LITTLE Mix's explosive feud has left fans reeling – but it has been fiercely bubbling away under the surface for some time.
Relations between Jesy Nelson and her ex-bandmates – Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwall – had already soured a year ago.
But this week, things reached fever pitch.
Jesy's new pal Nicki Minaj, who features on her debut solo single Boyz, has got involved in the drama and cranked the heat right up.
Following accusations that Jesy has been 'blackfishing', the US rapper called Leigh-Anne a "f***ing clown" during a live stream…all while Jesy sat and giggled.
Little Mix fans have accused US rapper Nicki of "bullying" Leigh-Anne as a result and are sat poised, waiting for the next barb to be thrown.
It is all extremely dramatic for a girl band who have always described themselves as "sisters" – but it has been a long time coming.
In July 2020, Little Mix were seen leaving rehearsal studios looking extremely frosty with each other.
The girls had only just reunited after months apart due to the UK's first and strictest lockdown, yet they didn't seem too chuffed to be in each other's company again.
Jesy looked seriously stony-faced as she waited for a car to collect her, while Jade appeared more than happy to keep her social distance as she stared at her phone.
🔵 Read our Jesy Nelson live blog for the latest updates
At one point, the two girls were photographed speaking but neither had smiles on their faces.
Perrie, meanwhile, left the studio a good 15 minutes before her bandmates.
THE SEARCH TURNS SOUR
Two months after the girls were spotted looking aggrieved following rehearsals, Jade made a confession about Little Mix's debut TV show Little Mix: The Search.
The series aired on BBC1 in September 2020 and had seen the bandmates work together to form a new pop group to join them on tour.
But in an interview, Jade admitted she had stormed off several times during filming.
Speaking to new! magazine, Jade said: "Maybe I went off in a huff a couple of times."
She added: "It's inevitable that we're not always going to agree about certain people, but we all respect each other's opinion."
In December last year, Jesy rained on every Little Mixer's Christmas by quitting the band after almost 10 years together.
Jesy had already taken "extended time off" and blamed her decision to leave on the pressures of fame and her workload.
"The truth is, recently being in the band has really taken a toll on my mental health. I find the constant pressure of being in a girl group and living up to expectations very hard," she explained in a statement.
Jade said she 'wanted to spend time with the people she loves' and went on to thank the girls for their support.
She said: "Most of all I want to say thank you to Jade, Perrie and Leigh-Anne for creating some of the most amazing memories I'll never forget.
"I hope that you'll continue to fulfil all of your dreams and keep making music that people love."
Little Mix responded with their own statement, insisting: "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."
Despite insisting they were parting on good terms, it only took a few months before Jesy dropped a bombshell.
In an interview with The Guardian, the singer told a different story entirely.
When asked if she was still in touch with Leigh-Anne, Perrie and Jade, she replied: “No, not as much. Not now. I think we all need time. It’s a big thing that’s happened.”
Bizarrely, Jesy did then go on to repeat the mantra they began reciting from the moment their band was formed on The X Factor in 2011.
"I still love them to pieces. They were like my sisters," she insisted.
The interview did nothing to build bridges, as Jesy confirmed again this month that she still hadn't spoken to her "sisters".
She told Glamour UK: "I haven’t spoken to the girls.
"It is weird because for so many years we were as close as sisters, together every hour of the day for weeks, sharing beds, laughing, crying just 24/7 the four of us together and then… Nothing."
Jesy added: "They are my sisters in so many ways, but for the time being we just don’t talk."
In May this year, Leigh-Anne excitedly announced she was expecting with her footballer fiancé Andre Gray.
However, eagle-eyed fans soon twigged that her happy news was met with silence from former bandmate Jesy.
Jesy had been using her own social media sites to promote an interview she had done. During the chat, the star said she had reached "breaking point" while recording the video Little Mix's hit Sweet Melody.
Then when Leigh-Anne confirmed in August that she had given birth to twins, she was met with the same deafening silence from Jesy.
Meanwhile, bandmate Perrie also experienced the identical snub when she welcomed her first baby with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in August.
The relationship between Jesy and her ex Little Mix bandmates couldn't be any worse right now.
On Monday, The Sun exclusively revealed that Jesy was warned by Leigh-Anne not to make her skin look darker as it was offensive to black people.
This came after Jesy was quizzed about 'blackfishing' last week ahead of the release of Boyz.
She said: “The whole time I was in Little Mix I never got any of that. Then I came out of [the band] and people all of a sudden were saying it.”
But The Sun told how Leigh-Anne, who has Barbadian and Jamaican ancestry, warned Jesy over her look last summer while making a BBC documentary on racism.
A source said: “Leigh-Anne had a conversation with Jesy, trying to explain why she was upset and why it could be offensive. She felt she had to address it while making her racism documentary, but it apparently fell on deaf ears.
“For Jesy to now claim that it has never been mentioned to her before is really rude. It’s upsetting she hasn’t taken any of this on board.”
Jesy's Boyz co-star Nicki Minaj has now furiously stirred the pot, ranting in a live stream: "When you try to bring someone down because you see them continuing to try and pursue their careers, you are a f***ing clown. And let me tell you, there's a lot of women out here in the US that tan and get bigger lips."
As it stands, any chance of a future reunion between all four "sisters" seems well and truly OFF the cards.
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