"I'll always love him," Chilli confesses.
Usher was a "real love," for Chilli the TLC member says in an new interview with Us magazine. The couple broke up in 2003 reportedly over Usher's infidelity, rumored to be the subject of his smash 2004 album, Confessions. Chilli says the truth of the rumors are about someone else.
"We were together when he recorded that album," the 42-year-old said of the diamond-selling collection. "All of those songs on Confessions, that was about Jermaine Dupri's situation. Usher was just singing it. But people kind of bought into it, it was just the timing of our breakup when the album came out. So people assumed that album was about us, but it was not."
Maintaining that the two weren't "oil and water," the split was apparently inevitable. "We broke up because I guess it was that time or whatever," she continued, adding "he was that real love for me."
Without going too much into detail, Chilli, who shares a son with producer Dallas Austin, hinted to the split being her decision. "In any relationship, even when it came to my relationship with Usher, when it was time to make a move, I had to do that," she said. "I don't care how much my heart was hurting, sometimes you're just supposed to be with people for a reason and it's not always a lifetime. Even if you want it to be, it just doesn't work out that way.
"But I'll always love him, forever, because he was my first adult love, a real love,"
Today, Chilli and Usher are "really cool," a far cry from the 35-year-old's contentious relationship with ex-wife Tameka Raymond, with whom he was embroiled in a very public custody battle. A judge awarded him custody of their two sons, Usher V and Naviyd Raymond. Tameka has promised to fight the decision but lost in an emergency custody hearing over the summer after Naviyd almost drowned while Usher was out of town. Commenting on the failed marriage, the "No Scrubs" singer refused to throw her ex under the bus. "I wasn't part of any of that kind of stuff. Our relationship was never like that. That's his story."
Chilli and group member T-Boz shared their own narrative in the VH1 biopic Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story, which premiered last night (Oct. 21) and stars Lil Mama, KeKe Palmer and Drew Sidora. The flick, co-produced by the duo, recounts the group's rise and fall amid personal and professional struggles and the 2002 death of Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes.
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(Photo: Brad Barket/Getty Images for VH1)