Facts About Former Destiny's Child Member Kelly Rowland

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In the early '90s, somewhere in the heart of Houston, Texas, Matthew Knowles and his then-wife Tina Knowles-Lawson made a life-changing decision. The big idea? Form an all-girl group and take over the culture. After all, it was a girl-group era, per Forbes. Knowles-Lawson would bring her fashion prowess to the table, while Knowles handled the business. Though the pair hit a couple of rough patches, including finding the right fit (yes, there are other Destiny's Child members), the plan eventually cemented Kelly Rowland, Beyoncé Knowles, and Michelle Williams in pop history. The making of Destiny's Child is a story that former manager Knowles is strongly passionate about, and one which he's ready to turn into a biopic if his conversation with Build Series is anything to go by.

Legend has it that one of Destiny's Child's (then called Girls Tyme) biggest losses was at a major singing competition, "Star Search." The group managed second place, much to everyone's disappointment. "We just cried so hard, because we were so excited about the opportunity and everything," Rowland said in an interview with Insider. "But also beyond that, we still felt there was something inside that was just like, 'No, we're still going to make it.'"

Make it they did, and for years running, Destiny's Child is long gone but their legacy lives on. A solo career, an active lifestyle, and a trip around motherhood later, here are interesting facts about Rowland, one of the group's founding members.

Her 'tumultuous' relationship with her biological parents

Kelly Rowland's relationship with her biological parents hasn't been a walk in the park. She and her mother, Doris Rowland Garrison, had a good share of highs and lows. She told Marie Claire, "We had a tumultuous relationship — [and] fought about everything, stuff that's way too harsh to mention here — but it was because she always wanted me to be better than her." 

Though Garrison was present during bits of Rowland's childhood, her biological father was out of her life for about three decades. On a 2022 episode "Today with Hoda & Jenna," Rowland revealed that she'd given up on trying to have any sort of relationship with him. In the years that she was on the road, her security detail was under strict instructions to bar Christopher Lovett from so much as approaching her at concerts. But as Rowland shared on "Today," words of wisdom from Jay-Z got her to change her mind: "Love is all about risk. You gotta decide if you're gonna jump." So, after her mother died, the singer decided to take the leap and give reconnecting with her father a shot, and a few years after the reconciliation, they appeared on "Today" together. 

"It was four or five years ago when we rekindled our relationship, and it's never too late," Rowland said." "Forgiveness is always right there."

She grew up with the Knowles family

When Kelly Rowland was 11 years old, Tina Knowles-Lawson and her family took her in. As Knowles-Lawson told ET, she considers Rowland a daughter, and Rowland's children are like grandkids. In Rowland's eyes, Knowles-Lawson embodies the image of a powerful business-oriented woman of color. "She introduced me to artists, lawyers, and doctors and made me feel like I could literally do anything," she said of the Destiny's Child matriarch in Marie Claire.

What's more, Solange Knowles is like a little sister. As Rowland recalled to Marie Claire, the pair met when Solange was only five years old. When Destiny's Child came to an end years later, Solange was in Rowland's corner when she was ready to make music as a solo artist.

Per Rowland's feature for Marie Claire, Beyoncé Knowles doubles as a sister and an artistic inspiration. Though some members of musical groups have struggled with feeling competitive with one another, Rowland didn't let Beyoncé's star power affect their sisterhood. If anything, watching her walk with grace as an artist inspired her more than it crushed her spirit. "She could have an ego, but she's the most humble person I know," noted Rowland. So in sync are they that the "If I Were A Boy" singer was in the delivery room during Rowland's second pregnancy.

The Destiny's Child sisterhood is a solid one

Destiny's Child is one of the most successful girl groups of all time, and their influence on music is undeniable. Suffice it to say, the Beyoncé Knowles, Michelle Williams, and Kelly Rowland established a one-of-a-kind legacy together.

