Jesy Nelson has scored her final number one with Little Mix, after Sweet Melody from their recent album Confetti topped the charts.
The singer, 29, quit last month after nine years in the 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.
Sweet Melody becomes their fifth number one single and first in more than four years, since 2016’s Shout Out To My Ex, according to the Official Charts Company.
The track was originally released in October, when Nelson was still a member, and its music video sees all four original members dancing in leather outfits in a warehouse space.
Speaking to Scott Mills on BBC Radio 1, Thirlwall said: “It’s so special for us because it is the last single we did as a four with Jesy and even more special that now going into 2021 as a three we have got the first number one.”
Pinnock added: “There was one point where there were like six different versions of Sweet Melody in the top 10 on iTunes. They are just so dedicated and amazing, our fans.”
“Sometimes the best hits take time,” Edwards quipped.
Afterglow, a surprise release by Ed Sheeran, was at number two, while rising rapper CJ was at number three with Whoopty.
Justin Bieber entered at number four with Anyone and Dua Lipa made a comeback from number 68 to number five with Levitating.
In the weeks leading up to her announcement, Nelson missed a number of appearances with Little Mix, including the MTV EMAs and the live final of their talent show, The Search.
Nelson had spoken openly about her battle with anxiety and previously revealed in a BBC documentary called Odd One Out that abuse on social media got so bad she attempted to take her own life.
The programme won her the award for best factual entertainment at the 2020 National Television Awards.
Little Mix formed on The X Factor in 2011 and have become one of the country’s biggest-selling girlbands.
They left Simon Cowell’s Syco Music for the RCA label in November 2018.
On the albums chart, Taylor Swift’s Evermore returned to number one to claim a second week at the top.
Confetti, which was narrowly beaten to number one by Kylie Minogue’s Disco in November, also rises from number four to number three this week.