LaTavia Roberson may have been kicked out of Destiny’s Child — but she’s still a “Survivor.”
“There are a lot of things that I’ve gone through — molestation, dealing with alcoholism and drugs,” Roberson tells PEOPLE exclusively of the subjects she’ll broach in her upcoming memoir, I Am LaTavia, due in the spring of 2017.
And there’s of course one topic she won’t be shying away from: her nasty departure from one of the biggest girl groups of all time in 1999.
Roberson was an original member of Destiny’s Child, along with Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, and LeToya Luckett. The group found success with their self-titled album in 1997 but really broke out in 1999 with The Writing’s on the Wall, which featured the hit singles “Bills, Bills, Bills,” “Jumpin’, Jumpin'” and “Say My Name.”
“We were patient, we worked very hard, and hearing our stuff on the radio? There was nowhere we could go from there but up,” Roberson, now 35, recalls of their early rise. “We prayed together for the success of the group, and when we started hearing the songs on the radio, started going on tour, we would see how much people really liked Destiny’s Child.”
But in 2000, everything came to a crashing halt for Roberson.
“I never left Destiny’s Child. That is something that people say. But who would leave Destiny’s Child? That’s crazy! I was dismissed from the group,” she says. “It was very difficult because of the way that I found out about it. I hate even talking about it, and it’s been 20 years — but it is what it is. We saw the ‘Say My Name’ video on TV, and that’s how I found out I was no longer in the group.”
“It was very difficult. I’m pretty sure that it was difficult for all of us — because we were young,” Roberson says. “My issue was always with the management; it was never with the girls.”
Even so, Roberson admits being ousted from the band took a toll on her.
“It was almost like a bad divorce — you’re no longer with your friends, people that you love so much. So that was hard in itself,” she adds. “And then being by myself at that time, when other aspects starting taking ahold of me. It lead me into a depression. And it wasn’t pretty, like at all.”
Even so, Roberson would go on to earn two Grammys for her work on the second Destiny’s Child album and eventually made a foray into television, appearing on TV One’s R&B Divas: Atlanta. And in recent years, Roberson’s taken on the real-life role of mother, welcoming daughter Lyric in 2013.
But does the former girl group star have any semblance of a relationship with her one-time bandmates?
“I do. It’s not like we speak all the time, but I was chatting with LeToya the day before yesterday. I’ve spoken to Kelly, and I saw Beyoncé; it’s been years ago, but there’s been nothing but love,” says Roberson, who’s even made peace with the women who replaced her in the group. “I had the opportunity to meet Michelle, I met Farrah, and, again, it was nothing but love.”
And Roberson maintains that she’s a fan of her childhood friends’ music.
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“Everybody has their lives, but I know as far as me being an original member with the girls that I started with? I support all of their careers, and their music’s been guiding me through a lot. It’s been wonderful,” she says, adding that Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Solange Knowles‘ critically acclaimed A Seat at the Table were two particular favorites this year.
In the end, the new author says there is no bad blood.
“I believe that nothing in life has happened in vain. I believe that things happen for a reason, and there’s nothing but love on my end.”