Jesy Nelson opens up on Little Mix departure: “I found it so hard to just be happy”

Little Mix‘s Jesy Nelson has opened up on the exact moment she realised she was going to leave the group.

Nelson, who joined the band during their formation on The X Factor in 2011, announced her departure in December.

Speaking in a new interview with Cosmopolitan, Nelson explained how being in the group had adversely affected her mental health.

Nelson said that her decision to leave Little Mix was made after she suffered a panic attack while filming the music video for ‘Sweet Melody’.

“I immediately became a different person,” Nelson said. “I had anxiety. Whenever we had a music video, I put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to try and lose weight.”

Describing the moment as “breaking point”, Nelson went on: “I’d been in lockdown, and I’d put on a bit of weight but I didn’t care. And they said, ‘You’ve got a music video in a couple of weeks’ and I just panicked.

“I went on this extreme diet, with bloody shakes, and tried to eat as little as possible. On the day of the ‘Sweet Melody’ video I had a panic attack on set because I didn’t look how I wanted to look and I found it so hard to just be happy and enjoy myself.”

Nelson explained that she was “sobbing in the dressing room” and a close friend advised her to quit.

“For so long I worried about other people and letting people down,” she said. “The only person I should have been trying to make happy was myself and I wasn’t doing that. I needed to do it for my mental health.”

Nelson is now focusing on her own solo material, while Little Mix – comprised of Perrie Edwards, Jade Thirlwall and Leigh-Anne Pinnock – have continued as a three piece.

For help and advice on mental health:

  • ‘Am I depressed?‘ – Help and advice on mental health and what to do next
  • Help Musicians UK – Around the clock mental health support and advice for musicians
  • Music Support Org – Help and support for musicians struggling with alcoholism, addiction, or mental health issues
  • YOUNG MINDS – The voice for young people’s health and wellbeing
  • CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably for young men
  • Time To Change – Let’s end mental health discrimination
  • The Samaritans – Confidential support 24 hours a day