Jesy Nelson has revealed the real reason she decided to quit Little Mix.

The star opened up on her decision to step away from the chart-topping pop group which was formed on The X Factor.

Jesy explained how she reached “breaking point” during a video shoot for their song Sweet Melody.

The singer, 29, quit in December after nine years in the X Factor-formed group, saying the high-profile role had “taken a toll” on her mental health.

Her former bandmates, Jade Thirlwall, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Perrie Edwards, voiced their support, later announcing that they would continue to record and perform as a trio.

In an interview and cover shoot with Cosmopolitan magazine, Nelson recalled how after spending lockdown with family she put “enormous” pressure on herself to lose weight ahead of the shoot.

Jesy who has spoken out about her mental health and online trolling before in a BBC documentary called ‘Odd One Out’ described the moment she felt she had to step back.

She said: “We’d been in lockdown, and it was the first time I could have a break and be at home around people that I love. It was the happiest I’d ever felt and I didn’t realise that until I went back to work. I immediately became a different person.

“I had anxiety. Whenever we have a music video, I put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to try and lose weight. I have a fear of looking back on the camera. If I don’t like what I see, I find it so hard to be in front of the camera and feel amazing and perform.

“I’d been in lockdown, and I’d put on a bit of weight, but I didn’t care. And they said, ‘you’ve got a music video in a couple of weeks’ and I just panicked. I went on this extreme diet, with bloody shakes, and tried to eat as little as possible.

“On the day of the Sweet Melody video I had a panic attack on set because I didn’t look how I wanted to look and I found it so hard to just be happy and enjoy myself.

“There’s a scene in Sweet Melody I’m not in because that’s when I had a panic attack and broke down. I was like, ‘I just want to go home.’”

Wiltshire Times: Jesy Nelson with Little Mix (David Parry/PA)Jesy Nelson with Little Mix (David Parry/PA)

She added: “For me that was the pinnacle point. I was like, ‘I need to start taking care of myself now because this isn’t healthy.’ It wasn’t nice for the other three to be around someone who didn’t want to be there. So I took a break.

“For so long I worried about other people and letting people down. The only person I should have been trying to make happy was myself and I wasn’t doing that. I needed to do it for my mental health because I know I would have ended up back where I was five years ago, and that’s scary…”

Little Mix formed on The X Factor in 2011 and have become one of the country’s biggest-selling girlbands.