Following the release of their final studio album — 2004's "Destiny Fulfilled," which features hits such as "Soldier," "Cater 2 U" and "Lose My Breath" — the trio would each go solo. They reunited during Beyoncé's Super Bowl halftime show in 2013 and again during Beyoncé's much-hyped Coachella performance in 2018. After the latter, Williams said in Forbes, "For the past couple of years I've been really realizing how blessed we are to have this type of effect and impact on people. It's been about 13 years since we've released an album together officially and we still have that effect." And by all accounts, their bond still remains intact.

It's refreshing for fans to learn that, long after they were bound together by work, Knowles, Rowland, and Williams have a genuine sisterhood. During an appearance on "The Kelly Clarkson Show," Rowland revealed details of a moving moment she shared with Williams when asked about how far she'd come: "I promise you, the day before yesterday, Michelle called me, and we know each other very well but I just had this, like, great, like, weep. Because I felt so incredibly blessed that it scared me."

Girl on a solo mission

After Destiny's Child had run its course, each member had to carve their own path. Of course, Beyoncé Knowles put herself ahead of the game with projects such as "Lemonade" and "Black is King," making millions along the way. Michelle Williams, on the other hand, released two studio albums, explored more of Broadway, had the world in a chokehold with her hit song 'Say Yes," and, to crown it all, embarked on an acting journey.

It took Kelly Rowland a while to get into the thick of things. When she did find her footing as a solo creative, Rowland released three studio albums, dubbed "Ms. Kelly," "Here I Am," and "Talk a Good Game." In 2021, Rowland released an extended play titled "K."

Speaking on "The Kelly Clarkson Show," she said the EP was made from a place of complete autonomy. "I didn't have the worry about a label," she said. "You know what I mean? And for me, I just really wanted to create from a free place, and I did, and it was awesome."

Kelly Rowland is a three-time author

At 41, Kelly Rowland is not only a celebrated musician but an established author with a growing portfolio of books to show. In addition to cowriting the Destiny's Child memoir, "Soul Survivors: The Official Autobiography of Destiny's Child," Rowland is the brains behind a motherhood guide and a children's book.

As she shared on "The Real," the idea for writing "Whoa, Baby!: A Guide for New Moms Who Feel Overwhelmed and Freaked Out (and Wonder What the #*$& Just Happened) " was birthed (pun intended) when Rowland became a first-time mom. According to an interview with The Cut, the making of Rowland's first solo literary work was, in fact, a collective effort that relied on outside expertise.The book's co-author, Dr. Tristan Bickman, has been in Rowland's life for some time. "I'm so new to this mother thing. ... That's why I called Dr. Bickman, that's why I asked my physical therapist, my therapist. I asked for other people who are incredibly gifted in their worlds to participate in this book," she said.

In April 2022, Rowland targeted her writing at a much younger audience with the book "Always with You, Always with Me." Her first assignment, reading the book co-authored by Jessica McKay to her son's class, was surreal. "I said I wanted to make sure that we had, like, a chorus," she said on "Good Morning America." "This movement to the book. And when they actually remembered the main part of the book, my heart was just racing."

She's found success in TV and movies

When she's not gracing the airwaves with her sultry vocals, Kelly Rowland is likely to be exploring a different branch of entertainment — acting. Rowland first stepped into the small screen with a role on "The Hughleys." Soon after, she'd listen to the acting bug more, playing Cleo on "Eve," and appearing as Tammy Hamilton on the Tracee Ellis Ross-led sitcom, "Girlfriends." Rowland's career on television has since morphed into optimizing her music expertise. She has also worked on many a reality show, including "Clash of the Choirs," "The Voice Australia," and "The X Factor." 

Rowland is no stranger to the big screen either. Her film acting credits include appearances in movies such as "Think like a Man," Beyoncé' Knowles' "Black is King," "Freddy vs. Jason," and the feature film "Fantasy Football." The pop star shared the Deadline announcement about the latter project on Instagram and wrote, "Super Excited!" On Netflix's "The Curse of Bridge Hollow," Rowland stars alongside Marlon Wayans and Priah Ferguson.

