TIME

Q&A: Michelle Williams on Destiny’s Child, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Her Rumored Feud With Beyoncé

Pepsi Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show Press Conference
Michelle Williams attends the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show Press Conference at Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center on January 30, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Al Pereira/FilmMagic) Al Pereira—FilmMagic

"It seems to be a mystery, or a wonder, like, if we're still friends or something."

She may be best known as one-third of the R&B supergroup Destiny’s Child—during its early ’00s incarnation with Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland—but Michelle Williams is making plenty of moves on her own. In addition to serving as a spokeswoman for Playtex tampons, the 33-year-old singer is prepping for her new album—and her role as Mary Magdalene in a just-announced arena-tour production of Jesus Christ Superstar (opposite *NSYNC’s J.C. Chasez, among others). Here, she talks with Time.

Superstar has a pretty eclectic cast. Who are you most excited to work with?
I’m ready to learn from all of them. I mean, who would’ve thought I’d be paired with John Lydon of the Sex Pistols and Brandon Boyd from Incubus and J.C. Chasez from *NSYNC? When girl groups and boy bands collide! As of today, we’ve been working together for the past few days.

How’s it going?
I’ve already started causing trouble.

Oh yeah?
I’m the only female in the principal cast! So I gotta do stuff to make it fun and not too boy-y.

Are you pulling pranks?
I’m definitely gonna be pulling pranks. Today, John Lydon was, of course, being his obnoxious, amazing, funny self. So I’m gonna use all of that to my advantage.

Your new Playtex campaign is all about bouncing back from embarrassing moments. What has been yours?

With Destiny’s Child, we know the infamous fall.

This one?
Yes. That happened. And literally, I had no choice but to keep going. It’s live television. But I have fallen along with the best of ‘em—Madonna, Usher, Robbie Williams, my good sister Beyoncé. So I’m in the fall of fame.

Ha.
Y’all can pay me for that one later!

I’ll add a trademark when we publish.
[laughs]

So how’d you learn to laugh it off?
It took me like four years to actually watch the footage. It literally took me that long. But my revelation yesterday was, I’m still working, I’m still here, I’m alive, and hey, ok.

I’m sure it helps that embarrassing moment helped you land an endorsement deal.
I mean, hey. With Playtex. I’m a woman, you know what that means! It was also a good way to celebrate with the everyday woman—to let them know, like, ok you see me in pictures and photographs and stuff, but I’m human. Like, let’s get together. Share with me your most humiliating moments and how you got over them. Because honestly, these moments can be funny. But sharing them really can help somebody else.

Do you remember sharing any embarrassing moments with Kelly or Beyoncé? Did they ever, like, fall on stage in front of you?
Um, no. Every now and then, just period with artists, you might—you know, you can play things off. You never know, did she trip or—

Was that a new dance move she just invented?
Yeah.

So you just reunited with Beyoncé to record the song “Superpower”—
[sighs] Yes, to round it all out, we still support each other. We’re still amazing friends. Whether it’s to support each other musically, or just personally, when we happen to be in the same city, so—I’ll ask you a question. I just wanna know.

Sure.
It seems to be a mystery, or a wonder, like, if we’re still friends or something. And I always wonder, what is the fascination? This is a genuine question.

Well, generally speaking, fighting is more interesting than friendship.
Well, I’m so sorry to report—breaking news! We have very boring lives as far as that’s concerned. And once again, to even play off the Playtex campaign, to show togetherness and unity, you don’t have to be catty, you don’t have to be mean, you can support one another.

Of course.
I’m just curious, like, we [Destiny's Child] haven’t had an album out in 10 years. I’m just still wondering the fascination. And I’m not being mean or smart. That is a real question. Like, really?

In some ways, it’s a compliment that people still care so much—
No, I know that. But it’s like, [mimics voice of reporter] ‘Are y’all friends?’ Did y’all not just see us at dinner?!

I wasn’t gonna go there. I promise.
Cool beans. Let’s go.

So are you still friends with Beyoncé?
[laughs] Shush!

Tell me about your new album.
It’s titled Journey to Freedom, because it was my journey, and I had to learn that life—that’s what it is. It’s one day at a time. It’s not a sprint. It is a journey, and freedom from whatever keeps a person operating at their very best. I don’t care what it is—procrastination, depression, toxic relationships, fear. All of those things can keep you from moving forward.

Your faith has played a role in other albums you’ve done. Is that true here as well?
Absolutely. Because of all the genres of music I’ve done—I’ve done R&B/pop, I’ve done dance/EDM, so this album, if i was to say this is my last solo album I’m proud of because it’s like a musical gumbo of all the music that I’ve ever done.

Musical gumbo. I like it.
Yeah. It tastes good, don’t it?

You mentioned you had a couple collaborations. Any hints about what they are?
Not yet! It’s gonna be amazing. But my first single, If I Had Your Eyes, featured a remix with Fanatasia, so that’s out right now.

We’ll make sure to include a link.
Well, thank you. Coinage!

And lastly—I have to ask. Any chance of another Destiny’s Child reunion?
To be honest with you, that’s just something that we never talk about. That is the elephant that’s in the room at times.

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