Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jesy Nelson’s strained relationship appears to have hit boiling point this week.
On Monday night, Jesy was slammed by Little Mix fans as they accused her of sitting back and laughing while Nicki Minaj went on an explosive rant at Leigh-Anne’s expense on an Instagram Live.
It had stemmed from leaked DMs appearing to show Leigh-Anne encouraging an influencer to take down Jesy in a video, calling her “horrible”.
But their feud appears to have bubbling under the surface for years, with rumours of a feud between the band swirling for years before Jesy quit last December.
The rumours began back in 2017 when Perrie Edwards shared a picture to Instagram of all of the band on a red carpet with Jesy cut out, and she said it was because Jesy didn’t like any of the pictures of herself.
That same year they were seen on a night out without Jesy, but they claimed it was because she was spending time with her boyfriend at the time.
Jesy said on Instagram: “So we just want to address the situation of the friendship between me and Perrie. Do you think I’d be lying alone in her bed if I wasn’t friends with her?”
In 2018, two years before she left, Jesy addressed rumours she was quitting Little Mix.
“Absolutely not. Until it comes from us I wouldn’t believe anything you read,” Jesy told a fan.
In 2020, Jade insisted that the band’s only disagreements were over their preferred songs.
She told Planet Radio : “Obviously sometimes we disagree on who prefers what songs the most, but we are pretty much on the same page and, at the end of the day, we all want to have a song that we love so we all have to be happy.”
At the end of 2019, Perrie addressed rumours that there had been tension in the band.
“Do you know what, we’ve always had rumours in the past eight years,” Perrie said, according to the Daily Star. “We love each other.”
Just a few months later, Jade also told the MailOnline that the group remain good friends.
Jade added: “We literally never fight. We’re really boring when it comes to that.”
Getty Images for Bauer Media)
“I can’t see us ever feuding. Or [if they ever split] getting back together without one of us being involved,’ Jade told the publication.
“People know we’re friends. It’s not fake with us, you can just tell.”
But Jesy began missing more appearances, concerts and was absent from some sections of the video for Sweet Melody, which was released in November.
In December 2020, Jesy announced she was leaving Little Mix, saying her time in the band took its toll on her mental health.
She said in her statement: “I want to say thank you to Jade, Perrie and Leigh-Anne for creating some of the most amazing memories I’l neve forget. I hope that you’ll continue to fulfil all of your dreams and keep making music that people love. Love Jesy.”
In a separate statement, the remaining Little Mix girls said: “We love her very much and agree that it is so important that she does what is right for her mental health and well-being.
“We are still very much enjoying our Little Mix journey and the 3 of us are not ready for it to be over.”
Back in May, Leigh-Anne released her documentary Race, Pop & Power, and she said she had asked for Jesy’s advice about making the film, as she’d released her own show called Odd One Out.
She told the Guardian : “I spoke to her about how it was for her. Being open and being vulnerable is such a hard thing to do.”
But when the film came out, Jesy was slammed by Little Mix fans for failing to address it publicly or voice her support for Leigh-Anne.
In March Jesy announced she would be releasing solo music soon, and there were claims that the remaining Little Mix singers were annoyed that she’d said she wanted a break but was back recording so soon.
In August it was reported that the former bandmates now only communicate through lawyers.
It was also claimed that there was tension over Jesy’s new music, with fears that it would sound just like Little Mix music.
That month, Leigh-Anne and Perrie gave birth to their first children within days of each other, but Jesy didn’t congratulate either of them publicly.
Her single Boyz came out in October and Jesy was criticised for blackfishing – a term to describe a white person who alters their appearance to appear black or mixed-race – in the music video.
Around this time, all of Jesy’s former Little Mix bandmates unfollowed her on Instagram.
It was the same month Jesy insisted that she still had a lot of love for the girls.
She told Guardian: “I still love them to pieces. They were like my sisters.”
But when she was asked if she had been in touch with them she replied: “No, not as much. Not now. I think we all need time. It’s a big thing that’s happened.”
Then Leigh-Anne was accused of slating Jesy in leaked DMs sent to Instagram user No Hun.
NoHun had asked fans if he should perform a routine to Jesy’s debut solo track and Leigh-Anne replied saying “no”.
“Omg Leigh Anne I thought you were all ok,” he replied, to which Leigh-Anne said: “Do a video about her being a black fish instead.”
She added: ‘She blocked us. Cut us off. Horrible person.”
Later that day Jesy did her Instagram Live with Nicki Minaj, who went on a lengthy rant about Leigh-Anne.
Nicki called Leigh-Anne “jealous” and a “clown” and Jesy failed to defend her former bandmate.
The rapper said: “Immediately that person has to wear a big red clown nose and big clown boots because you’re a big f**ing clown.”
She went on: “Sweetheart take them text messages and shove it up ur f**king a**, because when you do clown s**t I gotta treat you and talk to you like you’re a clown.”
Nicki continued: “It screams insecurity, it screams that you’re jealous, only jealous people do things like this and now you just look like a big jealous bozo.”
Jesy then took her turn to speak, saying: “Thank you babe, honestly that really means a lot.
“While we’re on this subject I personally want to say my intention was never ever to offend people of colour with this video and my song.
“Like I said when I was a young girl this is the music that I listened to, these are the videos I watched and thought were the best.”
Jesy Nelson Instagram)
She continued: “I just wanted to celebrate that era of music because it’s what I love, my intentions were never ever to offend anyone.
“It does really hurt me that I may have offended people and hurt people’s feelings by genuinely celebrating things that I love.”
She even claimed that Leigh-Anne once asked her if she was mixed-race because she tans easily.
Jesy said: “Leigh-Anne even said to me in the group ‘Are you sure you’re not mixed-race because you go darker than me in the sun?’”
Leigh-Anne is yet to respond to the rant, but Jesy was slammed for failing to defend her.