Kelly Rowland's relationship with money

Kelly Rowland has lived up to the Destiny's Child hit "Independent Women," released from the group's 2001 album, "Survivor." Through the years, both as a member of the group and a solo act, Rowland brought in big bank. According to an interview with InStyle, she was only 20 when she made her first million. When the money started to roll in, she didn't go straight to a luxury handbag designer or scoop up a high-end vehicle. Rather, she splurged on groceries. "When I got one of my first paychecks, I went to the grocery store and bought almost everything that my mom used to tell me was too expensive," said Rowland. She also said she had too much money at her disposal at that time, so she bought a huge house that didn't make sense for where she was in her life. 

When it comes to investments, she was blind at first, but she eventually caught on. Upon turning 40 in 2021, she was a lot wiser. Benjamins, as it stands, were still high on the list of things that got her fired up, but she used them cautiously. "Investments make me excited. Saving this money makes me excited," she told Dontaira Terrell in 2022. And as Forbes noted, Destiny's Child music sales recorded a high of up to 767% digitally after the group's Coachella reunion in 2018, affirming that Rowland's trips to the bank end with a smile just as wide as one she had when searching for a dream home on "Million Dollar Listing."

She has a passion for charity

That Kelly Rowland is living the life of her dreams is no secret. She works hard and plays even harder —if a $15,000-dollar-a-week vacation beach house is taken into account. As the world began to recover from the global pandemic, Rowland shared on "The Kelly Clarkson Show" that she has a lot to be grateful for. "I'm kept. My family is safe, we are healthy," she said. "I don't have to complain about anything. I don't feel the need to complain about anything."

Just as she has been afforded much, Rowland gives back with the same energy. In an interview with Refinery29, she opened up on her work with Ronald McDonald House Charities. "My mother's always taught me about giving, and how giving is a much better feeling than receiving, and I truly believe that," she said.

Some of Rowland's philanthropic contributions over time include HIV/AIDS awareness with MTV's Staying Alive Foundation, I Heart My Girlfriends, a women-focused charity whose launch was attended by a number of celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Lala Anthony, and Serena Williams, and the Tina Knowles-Rowland Center for Youth.

What are beauty must-haves for Kelly Rowland?

In 2013, Kelly Rowland made it to People's Most Beautiful list, alongside stars like Halle Berry, Jane Fonda, and Kelly Washington (via Hello Beautiful). Rowland posed make-up free for the magazine, and years later, shared gave People a list of beauty products she swears by. Some of Rowland's go-to beauty products include a facial cleanser, cocoa butter body lotion, hair styling cream, and a good pair of nail clippers. She's also a big fan of facial serums. In a separate chat with Glamour, she credited the product as one which has been the biggest game-changer.

Though she works hard to maintain her glow, Rowland doesn't want to be reduced to just another pretty face in the world of entertainment. She made that clear on an episode of "The Voice: Australia" (via Channel 9). After a contestant called her beautiful, she didn't mince words. "You know what's so frustrating? Being called 'beautiful.' It's so degrading. It really pisses me off," she said. "Like, 'Oh, you're so cute, you're so pretty.' I've been here for 20-something yea— you know what I mean?" 

She's all about working out and 'eating clean'

Kelly Rowland works hard to maintain her toned physique. Her abs don't come easy, as she shared in a 2019 Instagram post. During an appearance on Us Weekly, Rowland let her fans in the loop by sharing part of her ab workout regimen. The secret? Lots and lots of crunches and bicycle situps. Discipline has a lot to do with Rowland's toned body since she works out five or six times a week.

In addition to hitting the gym, Rowland pairs her active lifestyle with a thought-out approach to food. "I never like to say diet, I like to say eating clean," she told PopSugar. "For me, it's green vegetables or fish. I don't feel like I'm heavy or weighed down, lethargic from food. Food should give us energy." 

As one who's keen to the business side of things, Rowland capitalized on her fit lifestyle by collaborating with Fabletics on a capsule collection, the third of which was released in 2020, per Essence.

Her experiences with colorism

"The dark-skinned female singer still is having a hard time in the music business." These are the words of "Welcome to Atlanta" rapper Jermaine Dupri, aired during a 2018 appearance on "The Breakfast Club." Dupri's sentiments are backed by The Guardian, which observed that light-skin favoritism is closely related to topping charts. 

