfishing" after she appeared to alter her appearance to become more racially ambiguous. Her next single out now, called "Bad Thing", shows an abusive relationship in the video and was made with advice from Women's Aid.

"I'm rooting for all of them. I honestly do wish them all the success as they are all crazy talented."

While Little Mix are currently on hiatus, the three remaining members are still close and are all embarking on solo endeavours. With music in the pipeline for all of them, fashion brands, and beauty deals, as well as mum duties for Pinnock, who is a mum to twins, and Edwards, who is mum to baby Axel, the Little Mix stars are certainly being kept busy.

"Never say never, but I honestly wish them the best on their solo journeys now, which is so exciting. That is what is so exciting about all of us. We are all musically different," Nelson says. "We will all go in our own lane. I'm rooting for all of them. I honestly do wish them all the success as they are all crazy talented."

The relationship between Thirlwall, Edwards, and Pinnock, continues to be strong, with the three regularly showing support for each other on social media, while Nelson's experience of being in the band was wildly different. "Being in a girl band, you are a machine going all the time. You don't have a minute to breathe and take time out if you just need space. That was something I struggled with," she said. "For me my mental health issues were an ongoing thing while I was in Little Mix. I was struggling with my body issues, I was constantly being trolled and I really, really struggled. I was in it for nearly ten years. I think I was never prepared for what was to come. I didn't have social media or any of that. I was just a barmaid working in Dagenham."

Nelson is not the first to struggle with the perils of fame. Ed Sheeran discusses his own mental health in a Disney+ documentary, while Lewis Capaldi got candid in his Netflix film about his anxiety and the pressures of producing a second album. Yet, Nelson has been going to therapy and has been working through her problems. "Whenever you are at a low point, you always think, do what makes you happy — and music is what makes me happy and that is all I want to do," she added. "There was a time where I thought, 'Is it worth it?' But I always come back to the fact that I love music so much. It is what makes me so happy."

Image Source: Getty / Neil Mockford
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