Former S Club 7 singer Jo O'Meara has spoken of her empathy for Little Mix star Jesy Nelson, saying she felt like she was "the ugly one" in the group.
Nelson, who quit Little Mix in December 2020, has spoken openly about being body-shamed by social media trolls in the years since the group won The X Factor in 2011.
O'Meara, who was just 19 years old when S Club 7 was formed in 1998, said she had to deal with comments about her body image throughout her career.
"Because I was standing next to three absolutely stunning girls, I was always ‘the ugly one that sang the songs’," she told The Sun.
Watch: Jesy Nelson reveals she bullied herself over weight
O'Meara added: “It made me feel very insecure as a singer and as part of that group. I did have a hell of a lot of insecurities to overcome.
"Obviously there wasn’t social media back then. But the headlines would be ‘Fat Club 7’ and ‘Flab Club 7’ and it would be a photo of me."
The 42-year-old singer confessed she would often hold a cushion in front of her during TV appearances in order to hide her stomach and said body shaming is "a horrible thing to be on the receiving end of".
She added: "I don’t think I overcame those issues for a very long time.
“It’s only now I’ve overcome it, and I can honestly say I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I feel like I know exactly who I am and I’m happy in my skin."
O'Meara revealed she had numerous insecurities during her time as a part of the group, worrying other band members would "hate" her for being chosen to sing lead vocals on most of their hits.
"There were times when I absolutely loved it, of course, and there were times when I absolutely hated it," she admitted. “That was purely from being tired and away from home.”
Read more: S Club 7 star flogs his Brit Awards
S Club 7 split in 2003, but reunited as their original line-up for an arena tour — named after their debut number one single Bring It All Back — in 2015.
O'Meara said there have been "no official meetings or chats" about another reunion and she is focused on her solo work, but confessed that she "can’t predict what’s going to happen in the future".
Watch: S Club 7 stars releasing new music as SC3