After nine years, Jesy Nelson is leaving Little Mix.

It’s not entirely a surprise, given that the 29-year-old singer announced she was taking an “extended break” from the group for medical reasons in November.

She formally announced her decision to part ways with the girl group on Monday (December 14) in a note on social media.

“To all my Mixers, the past nine years in Little Mix has been the most incredible time of my life. We have achieved things I never thought possible. From winning our first Brit Award to our sold out shows at the 02. 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. The truth is recently being in the band has really taken a toll on my mental health. I find the constant pressure of being in a girl group and living up to expectations very hard. There comes a time in life when we need to reinvest in taking care of ourselves rather than focussing on making other people happy, and I feel like now is the time to begin that process. So after much consideration and with a heavy heart, I’m announcing I’m leaving Little Mix. I need to spend some time with the people I love, doing things that make me happy. ready to embark on a new chapter in my life – I’m not sure what it’s going to look like right now, but I hope you’ll still be there to support me. I want to say thank you to everyone involved in our journey. All the hard work and dedication that went into making us a success. 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. Most of all I want to say thank you to Jade, Perrie and Leigh-Anne for creating some of the most amazing memories i’ll never forget. I hope that you’ll continue to fulfill all of your dreams and keep on making music that people love. Love Jesy x.”

Of course, there are no hard feelings on Little Mix’s end.

The group wrote their own message confirming the news at the same time, along with a reassurance to fans that they’re not stopping anytime soon.

“After an amazing 9 years together Jesy has made the decision to leave Little Mix. This is an incredibly sad time for all of us but we are fully supportive of Jesy. We love her very much and agree that it is so important that she does what is right for her mental health and well-being. We are still very much enjoying our Little Mix journey and the 3 of us are not ready for it to be over. We know that Jesy leaving the group is going to be really upsetting news for our fans. We love you guys so much and are so grateful for your loyalty and continued support of all of us. We’re looking forward to seeing so many of you on tour. Love always, Jade, Perrie and Leigh-Anne xxx.”

While no doubt incredibly painful for the fans, there’s equally no doubt that this is the right decision.

Jesy’s been candid about her mental health struggles within the group for years now – she even did whole documentary about her cyberbullies and their effect on her mental health. More recently, she suffered a panic attack in the middle of a live radio set. Clearly, she needs the time to step away and reclaim her happiness.

That doesn’t make it any less sad of a decision, of course. And even though her reasoning for leaving is far from that of Geri‘s own (get well soon, Geri), anyone who grew up with the Spice Girls knows exactly how this day feels for the Mixers out there.

Girl groups are beautiful, volatile lightning-in-a-bottle moments in pop culture (especially ones put together on a singing competition TV series!), and Little Mix have managed to have an incredible, near-decade long run in their original formation. They should all be proud of themselves. And while yes, it’s the end of an era, this isn’t the end for anyone.

Here’s to Jesy having the time and space to find her footing again, and to Little Mix to carry on as the fierce trio they now are.

Little Mix’s latest studio album, Confetti, is out now on vinyl.

Beatsway

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Publisher: Bradley Stern