'Little Mix will always be there' - South Shields' Jade Thirlwall reassures fans after rumours
South Shields’ own Jade Thirlwall has said it is "really beautiful" to see her Little Mix bandmates pursuing solo projects but the girl band will "always be there".
The pop singer, 28, dismissed reports suggesting the remaining three members of the group – herself, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Perrie Edwards – are on the verge of splitting.
The band were a foursome until Jesy Nelson announced her exit in December last year, saying the high-profile role had "taken a toll" on her mental health.
Since then Pinnock has fronted a BBC documentary about colourism and race, while Edwards is working on a fashion brand called Disora.
Little Mix have also released a greatest hits album, Between Us, marking 10 years since their formation on The X Factor.
Appearing on the December cover of Gay Times, Thirlwall dismissed claims the band were going their separate ways.
She told the publication: "I think no matter what happens, Little Mix will always be there. I think the past couple years, we have started to delve into doing our own little things. That's been really beautiful to see.
"I think initially in the first few years, all of us were terrified at the thought of doing something for yourself. One, because you just get so used to having each other and two, you know what the press are like, the minute one person does something they say, 'Oh, what's happening?'
"So for such a long time we were all quite scared of any of us doing anything individually. But then when we started to do it, we said 'Oh, this is really lovely actually' because as an individual you're then getting the opportunity to show the public a bit more about yourself and what you're actually passionate about."
Thirlwall said the three remaining band members have "really managed to get that balance right" in the past year.
She added: "We're always going to want to see each other win, we're going to champion each other's success on our own as well as a group and there's definitely a safety and comfortability there, knowing that we'll always have each other to come back to.
"We need to do that and I think that's why it was the fans as well. They won't ever have to doubt that Little Mix will never have to end."
Thirlwall said the band had never considered splitting when Nelson announced her departure.
"It wasn't a question," she said.
"Absolutely was not a question. We're too close and we can't survive without each other. Genuinely, we are literally family.
"There was not a doubt in our mind that we would continue as a three. Obviously so glad that we have because what a year we've had, and will continue to have years and years to come.
"So I can't imagine never not having Little Mix in my life. Whatever form it is."
The singer admitted Nelson leaving the band had been a "really tough experience" and that the group had sought therapy to help process the news.