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The singer – who announced she had quit Little Mix in December last year – first joined the band after they formed on The X Factor in 2011.
In a new interview with The Guardian, the singer hit out at the ITV series for not offering support to her when she was being trolled online.
“When I was struggling, I didn’t feel there was anyone I could talk to,” said Nelson. “We were babies: Perrie [Edwards] was 17, I was 20.”
The Romford-born musician added that she hopes “programmes like this are now taking more responsibility”.
She said: “It’s so important because nobody prepares you for what you’re about to go through.”
Asked what type of support she feels should be offered by a reality series such as The X Factor, Nelson responded: “I think they should have a therapist there and – whether you like it or not – while you’re in that process you have to go and see them.”
Speaking about the abuse she received on social media during her time on The X Factor, the 30-year-old said: “The first thing I read about myself was, ‘Is it me or does that girl look disabled?’ The next one said, ‘God her face looks deformed.’
“When you’ve never had any issues with your face and then realise people are saying these things about you… You think if everyone is saying it, it must be true.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Nelson said that her decision to leave Little Mix was as much the band’s decision as it was her own.
Nelson is set to release her first solo single, however, a release date is yet to be announced.
Last month, ITV confirmed that there are “no current plans” to bring back The X Factor, effectively cancelling the show after 17 years.
If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.
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