LITTLE Mix were inseparable for almost a decade and became the biggest girl group since the Spice Girls.
Like their ’90s counterparts, their sisterly bond – which they shared after their release on The Shows – helped them.
But singer Leigh-Anne Pinnock has now revealed that all three members of Little Mix secretly sought therapy after Jesy Nelson’s decision to leave the group turned into a PR nightmare with bitter online fan wars and countless reports of power struggles .
The 32-year-old singer says Jesy’s sudden exit from the band in December 2020 left her, Perrie Edwards, 30, and Jade Thirlwall, 30, “traumatized” and needed counseling.
In her forthcoming autobiography, Believe, out tomorrow, Leigh-Anne writes: “It was a complex and painful thing to come to terms with. We all felt it, this pain and sadness. The whole thing felt like a weird breakup and I wasn’t prepared for it.
“I was not prepared for the intensity of these emotions. The whole thing was abrupt and sad and then chaotic, which made it even more painful.”
At the time, 32-year-old Jesy cited issues with her mental health and issues with the pressures of fame as the reason for her departure.
She said: “The truth is that being in the band recently has really affected my mental health.
“The constant pressure of being in a girl group and living up to expectations is very difficult for me.
“There comes a time in life when we need to reinvest in taking care of ourselves instead of focusing on making other people happy.”
A month before Jesy’s exit, the singer caused concern after pulling out of the live finals of BBC talent competition Little Mix: The Search and the Europe Music Awards, where they were due to perform.
In public, the girls poured cold water on mass speculation that things were at breaking point.
However, Jade, Leigh-Anne and Perrie reportedly found out about Jesy’s decision to drop the matter through their lawyers and were all subsequently blocked by Jesy on social media.
The band is taking a break, a decision they made in May 2022, and Leigh-Anne is now planning a solo career.
Finally, Leigh-Anne puts the turbulent time behind her and writes openly: “I have been in therapy throughout my career. When we decided to stop Little Mix, I felt compelled to return. We all did.
“In fact, it happened a little earlier than our break. We were a family, the four of us were like sisters, and had been since we were teenagers. So it is no exaggeration to say that losing a member was a traumatic experience.
“When you have felt so much love and support from another person for so long and then it suddenly disappears, you never fully understand why it hurts.”
Although she was sad about how things turned out, the Shout Out To My Ex singer says one-on-one sessions helped her come to terms with Jesy leaving her.
Leigh-Anne continues: “The therapy has helped me and all of us to process what happened and deal with the emotions surrounding it.” The whole mess is now so far behind me that it’s not even worth commenting on. We have moved on to something even brighter and stronger.”
She uses the book to talk about how proud she is of what she, Perrie and Jade have achieved as a trio. This included a sold-out 25-date arena tour and becoming the first girl group ever to win the British group at the 2021 Brit Awards.
“This experience has brought the three of us even closer together,” she writes.
“We have held on to each other over the last few months. Jade and Perrie were the only people who really knew what it felt like, who knew what we had been through. They just got it.”
In the months following Jesy’s departure, rumors of infighting within the band circulated, and things turned completely ugly in October 2021, when the former Essex barmaid launched her solo career.
Although Jesy has been open about her love of R&B throughout her career, Jesy’s decision to switch her sound to R&B for her debut single Boyz, which featured Nicki Minaj, and to wear braided hair in the accompanying music video sparked accusations of “black fishing.” ” out of.
Jesy has always denied the accusation, insisting the concept was born out of her love for the genre, but apologized for any hurt she may have unintentionally caused.
Leaked Instagram messages between Leigh-Anne and influencer NoHun surfaced online, seemingly depicting Leigh-Anne’s brand Jesy as a “black fish.”
The term is used to imply that someone has altered their appearance to imitate characteristics from black cultures.
The message said: “Make a video about her being a black fish instead.” She blocked us. Cut us off. Terrible person.”
To promote the single, Jesy and Nicki appeared in an Instagram Live session in which the rapper criticized and took aim at Leigh-Anne while Jesy sat awkwardly.
Nicki raged: “Take that text message and shove it up your fucking ass because if you do clown shit I’m going to have to treat you and talk to you like you’re a clown.”
“If you were in this woman’s group and you haven’t talked about this shit for ten years and as soon as you see she put out a video with Nicki Minaj and Puffy (P Diddy), now you’re sending text messages.
“Stop trying to hurt people and destroy their lives and careers. This is how people support their families.” If you want a solo career, baby, just say that. Only jealous people do that.”
Almost immediately, social media exploded and fans on both sides of the debate began warring with each other.
In her new memoir, Leigh-Anne says she experienced crippling fear as she watched the drama while recovering from a C-section after having twins with her now husband, footballer Andre Gray, 32, in August 2021.
She describes the ordeal as “one of the most difficult moments of my career.”
The mother of two writes: “Shortly after my twins were born, I got into a terrible online argument. It was one of the most difficult moments of my career that I can remember.
“I was a new mother struggling with the mental and physical effects of pregnancy and birth, overwhelmed with hormones and emotions, and suffering from severe sleep deprivation, and on top of that, I had to deal with that too.”
She adds that she has now “made peace with what happened and everything that was said about me” – and praises her newborns for giving her a new outlook on life.
Leigh-Anne continues: “It felt really terrible at the moment. Even though I tried to avoid Instagram and Twitter, I kept seeing the comments and debates taking place on all platforms.
“Even when I put my phone away and refused to look at it, I was still left with an underlying fear of what was happening online.
“But then something so beautiful pulled me out of this terrible spiral – one of my babies smiled at me for the first time.
“How could I care what people say about me on Instagram when there is something in the world as rare and magical as my baby’s smile? It does not matter. None of that did it.”
Almost as if she were extending an olive branch to her once best friend and bandmate, Leigh-Anne later adds poignantly that she still cherishes the time Little Mix had as a foursome.
They first found each other in 2011 after all four girls auditioned as solo artists for Simon Cowell’s The X Factor. Long before things went wrong, 12.9 million viewers saw them crowned the winners of the competition – making them the first group ever to win the show.
She writes: “Now I can see that nothing that has happened since the breakup takes anything away from what we had. That love we felt for each other was valid and real, no matter what came next.
“The memories that I hold so dear are true. These experiences helped me develop into the person I am today and none of them will ever be erased.”
Speaking to The Sun in April this year, Jesy admitted she still hasn’t had any contact with the girls.
The Sun also understands it was not informed of the contents of Leigh-Anne’s book ahead of tomorrow’s publication.
But much like her ex-bandmate’s reflections in her new memoir, they echo the thoughts Jesy said during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show amid the fallout of 2021.
Read more on the Irish Sun
Jesy said: “We don’t talk anymore. It’s sad, but honestly, there’s no bad blood on my part and I still love them to bits and sincerely wish them all the best.
“I enjoyed my time with them and we have the most incredible memories together, but it’s just one of those things that takes time, so who knows.”