Retro Rewind: Supreme Drama – Diana Ross vs Mary Wilson

Published: Sunday 15th Apr 2012 by TGJ


It’s a word girl groups of the past, present, and future are well-versed in. Indeed, for many, it’s been the very catalyst for their public imploding (see: Danity Kane), while for others it’s been the exact ingredient for their heightened success (see: Destiny’s Child).

Yet, few narratives can match the length, depth, or span of time covered by the drama surrounding The Supremes.

Formed in the 1950’s with original members Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard, the ladies “story” would go on to become one of the industry’s most controversial.

Characterised by unity, dissent, favouritism, divaism, and death, not to mention an assembly line of members, old feelings were brought to the surface when the surviving members of the original line-up attempted to reform in 2000.

The fall-out played out publicly two episodes of ABC’s 20/20. Check out Mary Wilson and Diana Ross duke it out below…

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  1. Jeremy April 19, 2012

    Mary Wilson has used this “war” over and over again. She has tainted the name of the Supremes while at the same time claiming she loves them and is carrying on their legacy. The producers of the “reunion have always said the problem was Mary and not Diana. The other living Supreme (Cindy Birdsong) has said it was not Diana but a negotiating ploy by Mary that backfired. Even the Motown 25 where Diana supposedly pushed Mary: The girls were supposed to all wear black and white and Mary comes out in a red dress. Who is the troublemaker here? It’s all right there in front of our faces if we look hard enough. The media can say what they want and spin what they want but it is up to us to get the truth. There are far too many of our African American icons falling simply because we don’t use our common sense. It is easy to see that she is the bad egg between the two of them but let her have her moment. Diana Ross has continued to sellout tours worldwide and is by anyone’s standards a legend. She is the model we should set for our young African American women. Hard work and keeping your eye on the prize and you too can reach your goals. Do I believe Diana Ross is a diva? Absolutely. Mean? No. There is a difference. Her children adore her. Those co workers that have nothing to gain by disparaging her say she is a joy to work with. She got what she worked hard for and deserved. She was with the Supremes for six years and left way back in 1969. Why is Mary still harping on it? What has she done artistically in all that time since Diana left? If Diana caused all her suffering why didn’t she take over lead when she left? Why didn’t she help Florence Ballard since her and Florence were so close? According to her Diana and Florence weren’t even friends. She can turn down million now bt why didn’t she mention in her tell all that Diana helped her out financially when she was in trouble? Why did she make Diana godmother to her children (way after Diana left The Supremes) if she had all these issues with her?) Miss Wilson has some questions to answer and never will because it would expose her of doing the very thing she accuses Diana of doing: anything to get to the top. No matter what Mary says the public chose Diana. it was an old fashion contest and just like the public chose Beyonce and Michael and even Justin Timberlake, the public chose Diana. It was her sound and her uniqueness that carried them to the top of the charts and differentiated them from everyone else And that’s the truth..

