Little Mix's Perrie Edwards diagnosed with life-altering condition after fire as child

Perrie Edwards
-Credit: (Image: INSTAGRAM)

Little Mix's Perrie Edwards has opened up about the dangers of living without a sense of smell, a condition that once put her life at risk.

The pop star was diagnosed with congenital anosmia after a fire broke out in her family home in South Shields and she failed to notice due to her inability to detect the smell of burning.

Perrie, who is set to celebrate her 31st birthday next week, shared: "I couldn't smell it. Our kitchen had set on fire. I saw the black smoke come under the door. And then I started coughing because it takes your breath away."

Thankfully, Perrie and her family were unharmed, but the incident prompted her mother to seek medical advice.

After undergoing tests, doctors confirmed she had been born without a sense of smell, a rare condition affecting around 1 in 10,000 people, reports the Mirror.

Following surgery, Perrie experienced a brief moment of olfactory sensation. "I had surgery, came out, had big tampons in my nose, recovered for a while. And then I swear to God I could smell coffee. I woke up and smelled the coffee."

But the newfound ability was short-lived, and she was soon back to not smelling anything at all.

Despite being advised she needed another operation, Perrie chose not to undergo the procedure again.

"I was like, I'm not going through that again. I don't care. If I had it and lost it, fair enough. But I've never had it, so why care?"

Despite having no sense of smell, Perrie remains a true food lover. Speaking on The Dish From Waitrose podcast, she shared her challenges of maintaining a healthy diet while on tour: "I'll be like, I'm eating healthy, nobody talk to me, and then I'm like, Five Guys, what's going on? I literally, I'm a foodie and I do try to eat healthy."

Perrie Edwards performing at Capital Summer Time Ball 2024
Perrie Edwards performing at Capital Summer Time Ball 2024 -Credit:DAILY MIRROR

The band member has also participated in a Come Dine With Me-style YouTube series 'Eat In With Little Mix', along with Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards, and Jesy Nelson, displaying their culinary skills during their successful pop career.

Little Mix skyrocketed to fame following their win of The X Factor in 2011, delivering chart-toppers such as 'Black Magic' and 'Shout Out to My Ex'.

Nevertheless, the band decided to go on hiatus in 2021, a move described by Perrie as them putting their "put their foot down".

She explained that it wasn't an abrupt decision to chase a solo career: "I don't think it was like an overnight 'I'm gonna go solo now', because I never knew what I would do in my future."

According to her, it was more about taking a well-deserved rest: "I just knew that Little Mix had me tired. We love each other and we're so supportive of each other and we just want to see each other win."

Perrie reflected, "So it wasn't like, do you know what? You're driving me nuts. I need a break. It was almost like we've done this for so long now, I was seventeen when I was put in the band."

She ended with, "That's all we ever knew in [our] lives was Little Mix."

"I was just so focused on being a mum as well. Just enjoying him and just doing what I loved, and then I started slowly, but surely writing music, recording, and then it kind of just happened."

Perrie confessed that the girls did have concerns about their decision, sharing their boredom in their WhatsApp group.

"We were like, I'm bored. What are you up to today? And Leigh-Anne'd be like, 'I'm actually sick of this.' And Jade's like, 'Yeah, why did we push for this again? '".

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Liverpool posing for a photograph with Perrie Edwards and their baby boy at the end of the Premier League match between Liverpool and Wolverhampton
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Liverpool posing for a photograph with Perrie Edwards and their baby boy at the end of the Premier League match between Liverpool and Wolverhampton -Credit:Liverpool FC via Getty Images

However, they agreed they had to see it through - and soon they all found exciting new projects to immerse themselves in.

Over the past year and a half, Perrie has been working on her debut solo album, set to be released later this year.

Her first solo single, Forget About Us, was launched in April, followed by her second single Tears in June.

Perrie describes the solo songwriting process as "like the fastest form of therapy ever."

"I'd be in there with these big songwriters and producers and think, oh, I'll just let you take the lead, and I'll just be like, 'Ooh, yeah, that sounds good'."

"And then as I started becoming more comfortable with the people I was in the room with, I'd walk in in the morning and be like, 'Right, I wrote this down in my notes yesterday, what do you think of this as a concept? What do you think of this as a lyric? ".

"And then I started taking charge a bit more, which I'm not used to doing. And I just really enjoyed it. And if it was like a rubbish idea, I'd be like, alright, cool, like, next one."

However, she confessed that when her ideas didn't pan out, it would "eat her alive".

Among the "big songwriters" she worked with were Ed Sheeran - who she collaborated on two tracks with - and Raye.

"I did a session with Raye, which I was buzzing about. I was like, Oh my gosh, I'm in the same room being creative with Raye, like everything that comes out of her mouth is like incredible to me."

While Perrie's album is very much a solo project, she did get some vocal help from someone very special, her baby son Axel - who she shares with footballer Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Axel's voice can be heard on one of the songs, and Alex has also been there to support Perrie through every stage of her solo journey.

"I think Alex probably knows my album more than I do! " she laughs. "He's so supportive. He knows everything like inside out."

"If a demo comes back and they've changed something, he's like, where's the guitar gone? Where's that gone? And I'm like, wow."

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