Jesy Nelson Recalls Being Part of 'Machine' of Little Mix: 'I Was Really, Truly Unhappy'

The singer left Little Mix in December 2020

Jesy Nelson
Jesy Nelson. Photo: Neil Mockford/GC Images

Nearly one year after leaving Little Mix, Jesy Nelson is finally living life for herself.

The singer, 30, opened up about the difficult decision to walk away from the British girl group in a new interview, and said that she spent a decade being "very unhappy" thanks to the band's rigorous routines.

"I don't think people knew that I was really, truly unhappy for quite a long time, like, 10 years of my life," she said in an episode of Reign with Josh Smith. "Don't get me wrong, I had times when there was moments when I really loved it. But it felt like there was way more times when I was sad than I was happy."

Nelson announced her departure from Little Mix in December 2020, saying at the time that her time with group mates Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards and Leigh-Anne Pinnock had taken a serious toll on her mental health.

Little Mix
Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards.

She told Smith that being a part of Little Mix had been deceivingly difficult, as she rarely had the opportunity to make decisions for herself, regarding everything from music to clothes.

"Being in Little Mix is literally like a machine. You don't have any time off. You can't switch off," she said. "Even when you go home, your phone is constantly going off about work and your life is planned out."

Nelson also grew emotional as she discussed "the little things" that made her "feel trapped," such as having to wear a bikini on a music video shoot even though she "felt like s—."

"I feel like a lot of people think it's selfish that I've left the group, and it really affected me at the start. I really didn't want to upset people and I didn't want people to think that about me," she said. "But I don't care anymore because it was 10 years of my life that I was very unhappy with. And I needed to take myself out of that and genuinely do what's going to make me happy. And some people may not understand that, but you live once, and you have to do what makes you happy."

Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jesy Nelson, Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall of Little Mix
Little Mix in 2018. Gareth Cattermole/MTV 2018/Getty

The singer added that she now feels as though she's finally standing up for herself, something she finds "so liberating."

"I'm actually looking after myself now instead of worrying about what other people think now, and worrying that other people are going to be mad at me or be angry at me and now I'm just like, standing my truth, I'm doing me now," she said.

Nelson, who previously discussed her mental health struggles in a documentary called Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out, revealed in May that her "breaking point" in the group came after she had a panic attack while filming the music video for "Sweet Melody" after lockdown.

She told Cosmopolitan U.K. that she saw her three group mates "having the time of their life," and knew her jealousy off their enjoyment "wasn't normal."

Thirlwall, Edwards and Pinnock expressed their support for Nelson upon her departure with an Instagram note that said they "agree that it is so important that she does what is right for her mental health and well-being."

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