Oritsé Williams has spoken for the first time about the "horrific" experience of being accused – and later cleared – of rape. The JLS star, who was unanimously acquitted by jurors in May, appeared on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday to open up about his ordeal. "It's been horrific," he told hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid. "I haven’t been able to work for three years. I had this accusation just hanging over my head every single day. From the time I wake up in the morning, until the time I go to sleep at night. You know, it's just completely taunted me.
Oritsé Williams appeared on Good Morning Britain to talk about his experience
"But I had two choices," he continued. "Either I could let it drag me under and completely destroy me, or I could stay strong and hope that the truth would eventually come out, which it ultimately did." The 32-year-old said that the worst part of the experience was the effect it had on his loved ones. "My family are so loving, and I've had so much unconditional support from them all, and my friends," he shared.
META: Rochelle Humes, Alexandra Burke and more send support to JLS singer Oritse Williams
The accusation against Oritsé was made after a night out in Wolverhampton in December 2016. Jurors deliberated for two hours before acquitting the singer and his co-defendant, tour manager Jamien Nagadhana. Oritsé told Piers and Susanna that he would have preferred to have been given anonymity after the accusation was made, but added: "I do understand that the police and under-resourced and under-financed, and understaffed and they are just trying to do their job. For me, I would have loved to have been able to clear my name as quickly as possible. But at the same time, we also have to continue to encourage real victims to come forward, and we can't forget about that as well."
The star has been supported by friends including Marvin and Rochelle Humes
Oritsé was supported by his friends and family throughout the trial, and following his acquittal JLS bandmate Marvin Humes posted a tribute to his friend on Instagram. "Cleared… Not Guilty! Finally my brother @oritsemusic three years of hell is over! No-one will ever know or imagine what he's been through," he wrote. "I'm just so proud of the way he conducted himself during what has been the most awful time… he is so strong and I know he can't wait to start his life again now. We love you O."
Marvin's wife, Rochelle Humes, also shared a message for the star. "This here is our brother, one of the kindest, most gentle, thoughtful men I know," she captioned a picture of the two of them together. "Today he was cleared NOT guilty after 3 years of absolute hell. I'm so proud of how you have conducted yourself throughout this time, I really don't think I could have held myself in the same way. Reesh we love you so much and I'm writing this crying so many happy tears, it's over."
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