Jesy Nelson is an English singer who gained fame as part of the British girl group Little Mix. Nelson left Little Mix in December 2020, citing mental health struggles as the reason for her departure. Little Mix made X Factor history in 2011 by becoming the first group to win the competition.
Unfortunately, Nelson became the target of insistent online bullying, mostly due to her weight. The abuse drove her to attempt suicide in 2013. Before performances or video shoots, Jesy would starve herself before binge eating.
Jesy’s mom struggled financially after completing her divorce from Jesy’s dad
Jesy Nelson was born on 14th June 1991 in Romford, East London, to John and Janice Nelson. John is a businessman, and Janis is a Police Community Support Officer. Jesy grew up alongside an older brother Jonathan, an older sister Jade, and a younger brother Joseph.
John and Janice separated when Jesy was five. The separation complicated Janice’s financial situation as she gained custody of the children. In the BBC documentary Odd One Out, Janice said:
“I remember we moved away and we rented a house and slept on mattresses. We couldn’t afford a fridge, so I put milk out in the garden. It was like that for a long time.”
According to a 2016 report by The Sun, Jesy and her father are estranged. In the report, the publication stated that John had been arrested after a man was killed in a hit-and-run crash involving John’s Range Rover. The Sun claimed that Jesy didn’t make any effort to reach out to him.
Janice helped Jesy overcome the trials of online bullying
In 2011, Little Mix etched their name in the history books by becoming the first group to win X-Factor. It took a few weeks for Janice to get over the shock of her daughter’s amazing achievement. Janice told Romford Recorder:
“They have done absolutely amazing and it is so well deserved because they worked so hard for it. They are all pinching themselves about winning because they were underdogs from the off and now they have made X Factor history. All the way through they said they didn’t believe in their wildest dreams they could get this far.”
Unfortunately, the euphoria quickly turned to despair for Jesy and her family, as online bullying sent her on a downward spiral that almost resulted in suicide. Jesy saw her daughter through the toughest of times and didn’t want Jesy’s struggles publicized in BBC’s Odd One Out. “My mom is terrified of making this documentary,” Jesy said. “She cried the other day.”
Janice lamented that she ‘lost her daughter to social media’ and wishes that life could go back to the way it was before X Factor. She confessed to being the band’s biggest fan but regretted that she allowed Jesy to audition. Janice said:
“I’m the loudest cheerer in the crowd. But as much as I love all that, and people must think how you can say that, if I could have my Jes back as she was before I’d change it like that. Not have the X Factor and any of that. Because I miss her. I just kind of feel like I’ve lost Jess to social media. Addicted to what people are saying.”
Thanks to her mom, Jesy found a way to cope with the negativity. “My mum saw me at some of my lowest moments after winning X Factor,” Jesy wrote alongside a September 2019 Instagram photo of herself and Janice. “She was so nervous about me making my documentary #OddOneOut but she’s seen me go on such a journey since filming it. She’s a massive part of this film and I feel so incredibly lucky to have such an amazing mum.”
Jesy blames her absent father for her attraction to bad boys
Jesy has blamed her absent father for her attraction to bad boys. She claims that the lack of strong male role models in her life causes her to make the wrong dating decisions. Per The Mirror, Jesy explained:
“Growing up, my dad wasn’t around. My dad wasn’t the best, he was in and out of prison, so I haven’t had many good men role models in my life, so maybe that’s where it stems from. When I see someone that looks a bit naughty, I am instantly drawn to them, and it’s not good. If someone has a gold tooth, I literally fall in love.”
Nelson stated that she can’t resist ‘naughty’ men. She is currently rumored to have gotten back together with her former flame Harry James.
Per Jesy’s comments, it is unlikely that she has reconciled with her estranged father.
Nelson has faced criticism from fans for blackfishing
Fans have stained Jesy Nelson’s long-awaited musical comeback by accusing her of blackfishing. The term describes attempts by white individuals to appear black or culturally ambiguous.
In the music video for Boyz, Jesy appears with a tanned complexion and dreadlocks. In an interview with Vulture, Jesy questioned why she never experienced such criticism as part of Little Mix. She said:
“The whole time I was in Little Mix, I never got any of that. And then I came out of [the band] and people all of a sudden were saying it. I wasn’t on social media around that time, so I let my team [deal with it], because that was when I’d just left.”
Jesy confessed her love for Black culture but acknowledged her white ethnicity. “I mean, like, I love Black culture,” Nelson said. “I love Black music. That’s all I know; it’s what I grew on. I’m very aware that I’m a white British woman; I’ve never said that I wasn’t.”