  2. tonyV April 21, 2012


  3. Rossman May 13, 2012

    Preach Jeremy. One of the best responses I have ever heard. Thanks GOD BLESS

  4. Tiffany May 31, 2012

    Jeremy do you have anything to back up these claims? Huh?
    Are you serious? Diana Ross is the woman we want our young musicians to look up to, someone who is sneaky and malicious, and will step on her own friends to get to the top?
    You are a Diana Ross fan not a Supreme fan and that is fine,but unless you were there and lived through the hell that Mary Wilson and even Florence Ballard were talking about they went through with her and Barry Gordy then you can’t down play the hurt and resentment she feels about that sometimes. Also the public didn’t chose Diana Ross, Barry Gordy chose her, just like with Beyonce, the public didn’t chose her, her dad chose her by keeping her upfront.and giving her the lead in songs all the time just like Barry Gordy did with Diana, Michael Jackson he chose himself, his stardom had more to do with personal transformation and growth than anything. He was trying to escape his dad and and everybody controlling his every move. Get your facts straight before you post anything. Yes it happened all those years ago but she is still “harping” on it because like she said in her JET Magazine interview its about respect,equality, and the fact that she was part of not only a singing group but an inspiration because when Florence, Mary and Diana became famous as the Supremes that was during a time when black people couldn’t even vote let alone become hits in the music business, these were huge inspiring moments in history and like she said, she was apart of that and Berry Gordy and Diana Ross believe it or not, was trying to re-write history and re-write her out of it and she felt hurt, betrayed and cheated. And for the record when Diana Ross left The Supremes she turned them back into what they were originally supposed to be a group, and she shared the lead vocals with Jean Terrell. They were and they were still friends after Diana left the group and she made her the godmother of one of her children (if this godmother business is even true, people magazine is not very reliable.), it was when Diana started acting like Mary was a back up singer rather than a founding member of the group, the member that brought her in to the group. Not only that but when Mary Wilson re-formed The Supremes with Birdsong, and Terrell to replace Diana Ross, it was Diana Ross who stole Cindy Birdsong from the group and took her on tour with her as her back up singer. So don’t make it sound like Mary resents Diana for her success because she doesn’t, she resents her getting at the expense of the careers of her and Florence. And that’s the truth!!!

  5. Tim September 20, 2012

    I am a fan of the Supremes, and I love a little bit of Diana’s solo career, but I think that the only way she ever got to the top was by sleeping with Berry Gordy, and I believe what Mary Wilson said in her interview.

  6. BlkShepherd October 9, 2012

    @ Tim,
    Yes Diana slept with Berry and had a daughter, Mary slept with Tom Jones knowing he was married, he in turn told her he would not leave “her” for his wife. No big deal about that huh? People make ” Mistakes” you, I, Mary and Diana. People forget Diana left the Supremes 1970 and have not stop since. She left Motown and Berry back in the 80s yet still acheived great sucess with the Supremes or Berry Gordy. Give the woman some credit.

  7. BlkShepherd October 9, 2012

    correct should read ..Without the Supremes or Berry Gordy..Diana still held her own. Selling out concerts into the thru the 90s and 00s. You cant hold sleeping with Berry Gordy over her Talent. It is what it is. Mary never had the type of voice to stand out and be lead. She admits that she does not have the great voice of Diane or Jean. So whats the point in constantly living in the past for something she just never had. and that the It factor that DIana had and still has. her talent, sure shes older, we all are But you can still her that unique sound Today in Diana’s voice. I know because I heard her this year June 2012, still has that unique sound.

  8. Tim December 13, 2012

    Yeah that is true, but in my opinion Mary can sing but she’s just not as great as Diana or Jean. Jean Terrell had only one solo album after leaving The Supremes in 1973, but due to her Jehovah’s Witness beliefs, she stopped promotion on her I Had to fall in love album. Were it not for that, she probably would have been as big as Diana.

  9. NoL December 23, 2012

    The Supremes/Diana Ross and The Supremes will forever be LEGENDS. I had an encounter with Ms. Ross as I received a hug from her at one of her concerts and I got the chance to meet Ms. Wilson at one her concerts. Both women (including Ms. Ballard and Ms. Birdsong) should be revered as true talents and they made a colossal impact in the music world and esp. for AA women (serving as positive role models and excuding class and style that was rarely seen in print/screen). Did they have internal issues within the group, absolutely, I believe they all played a part of the group’s success/ dismise….I would love to see Diana, Mary and Cindy take the stage, one more time…..but I won’t hold my breath!

    Thank you for the music and imagery….you all will forever reign SUPREME!

  10. Angel Sessions May 4, 2013

    I am new to this site and see its wonderful that there still are true fans that love the Supremes. Their music speaks for it self. I was a back up singer for Mary Wilson in 2004. I toured with her for some months around the country. She really is a warm hearted person. She is the person who lived her story regarding the goup the Supremes. She and I talked about it. She is’nt angry with Diana at all. Although no one really knows the hearts of man but God him self, We know that situation happens and can be bitter sweet at times. Mary and Diana both understands that and have moved on from it. Both are still great artist. The Spremes lengacy help mode our girl group artist of yesterday and today. Each of us has done things we are not proud of as we look back. The blessing from God to me is knowing that the Supremes music is still here with us and many can still enjoyed it.

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