The 30-year-old singer – who announced in December 2020 she was leaving the girl band after nine years for the sake of her mental health – has defended her decision to pursue a solo career and continue living in the spotlight.
Nelson told Reign With Josh Smith: "“I feel a lot of people think that it’s selfish I’ve left the group. I really didn’t want to upset people and I didn’t want people to think that about me, but I don’t care any more.
“It was 10 years of my life that I was very unhappy with and I needed to take myself out of that and genuinely do what’s going to make me happy.
“Some people may not understand that, but you live once and you have to do what makes you happy.
“Being in Little Mix is literally like a machine. You don’t have any time off. You can’t switch off.
“Even when you go home, your phone is constantly going off about work and your life is planned out.”
The Love Me Like You singer is due to release Boyz, a new single with Nicki Minaj.
She insisted it was not fame or music that had put pressure on her mental health, but working as a member of a group.
Nelson said: “I don’t think people realise how hard it is to be in a girlband. There’s a lot that comes with it that people don’t know about.
"And obviously I don’t get to make my own decisions. Three people have to agree as well, so there would always be disagreements on certain things.”
But she added: I had honestly the most incredible memories with Little Mix. We laughed so much, they are, they’re like my sisters... They are the best girlband in the world.”
Nelson found fame after being put into Little Mix – along with Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards and Leigh-Anne Pinnock – during the Bootcamp stages of The X Factor in 2011. The group went on to win the TV talent show.
After Nelson announced last year she was leaving, the rest of the group decided to keep working together as a trio.
Nelson revealed she decided to quit after suffering another panic attack while filming the video for their 2020 single Sweet Melody.
She has spoken in the past about the online abuse she has received from trolls on social media, and the knock-on effects on her mental health.
Last year she won the National Television Award for for Best Factual Entertainment show for her 2018 BBC documentary about social media trolling, Odd One Out.
In it, she confessed she had tried to kill herself because she was brought to such a low point by online trolls.
Watch: Jesy Nelson spotted filming new music video