Once band-members, then legal foes, Kelly Rowland and LaTavia Roberson have quite the the seasoned backstory.
However, as the age-old adage goes, time heals heals even deepest of wounds. Something Robertson’s recent comments about her former Destiny’s Child cohort highlights.
The 29 year old also had quite ‘interesting’ comments about the group’s former manager, Beyonce‘s father Mathew Knowles.
A lengthy read, yet a great one.
Via The Mirror:
LaTavia Roberson, Kelly’s childhood friend and a founder member of the all-girl supergroup, recalls: “Matthew did not mince his words and it can be tough to take that kind of criticism when you are a little girl. We would try not to let it break us.
“But Kelly was the sensitive one, and sometimes she would go to her room and cry.”
Now 30, Kelly Rowland is queen of all she surveys… singer, dancer, songwriter, model and now X Factor judge. Her debut on British TV has been a triumph as she oozes confidence and class.
She has come a long way from the young girl torn off a strip that night in Atlanta – and her personal fortune is now estimated at £12million.
LaTavia, now 29, says: “It’s amazing how well Kelly has done since then. She has really blossomed and for me it has been fantastic to watch her become this strong, independent woman.
“She is an inspiration to anyone, and I am honoured to call her my friend.”
Today she reveals how she regrets losing her place in Destiny’s Child just as they were making it big in 1999 with hit singles Bills, Bills, Bills and Say My Name.
She says she and original fourth member LeToya Luckett were both forced out after they sent a disgruntled letter to manager Matthew.
Now she wishes she had discussed her feelings with Kelly and Beyonce beforegoing ahead but says she was too young to realise how serious the repercussions might be.
The two girls lost their dream and Destiny’s Child went on to become one of the most successful girl bands in the world, selling 40 million records then launching successful solo careers.
Matthew Knowles quit his job with a pharmaceutical company to become their full-time manager and Latavia says he acted like an army drill sergeant, making them sing as they jogged in the park and rehearse dance routines in the family living room for hours on end. They even held joint prayer sessions to ask God to help them get the record deal they craved so much. It was like the famously regimented childhood of the Jackson Five.
“We used to call him Joe Jackson,” says Latavia. “It’s not like he beat us with his belt or anything, but he was very strict. Beyonce was the only one brave enough to stand up to him.”
“We worked really hard. It was rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. It would be the four of us and he was like a drill sergeant. When summertime came he would start a camp at his house in Houston.
“He would make us wake up early in the morning and take us to Herman Park. There was a three-and-a-half mile track and we would sing while we jogged around it. Then we would go to the house and rehearse.
“That’s what our days consisted of, seven days a week. Looking back, working that hard did cost us our childhood. But at the time we were just focused on living out our dreams.”
In 1996 Knowles asked the parents of the other three girls if he could become their guardian.
The mothers of LaTavia and LeToya refused, but Kelly’s mother, who ran out on her drunk, abusive husband when Kelly was just three, agreed. From then on, she lived with the Knowles family in a cramped, two-bedroom apartment.
LaTavia says: “Matthew and Tina would share one room and Beyonce, her sister Solange and Kelly would share the other. They had two single beds with pull-outs underneath. Looking back, it must have been stressful for the family.”
LaTavia reveals how they were so determined to make it big that they used to stand in a circle and pray that they would get a recording contract. In 1997, their prayers were answered.
“We were flown to New York for an audition and signed with Columbia records almost the same day,” she says. Destiny’s Child joined another all-girl band, TLC, on the road, and released their first hit single, No, No, No.
“Being on tour was very intense,” says LaTavia. “We were girls, we were going through puberty. Hormones were crazy. The schedule would be challenging… late nights and early days.
“We always switched who was sharing rooms. One week I would be with Beyonce, the next with Kelly, then LeToya. Kelly was always very sweet. She was kinda shy, especially when she was younger. I am not going to say that Kelly had bad self-esteem, but she was timid. She was definitely the quiet one of the four of us.
“LeToya was the jokester, I was the sassy one, Beyonce was the mamma and Kelly the sensitive one. Watching movies, she’d be the first to cry.”
LaTavia reveals how she and LeToya began to have “serious issues” with their manager. “Things seemed unfair,” she says. “Beyonce and Kelly had cars. I’m not saying pay cheques were any different, but Matthew used to say a lot of crazy things like, ‘Y’all should be glad I’m giving you money’.
“We were happy for Matthew to stay on as manager, but we wanted another manager to work with him.”
So LaTavia and LeToya wrote their fateful letter to Knowles expressing their concerns. The next thing they knew, says LaTavia, they were out. But they didn’t find out until they saw the video for Say My Name with two new girls in their places. They officially left Destiny’s Child in December 1999, when they were just 18.
“My one regret is that I should have spoken to Beyonce and Kelly before I sent the letter,” says LaTavia. “That is the one thing I would have done different. I would have gone to my sisters and discussed it with them. After that, we didn’t speak for many years.”
Her dreams of stardom crushed, LaTavia became an alcoholic and in 2006 went to jail having failed a drugs test while still on probation for a driving offence. But following a stint in rehab, she has now got her life back on track and plans to open a lingerie business.
She has nothing but positive memories of her former bandmates. “I saw Beyonce in 2003 and we just hugged and talked… it was so emotional,” she says.
“I spoke to Kelly last year and I asked her, ‘Do you understand why we did what we did?’ She said, ‘Oh gosh, yes’. And that was enough for me.
“I am convinced that if it was not for Matthew Knowles we would still be together as a band.”
But she says: “We’ll always be sisters. Nothing can take that away from us.”
Forget the lingerie line, love. We want that book! Spill.that.tea…in a classy way of course!