In response to Dupri's remarks, Kelly Rowland took to BuzzFeed to celebrate dark-skinned women, including herself, who beat all odds to become big names in the music industry. "I think that things will continue to get better. Whitney Houston did it: a chocolate girl. Jody Watley did it: chocolate girl. I did it, and I'm still not done," she said. 

Not that Rowland hasn't experienced discrimination on the basis of her color. As she recalled in an interview with Tan France for the BBC, "The first time I had a little boo friend, actually his grandmother compared me to the color of a paper bag and said I was too dark chocolate for him, and he couldn't date me." That broke her spirit and shaped her idea of beauty for some time, and she remembered wanting to look like Mariah Carey. Regarding her experiences with colorism in her professional life, she shared, "In the entertainment business, it manifested itself in constant comparisons." In 2013, Rowland told CNikky.com (via HuffPost) that Tina Knowles-Lawson helped her shake these insecurities and taught her to love her skin. 

The motherhood learning curve

2014 was an unforgettable year for Kelly Rowland: her biological mother, Dorris Rowland Garrison, died; she tied the knot with the love of her life, Tim Witherspoon; and last but not least, she became a mother. Her firstborn son, Titan Jewell Witherspoon, was well on his way to becoming a spoilt baby, as Rowland told Fox News (via ABC). In 2021, Rowland welcomed her second baby boy, Noah Jon Witherspoon. Rowland told Access Titan came up with his little brother's name. 

On mothering, Rowland told Billboard that it's a never-ending learning experience, one she masters as she goes. "I'm still navigating myself through motherhood. So the less pressure I put on myself and allow myself grace — because I'm not going to get it right every single time," she said in part.

Of course, Rowland's children were bound to discover their mom's superstar status in one way or another. As Rowland told Yahoo Life in 2022, Jon is too young to fully grasp the concept of fame, but Titan is starting to pick up on it and has some questions. After she gave her firstborn a crash course on the history of Destiny's Child, he replied, "I want to sing with my friends one day."

She keeps things spicy in her marriage

When Kelly Rowland appeared on "The Queen Latifah Show" in 2013, she bore good news. Former boxer Tim Witherspoon, her boyfriend at the time, had put a ring on it. The pair had been seeing each other in private for a long, long time. Jewelry connoisseur Michael O'Connor told E! News Rowland's four-carat bling must have set Witherspoon back a cool $100,000.

Just as they had kept their courtship low key, Rowland and Witherspoon's 2014 wedding was equally a quiet affair. Set in Costa Rica, the Daily Mail revealed that there were only 30 guests in attendance. Eight years later, the couple is leaving no tables unturned in spicing up their union. In an exclusive conversation with People, Rowland hinted at a saucy bedroom life. "As far as sex is concerned, I'm like, 'Well, if I have to play dress up and do role-play, honey, if I need to be Alicia tonight and give you a surprise in the middle of the night or something then it needs to happen,'" she dished. "We spice things up a bit and keep it fun."

A piece of advice to 13-year-old Kelly Rowland

As Kelly Rowland recalled to Marie Claire, she was only nine years old when she auditioned for Girls Tyme with a rendition of a Whitney Houston song. What began as a simple tryout morphed into a lifelong legacy. That she has paid her dues and then some is no news.

When Byrdie asked the "Motivation" hitmaker what wisdom she'd pass to her younger self, she said, "I would encourage the 13-year-old Kelly to not give a...! I wouldn't say that word specifically but I would definitely say it doesn't matter what other people think."

While it's impossible for Rowland to be 13 again, the next crop of music makers is in safe hands with her as a mentor — thereby having front-row seats to a Rowland masterclass. Just like her Destiny was predetermined, in 2016, Rowland took to BET's "Chasing Destiny" to help the next talented girl group find their own. "I wanted to create a show that felt organic like the way I came up in the music industry," Rowland told NBCBLK. Create it she did, eventually launching the careers of a group of gifted singers.