If you ever followed the group 3LW, or the drama that ensued when the original lineup fell apart in 2002, you’ve heard all the stories about Naturi Naughton allegedly being pushed out of the group. She felt she was mistreated to the point where she claimed her former groupmates threw food at her during an argument between her and the group’s manager, Michelle Williams, who is Kiely Williams‘ mother. She also filed a lawsuit against the group following her departure from it, claiming they even encouraged her to use sex to get them a place on tour with former rap group the St. Lunatics.
And while Adrienne Houghton (then known as Bailon) and Kiely maintained that the stories were false way back then, Adrienne would apologize to Naturi about the way she was treated during that time when the Power actress visited The Real in 2017.
“I think it’s crazy because when I look at you, I really think about my teen years. We literally grew up together in bunk beds in New Jersey,” she told Naturi. “And I thank God for the time that I got to actually talk to you a few years back, we had seen each other at an Us Weekly party. And we sat down and we talked everything out. And I was able to apologize to you if ever, you know, there was a lot that went on in that time that now looking back it’s like we were so young and it was crazy. And that I genuinely from the bottom of my heart never meant any harm towards you. I think you’re talented and beautiful. And I think looking back, a lot of that was fear.”
Adrienne may have felt as though Naturi was owed an apology, but fellow member Kiely, to this day, says claims that Naturi was treated differently because she was darker, or that they threw food on her, or that they even pushed her out of the group, are false. It all started when Kiely was asked about kicking Naturi out of the group during an open conversation she was having about colorism on her Instagram page. She responded by saying, “not true. But it was a very effective lie.”
When asked who kicked Naturi out of the group then, Kiely said, “NO ONE! If memory serves, she got a boyfriend and men are the ruiners of all girl groups.”
“There is no tea! She’s on to bigger and better and I’m happy for her,” she said. “Sad that this rumor is still being spread.”
“I have been pretty much mute when it comes to this stuff, it just sucks that people still believe it, and are mad about it too. But, I sleep just fine because I know I was good to them. And if any of my group members were honest, they couldn’t say I didn’t do my best for them.”
“I don’t know if her color played a role in her not being in the group. I don’t know why Adrienne apologized, my guess would be to get everyone to stop thinking she’s racist, but I will not apologize for something that I didn’t do. I was good to both of them. They know it. That’s why I will probably never be a guest on [Adrienne’s] show, it would get way too ‘real.'”
When asked about the possibility of the women all coming together and having a healthy discussion to squash their issues and the overall confusion about what happened, Kiely said she isn’t holding her breath.
“I don’t think that’ll ever happen. It would mean admitting they’ve been lying on me and my family for like 15 years,” she said. “But you never know, stranger things have happened.”
Adrienne and Naturi have certainly moved on to have successful careers, and Kiely has moved on to get married and become a mother to a happy and healthy baby girl. But it wasn’t too long ago that we were hearing about food fights and claims that Naturi didn’t fit the image they needed, and it spread like wildfire.
“For a long time the girls of 3LW were tight — that wasn’t the problem,” Naturi said to MTV back in 2002. “It was a push by management, who always had something about Naturi. They said, ‘We need to get her out, you guys would be better off.’ As if I’m bringing the group down and holding them back. All this stuff about how I don’t fit the Girl Can Mack image. But I think it’s crazy that they were trying to split up what was strong, what was successful. And they did it.”