What we know about Jade Thirlwall’s parents

Jade Thirlwall is an English songwriter and member of the girl group Little Mix. The girls formed the group following starring individual auditions on the eighth season of X Factor. Little Mix went on to become the first group to win the competition and has since become one of the best-selling girl groups in the world.

Thirlwall first auditioned for X Factor in 2008 but was kicked out at the Bootcamp stage. She auditioned again in 2010, but again, the organizers rejected her. She returned a year later, and this time, her persistence paid off. Little Mix recently made history by becoming the first-ever girl band to win the best British group award at the Brit Award.

Jade’s parent’s divorce and bullying in school contributed to her anorexia

Jade Thirlwall was born on 26th December 1992 to James Thirlwall and Norma Badwi. She is English from her father’s side and Egyptian and Yemeni from her mother’s side.

When Jade was thirteen, her grandfather, who was an important figure in her life, passed away. At around the same time, the relationship between her parents deteriorated, leading to a divorce. Jade remained under the care of her mother. The difficult situation at home and the bullying she experienced in school contributed to her anorexia.

Jade experienced bullying because of her ethnicity, and because her peers couldn’t accurately figure out her ethnicity, they resulted to calling her Pakistani. She told BBC’s No Country for Young Women:

“If you weren’t evidently black you were called the P-word or called ‘half-caste’. I would get so confused because I’m not from Pakistan. One time I got pinned down in the toilets and they put a bindi spot on my forehead – my mom was fuming!”

Years later, Jade talked to her mom and learned that Norma also experienced racial bullying. After Norma’s father remarried a white woman, Norma felt like an outcast because she couldn’t fit in with her Muslim relatives nor with the white community. Jade told No Country for Young Women that she faced a similar struggle with her own mixed-race identity:

“Her [Norma’s] dad remarried to a white woman, which left my mom not fitting in with Muslim friends and relatives, but not fitting in with the white community either. For a long time, she felt like an outcast. I’d identify myself as mixed-race; if I delved deeper, I’d say of Arab heritage, I guess. I’ve had an inner battle of not knowing where I fit in or what larger community I fit into.”

Jade’s grandfather wanted her to be Muslim and her mom pushed her to go to church

Jade’s Yemeni grandfather, Mohamed Badwi, married Jade’s Egyptian grandmother Amelia Azizi in South Shields. The industrial port of South Shields drew many Arab migrants due to its plentiful manufacturing jobs.