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Jesy Nelson leaves Little Mix after nine years with the group

Jesy Nelson, one-fourth of the British girl group Little Mix, announced her departure from the quartet as of Monday on her official Instagram account. This comes after the singer took an extended break from the group for “private medical reasons.”

Reflecting on nine years

Little Mix first formed in 2011 as a product of the UK version of the X-Factor. After winning—and becoming the first group to win—the competition, the girls released six albums, embarked on six tours together and also held their own competition show, Little Mix The Search.

In her announcement, Nelson looked back on the last nine years that she spent with the group.

“We have achieved things I never thought possible,” she said. “From winning our first Brit Award to our sold out shows at the O2. Making friends and fans all over the world I can’t thank you all enough from the bottom of my heart for making me feel like the luckiest girl in the world. You have always been there to support and encourage me and I will never ever forget it.”

She goes on to explain that being in the group took a large toll on her mental health, citing the difficulty of having to live up to certain expectations.

Nelson also said that during this time, she needs to focus on the things that will make her happy, like spending time with the people she loves and is ready to begin this new chapter.

She said, “To every single fan who came to see us in concert, who listened to our songs and sung their hearts out, sent me messages and supported me along the way I want you to know I love you all so much and I could never have done this without you and I appreciate it endlessly.”

Of course, she also thanked her fellow members Perrie, Jade and Leigh-Anne for the time they spent together, and hopes that they continue making music together in the future.

The remaining members also posted about Nelson leaving.

‘Odd One Out’

Last year, Nelson released a documentary called Odd One Out. The special, aired by BBC Three, highlighted the singer’s bouts with mental health, online harassment and body image.

In the special, she spoke about her “almost obsession” with reading comments about herself and felt like the whole world hated her; she also said that it got to a point where she almost attempted suicide.

Nelson’s Little Mix bandmates, Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwall talked about how they saw what these words did to Nelson. Thirlwall said that they watched her go from an “amazing, funny girl” to a “broken doll.”

In the doc, Pinnock also said that while Nelson deleting her Twitter account helped her mental health, there was still a lasting impact when it came down to photo and video shoots.

“The trolls took away her love for it and her passion,” she said.

I’ve been a fan of Little Mix since 2012, having the chance to meet them and see them live. They were a large part of my young adulthood, so seeing Jesy leave does sting a bit, but I know it’s the best thing to do for her health.

What internet trolls don’t seem to realize is that celebrities are human beings too; they aren’t invincible from the words or actions that are thrown at them and they can leave lasting impacts on these individuals.

I hope that with her departure from the group, Jesy is able to heal and also find peace within herself again.