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Little Mix and 8 other bands who’ve broken hearts by breaking up

As Little Mix prepare to say goodbye, we look at the other band break-ups that shocked fans


As Little Mix prepares to wrap their Confetti tour, fans are enjoying a mix of emotions – delight to see the group back on stage performing their biggest hits and sadness as we know this will be the group’s last tour for some while after they announced they were taking a break.

And while Little Mixers wait with bated breath to see if the group will eventually reunite as they say they will, we’re taking a look back at some other bands whose decision to split made headline news.


1. Take That

Less than a year after the shock departure of Robbie Williams, Take That devastated fans when they announced they were splitting up. Fans lined the streets to publicly share their heartbreak and the UK government even needed to set up counselling hotlines, such was the extent of the grief. The band released one final album in 1996 before going their separate ways. Thankfully, it didn’t prove permanent.

Take That Split Up - GMTV News Report 1996

2. My Chemical Romance

As if there wasn’t enough angst in their lives, My Chemical Romance devastated fans in 2013 when they made an official announcement that they were calling it a day. Frontman Gerard Way later cited the pressures of making their final album, Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys, as a major factor.

“When things start to succeed and go really well,” Way told The Guardian, “that’s when a lot of people start to have an opinion and that’s when you run into struggle… everybody had a f***ing opinion about what MCR should be. So it made it difficult to figure out what direction to take next. You get caught up in this trap of ‘Is it ever gonna be good enough?’”

Way busied himself with his graphic novel series The Umbrella Academy and a solo career, but rumours persisted of a reunion, which is finally headed this way in May 2022.


3. Westlife

While many were expecting Westlife to announce an extended break after the release of their Greatest Hits album, hardcore fans were bitterly disappointed when Mark, Shane, Kian and Nicky confirmed it was more a break-up than a break. The band split in 2011 after 14 years together, announcing the news on their website.

After 14 years, 26 top ten hits including 14 number one singles, 11 top five albums, seven of which hit the top spot and have collectively sold over 44 million copies around the world, ten sell out tours and countless memories that we will forever cherish, we today announce our plan to go our separate ways…

Over the years, Westlife has become so much more to us than just a band. Westlife are a family. We would like to thank our fans who have been with us on this amazing journey and are part of our family too. We never imagined when we started out in 1998 that 14 years later we would still be recording, touring and having hits together. It has been a dream come true for all of us.

In 2018, Westlife formally announced they would be releasing new music and returning to touring. Two albums and supporting tours later, and there’s no sign of the group slowing down any time soon.

Westlife - Report: Westlife split on Xposé 20 Oct 2011

4. Oasis

Oasis seemed to live in a state of perpetual tension, particularly between the infamously tempestuous Gallagher brothers. Thus, it was both a shock and maybe not a shock when their manager confirmed in the middle of a 2009 US tour that the band “does not exist anymore” due to Noel’s sudden departure.

It is with some sadness and great relief… I quit Oasis tonight. People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer.

As with any band of Oasis’s cultural impact, rumours of a reunion refuse to go away. It was even expected that Liam and Noel might mend fences at the 2017 One Love Manchester benefit, but that never came to be. While both continue to enjoy hugely successful solo careers, the wait continues.


5. Spice Girls

In 1998, Geri Halliwell announced her departure from the Spice Girls through her solicitor. Months of speculation followed, with fans desperately digging around for hints towards the cause of her departure.

Although ‘Goodbye’, their heartfelt farewell to Ginger, was also interpreted by fans as a farewell to the group, the remaining four members were adamant they would continue. However, by 2000, nearly all of the original members had moved on to solo careers and the Spice Girls went on an indefinite hiatus after the release of their third studio album, Forever.

Proving that Girl Power is nigh impossible to defeat, the band reformed in 2007 and performed at the closing ceremony for London 2012. They reunited again in 2019, albeit without Victoria.

Spice Girls Announce Spice World UK Tour For 2019! | Live Nation UK

6. One Direction

It’s a familiar tale. One card falls and everyone waits with baited breath for the whole house to come down. So it was for One Direction after the departure of Zayn Malik in 2015. Months of speculation finally came to a head in 2016 when the group confirmed their hiatus. Made in the A.M. later that year, it was announced that the group would be going on a hiatus in 2016.

The band insisted it was just a temporary break, but reports began to leak out that the four remaining members of the group did not renew their contracts, and the hiatus suddenly looked suspiciously like a permanent split. While there’s never been an official announcement, the established nature of the band’s solo careers make it look like a foregone conclusion.


7. ABBA

ABBA were a firm fixture in the charts for over ten years before they went their separate ways in 1982. While they never formally announced a split, it’s widely believed that the four-piece disolved after their final live performance that year. Björn and Benny denied split rumours at the time, teasing new music but it eventually became clear that Agnetha and Anni-Frid were focussing on solo endevours.

In 2008, the group reunited at the Swedish premiere of the Mamma Mia! movie but they all maintained that they would not reunite to make music again. However, in 2018, all four members announced that they had recorded two new songs together before confirming an album was in the works.

ABBA went on to reveal that a London residency with motion capture digital avatars of all four members was to take place in 2022. The reunion has become one of the most eagerly anticipated reunions in pop music with fans from around the globe travelling to London to see the show from the end of this month.

ABBA Voyage: The Journey Is About To Begin

8. The Beatles

In what was one of the first boyband-enduced heartbreaks on record, The Beatles sent their fanbase into hysterics when they split in 1969 after John Lennon’s departure from the group. While no official statement was made at the time, it became clear the group had gone their separate ways when Paul McCartney released solo material in 1970. Lennon later made a statement about the end of the band.

The final time all four members recorded together was to record ‘The End’ for their album Abbey Road in August 1969. In 2021, Peter Jackson unveiled the mammoth Get Back trilogy, depicting the final days of the group while recording Let It Be, recasting what was held to be a fraught period in their history as one that also contained a huge amount of joy.