Britain's Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon has admitted that she "literally thought she had lost everything" after leaving Mis-Teeq.
The singer initially found fame as a member of the girl group, but decided to go her own way and pursue a solo career in 2005.
But after spending over a year working on her debut album, Fired Up, she was dropped from her record label, before her marriage to MC Harvey from So Solid Crew ended.
Writing in UK magazine The Big Issue's Letter To My Younger Self, she revealed: "My biggest, riskiest decision was to leave Mis-Teeq. I had been in a girl group for eight years. That was my comfort zone.
"But there was an instinct, a feeling towards the end of my time in the group that I wasn't happy.
"And I needed to leave. I was only 25, I hadn't paid off a mortgage, I still had bills to pay. So it was a major, major decision.
"I signed a new record deal and spent a year-and-a-half making an album that the record company shelved, then found myself out of a deal. So I was like, oh my god, what have I done?"
The 41-year-old, from Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, said she would also tell her younger self to "have faith".
She added: "There I was, sitting in my house with no record deal, having pretty much lost all the money I'd ever worked for, and some other things that were going on in my life that have been very publicly documented.
"I literally thought I'd lost everything. And then the universe just said: 'That's what you thought, but here we go. You're about to enter into this new phase of your life'.
"And then I had a hugely successful solo record and had this incredible journey when in 2007 I became a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing and I won.
"And that took me on to becoming a judge on the show. The biggest risk brought the biggest pay-off."
Dixon also rubbished claims that she had a "tough" childhood, due to her father leaving when she was four and her mother suffering domestic abuse from a subsequent partner.
"Lots of people describe my childhood as tough," she said.
"But I have great memories of being in a very loving household, with great friends and great family . . . I had a strong grip on what the real world was like.
"But at the same time I was a dreamer. I dreamt about creating the life that I wanted. I dreamt about having a successful family.
"I dreamt about being on stage and travelling the world. So as much as I was a realist, I was also an optimist."