Singer Ally Brooke is thankful for the girl group Fifth Harmony, where she got her start, but she's also thankful she survived it.
"I hate saying this, you know, my time in Fifth Harmony … I didn't enjoy it. I didn't love it," she said on Tuesday's debut episode of her podcast, The Ally Brooke Show. "It was hard because there was so much going on. So much behind-the-scenes. So much toxicity. So much abuse. So much abuse of power. So much mental abuse. Verbal abuse. It's just horrible, and to me it's a shame, because we were so big. I should have enjoyed myself more."
Brooke and singers Camila Cabello, Dinah Jane, Lauren Jauregui and Normani teamed up for the act in 2012, after each had unsuccessfully competed on TV's The X Factor. They ended up releasing three studio albums — all of which reached the Billboard Top 10 — and touring the world before calling it quits in 2018. (Cabello left the group in 2016.)
"And, again, I wanna just tell the fans that … I'm so proud to have been there. I'm so thankful for Fifth Harmony, it changed my life," Brooke said. "I got to see the world, meet people who completely changed my life and my world and the direction of my career path and all that, and I got to meet so many amazing friends … but it's kind of a weird balance. It's a balance of being grateful but also being OK with the fact that things were not OK for me in that. And I took a lot, me personally. It was traumatizing, and some things I'm comfortable sharing, and I'm comfortable talking about, but some things I'm still not yet ready."
Brooke felt OK sharing, for example, that the young women in the group were forced to compete for parts in their songs, and they wouldn't know who had won until a song came out. "It was embarrassing," she said, adding that she was crushed "many, many, many times."
She also cited a moment where she was seeking help because the group was "going through a lot" and "breaking behind the scenes."
"The person that I asked for advice, he tried to take advantage of me," Brooke said. "I show up to a meeting with him, and he gives me a freaking thong, which is very inappropriate, because … I know what he was trying to do there."
Several times, Brooke said that looking back at her stint with Fifth Harmony is painful.
"I'll look at a music video and all I'll remember is how I felt that day, how I felt so insecure or I felt let down or I felt like I wasn't good enough, and people around me told me that I wasn't good enough, I wasn't cool enough, I wasn't valued, nobody cared about me. It was awful."
Since the group broke up, Brooke has released several songs, competed on Dancing With the Stars and penned a memoir, Finding Your Harmony. She's also at work on a solo album.
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