Jesy Nelson has announced that she has left Little Mix after nine years in order to focus on her mental health.
The 29-year-old abruptly pulled out of the girl group's commitments last month citing "private medical reasons", with the expectation that she would take some time off before rejoining Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards and Leigh-Anne Pinnock at some point in 2021.
In a lengthy statement on Instagram today, Nelson revealed that she has decided to leave Little Mix permanently and explained her reasons why.
"The past nine years in Little Mix has been the most incredible time of my life," she wrote. "We have achieved things I never thought possible. From winning our first Brit Award to our sold out shows at the O2 [and] 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. I'm 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."
Of her bandmates, who will continue on as a trio, she said: "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 fulfil all of your dreams and keep on making music that people love."
In a statement on social media the group said: "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."
The group are due to tour the UK and Ireland in support of their latest album Confetti next April and May, coronavirus restrictions permitting.