Jesy Nelson has opened up about her reasons for leaving Little Mix in December, saying that she spent a decade being “very unhappy”.

During an appearance on the Reign with Josh Smith podcast, the singer revealed that she’s now enjoying her time as a solo artist as she’s no longer bound by the band’s rigorous routines or is compared to her bandmates Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and Jade Thirlwall.

“I don’t think people realise how hard it is to be in a girl band,” she said.

“When it came to little things, like if we had to do a video and everyone had to wear bikinis and I didn’t want to wear a bikini because I felt like s**t, I couldn’t not. Because then if I was to wear, I don’t know, trousers and a top, people would be like, ‘Why is Jesy wearing trousers and a top?’ And then I would get loads of s**t for it.

She continued: “It’s just the little things like that, that would make me feel trapped. And I know that can sound quite dramatic, but I feel like unless you’re in it, you won’t ever understand it.

“And it was just the constant comparison every single day that was hard and that eventually, after 10 years, takes a massive toll on your mental health.”

The 30-year-old also said she had reached the point of exhaustion as the Little Mix “machine” never stops.

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“I feel like now I’ve obviously got a lot more freedom. Being in Little Mix is literally like a machine. You don’t have any time off. You can’t switch off,” she shared.

“Even when you go home, your phone is constantly going off about work and your life is planned out.”

Jesy, who has discussed her mental health struggles in the documentary Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out, said that her “breaking point” came when she had a panic attack won the set of the music video for ‘Sweet Melody’.

“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,” Jesy said of her newfound freedom since her departure from Little Mix.

Despite Jesy’s exit from the hugely popular girl group, there’s no bad blood between the girls, with Thirlwall, Edwards and Pinnock all expressing support for Nelson 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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