Little Mix and Jesy Nelson were once inseparable before Jesy left the group and a blackfishing argument ensued
Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jesy Nelson were just teenagers when they were pushed together on The X Factor, which they went on to win as Little Mix.
For nearly a decade, the quartet seemed unbreakable, supporting each other through tough times and difficult times and wrapping themselves in a protective cocoon.
So when Jesy stepped down in December 2020, fans had no reason to believe a jam was brewing.
Indeed, Jesy – who turns 31 today – had nothing but good things to say about her bandmates, explaining that she walked away because of the “toll” on her mental health.
“I find the constant pressure of being in a girl group and living up to expectations very difficult,” she told fans.
Ken McKay/Talkback Thames/REX/Shutterstock)
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“There comes a time in life when we need to reinvest in taking care of ourselves rather than focusing on making others happy, and I feel like now is the time to start that process.”
However, it was later claimed that Perrie, Jade and Leigh-Anne knew nothing of his departure and only found out through their lawyers.
“Jesy left the band without telling the girls or the management,” a source told Mail Online at the time.
“Those around her have been supporting her for ten years and protecting her and are devastated by it all.”
The shocked stars reportedly quickly concocted a statement declaring their love for Jesy, but according to the report, the damage was done.
And when Jesy released the video for her Boyz solo debut, all hell broke loose when Leigh-Anne appeared to accuse her black peach ex-mate in leaked posts with influencer NoHun.
Jesy fired back by responding to the allegations in a live stream with her collaborator Nicki Minaj, who bluntly called Leigh-Anne a “jealous clown”.
Then came Little Mix’s October 2021 single, Cut You Off, which was rumored to be about Jesy.
At one point, Jade sings, “Don’t think I believe you, is the grass over there really any greener?” Are you happy now?
“I know you think you’re all that, it’ll be so sweet when you crawl, but it’s too late now.”
The girls declined to comment on the inspiration for the song, but admitted writing it was “like therapy”.
Jade said, “Cut You Off was written a few months ago. It was kind of like a therapy session actually writing Cut You Off.”
While Perrie added: “You let it all out, it’s a safe space.”
That same month, Jesy confirmed that their friendship was over, admitting that they had cut contact.
“We’re not talking anymore. It’s sad but honestly there’s no bad blood on my side, and I still love them to bits and sincerely wish them all the best,” she told the Graham Norton Show.
“I loved my time with them, and we have the most amazing memories together.”
However, she appeared to be holding an olive branch. Hinting that the breakup might not be permanent and that they might one day find a way to get back together, she added: “It’s just one of those things that has to take time, so who knows.
“To me, they’re still the sickest girl group in the world.”
Jesy would go on to apologize for any offense caused in the blackfishing row, telling the Guardian: “I love black culture. I love black music. That’s all I know; that’s what I grew up. I’m very aware that I’m a white British woman; I never said I wasn’t.”
But the girls had their own side of the story to add, claiming that while Jesy was still in the band they warned her about blackfishing – a term used to describe a white person claiming to have an inheritance. black.
“Capitalizing on aspects of blackness without having to endure the day-to-day realities of the black experience is problematic and detrimental to people of color,” Jade told the Independent.
“We believe that it is absolutely not acceptable to use harmful stereotypes. There is so much to say on this subject that it is difficult to summarize in one sentence.
Insisting that they wanted to move on, Jade said they ‘didn’t want to linger’ but added that the group had already approached Jesy in a ‘very friendly and very educational way’ to warn him of black fishing.
It’s a sad end to what was once an enduring friendship where milestones were celebrated as a foursome. Perrie and Leigh-Anne have since become mothers and Little Mix played their last gig as a band in May before going on hiatus.
The trio couldn’t hold back their tears as they bid farewell to the crowds at London’s O2 Arena.
“We laughed together, we cried together,” Jade sobbed.
“We met through some of the darkest times of our lives and created some of the most incredible memories, and we love each other so much.”
A tearful Perrie added, “I have to contain myself because this is going to be, like, a really ugly scream!
“The love we have for each other is ridiculous.
“I want to take this moment to say to Jade and Leigh-Anne, I love you more than anything – and I can’t thank you enough for the last ten years of my life.”
There was no mention of Jesy, who was returning to London from Los Angeles, where she had spent two months working on her debut album.
She, too, was in tears – but for a different reason – posting an emotional image of herself and a crying friend with the caption: “We laughed, we cried, we did it all baby girl.”
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