Jesy Nelson suffered a major panic attack and ended up in hospital shortly before quitting Little Mix.

Jesy Nelson

Jesy Nelson

The 30-year-old singer announced in December that she was leaving the girl band after nine years of being part of the group - which also features Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwall - had "taken a toll" on her mental health.

And for the first time, Jesy has opened up about the "really dark place" she was in and what led her to make the decision to leave.

Just before the 'Power' hitmakers' performance on BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge in October, Jesy suffered a nasty panic attack.

And then, after the girls filmed their music video for 'Sweet Melody', Jesy was admitted to hospital for her mental health and subsequently made the difficult decision to quit.

The star - who opened up about her battle with her body image and the shaming and trolling she faced in the BBC documentary 'Jesy Nelson: My Story' in 2019 - explained how she "got into a state" about wearing a bikini in the promo.

In an interview with The Guardian's Weekend supplement, she said: "I got in such a state about having to lose weight in two weeks and wear a bikini. I went back to work and was really down about myself."

And it was her mother who told her she couldn't go on like this.

Struggling to hold the tears back, she continued: "I did the music video and had a panic attack, and it was pretty mental that day. God, I haven't really spoken about it and I'm getting upset. Sorry.

"After the video, I just got back in a really dark place and ended up back in hospital. That was when my mum said, 'No more.'"

Jesy's bandmates were fully supportive of her decision and she believes they are just as good as a trio.

Speaking about Perrie and Leigh-Anne being pregnant and how she thinks that will impact their future, she said: “I reckon they’ll look after their babies, go off and do their own things for a while, then make a comeback together.

“I think they’re just as sick as a three. They’re still doing it for girl power. I still love them to pieces. They were like my sisters.”

And while there is no bad blood between them, Jesy says she doesn't keep in regular contact with the girls.

When asked if they are as close as they used to be, she replied: “No, not as much. Not now. I think we all need time. It’s a big thing that’s happened.”