Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall has opened up on the toll Jesy Nelson’s departure from the band had on the group, revealing they all had therapy to deal with the massive change in their lives.
The chart-topping band were a foursome – also made up of Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Perrie Edwards – until Jesy announced her exit in December last year, saying the high-profile role had ‘taken a toll’ on her mental health.
Speaking about Jesy’s decision to leave the group, Jade admitted it was a ‘really tough experience’ and that the remaining members had sought therapy to help process the news.
Appearing on the December cover of Gay Times, Jade said: ‘I think for anyone, when such a big change happens in your life, and you’ve been so used to a certain situation for so long, it’s really hard.
‘Getting through that and moving forward. I think for us as well, we were still promoting the album at the time and doing TV shows.
‘We were just cracking on as it were, and I think we were in a bit of shock for a long time because we just had to keep going.
‘It wasn’t until we had some time off at Christmas that it suddenly dawned on us what had happened.
‘It was hard. It would have been for anyone and we’ve got each other, we have group therapy, we have our own therapists, and you do what you can.
‘We’re really stronger than ever. I would say that this year with the girls having their kids, it just puts everything into perspective of what’s important in life.
‘We know that no matter what, we’re gonna have each other through anything.’
The singer added it was ‘really beautiful’ to see her bandmates pursuing solo projects but the girl band will ‘always be there’, as she dismissed reports suggesting the remaining three members of the group are on the verge of splitting.
Since Jesy’s departure, Leigh-Anne has fronted a BBC documentary about colourism and race, while Perrie is working on a fashion brand called Disora. Both also welcomed their first babies earlier this year: twins for Leigh-Anne and fiance Andre Gray, while Perrie and boyfriend Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain welcomed a son, Axel.
On top of that, Little Mix released a greatest hits album, Between Us, marking 10 years since their formation on The X Factor.
She explained: ‘I think no matter what happens, Little Mix will always be there. I think the past couple years, we have started to delve into doing our own little things. That’s been really beautiful to see.
‘I think initially in the first few years, all of us were terrified at the thought of doing something for yourself. One, because you just get so used to having each other and two, you know what the press are like, the minute one person does something they say, “Oh, what’s happening?”
‘So for such a long time we were all quite scared of any of us doing anything individually. But then when we started to do it, we said “Oh, this is really lovely actually” because as an individual you’re then getting the opportunity to show the public a bit more about yourself and what you’re actually passionate about.’
Adding the group has ‘really managed to get that balance right’ in the past year, Jade noted they ‘want to see each other win’.
She added that the band had never considered splitting when Jesy announced her departure, saying: ‘It wasn’t a question.
‘Absolutely was not a question. We’re too close and we can’t survive without each other. Genuinely, we are literally family.
‘There was not a doubt in our mind that we would continue as a three. Obviously so glad that we have because what a year we’ve had, and will continue to have years and years to come.
‘So I can’t imagine never not having Little Mix in my life. Whatever form it is.’
Gay Times Honours will be held on Friday November 19 at Magazine London.
Tickets are available online.
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