Josh Cuthbert says Union J “lost touch slightly” after they split.
The boy band – comprising George Shelley, Josh Cuthbert, JJ Hamblett and Jaymi Hensley – reunited on stage at the London Palladium last month for a one-off gig , and he says it was great to get back to performing with his bandmates after rebuilding their bond.
Speaking to Heat magazine, the 29-year-old star said: “After we split with lost touch slightly, but time has healed our relationships.”
The ‘Carry You’ hitmakers were dropped by Epic Records following the release of their 2014 LP ‘You Got It All’.
Jaymi, 32, recently said: “All offers were off the table for two years, so the relationships started blossoming again between all of us as a four.
“I went to George first, then I went to Josh and then I rang JJ and said, ‘Well you haven’t got any choice, you’re still in the contract’.”
JJ, 34, added: “We’re like four brothers. We’ve spent the last few days together and it’s so natural.”
The band were originally known as Triple J when they auditioned for ‘The X Factor’ in 2011, but changed their name when they were grouped with George, 28, on the show.
They signed to RCA Records after finishing fourth in the competition and released their debut single in June 2013.
George competed on ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!’ and quit the group in March 2016.
He was replaced by another former ‘X Factor’ star, Stereo Kicks singer Casey Johnson, but his tenure with the group didn’t last long.
In 2018, Josh announced his departure, citing his desire to pursue “individual opportunities across entertainment and music”.
Jaymi has admitted they had convinced themselves that they were going to release a third album, despite being ditched by their label.
Speaking about parting ways with Epic for the first time, he said: “There was a real shift.
“We never told anyone we were dropped by our label and we didn’t get an explanation. We didn’t speak about it, we didn’t go out to new labels to try to get a new deal, so we just pretended we were still doing album No3. We were lying to ourselves.”
George battled with depression after his younger sibling Harriet passed away from a “severe traumatic brain injury” at the age of 21 after being hit by a car in April 2017, and later spoke about his grief in the BBC Three documentary ‘George Shelley: Learning to Grieve’ .
He said: “Our dreams were crushed. I was suffering a lot with my mental health at the time and it didn’t feel like there was much going on.
“I still wanted to remain friends with everyone and Jaymi and I stayed really close, I’ve seen JJ a tiny bit, and Josh and I haven’t seen each other in six years.
“It’s beautiful to be back. But that label news was the crushing moment. It felt like the end of the road for us.”
It turns out, each band member “suffered from clinical depression” after being thrust into the limelight.
Josh said: “There were so many occasions when we were doing Union J that I should have loved and I didn’t, because my mental health was suffering. I was unhappy all the time.”
Jaymi added: “I know things are huge at the moment about men’s mental health but eight years ago it wasn’t. We all suffered from clinical depression at one point and I didn’t have a clue what it was.”