It’s been over 20 years since the girl group 3LW (short for Three Little Women) debuted on the music scene as R&B pop sensations. The original lineup was Adrienne Bailon, Kiely Williams, and Naturi Naughton, whose album No More (Baby I'ma Do Right) jump-started their career in 1999. They followed their 1999 success with the 2001 single "Playas Gon' Play," proving they would not end up as just another girl group with only one early 2000s hit. Still, decades later, fans of the Three Little Women wonder: where is 3LW today?
Drama brewed among the stars, and Naughton ended up leaving the group before the release of their next album, A Girl Can Mack. Continuing as a duo, Williams and Bailon eventually found Jessica Benson, who took over in place of Naughton. The new 3LW continued to make music until disbanding in 2007. Although Benson has maintained her privacy since leaving the group, the original three members have been hard at work crafting successful careers as actresses, hosts, writers, and solo artists. Read on to find out what happened to the former pop sensation 3LW.
- Photo: Epic Records
Naughton And Williams Reportedly Clashed
By 2002, Naughton and Williams allegedly were not getting along. The feud between the singers came to a head right before the release of their second album, A Girl Can Mack. According to Naughton, the two women got into a heated argument that escalated to include Bailon and their manager.
The deal breaker came when their argument turned physical. Naughton explained:
Kiely throws her plate of food all in my face - mashed potatoes, macaroni all in my hair, down my clothes, messing up my [hair]do!
She drew the line at being physically struck and requested a flight back home immediately. Their label disputed her claims, stating that no physical alteration ever took place. Naughton also described how she felt mounting pressure from the team's manager, Michelle Williams, who was also Kiely's mother. She said she felt inadequate and was encouraged to leave the group.
- Photo: Jive Records
Naughton Was Replaced With Jessica Benson
With Naughton out of the group, the remaining members, Williams and Bailon, continued to promote themselves as a duo under the 3LW moniker. The group's public drama and loss of Naughton still affected their sales. They debuted at #15 on Billboard's Top 200 and only sold 53,000 copies in their first week.
The team finally decided to begin looking for a replacement member and, in 2002, held auditions in New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. They eventually chose Jessica Benson, a 15-year-old singer and dancer from Maryland. Her performances with the group included the Soul Train Music Awards in 2003. 3LW eventually disbanded in 2007.
- Photo: Disney Channel
Bailon And Williams Starred In 'The Cheetah Girls'
Bailon and Williams were both cast as leads in Disney's 2003 movie The Cheetah Girls. The final cast included both Bailon and Williams, as well as The Cosby Show alum Raven-Symoné, and actress/singer Sabrina Bryan.
The Cheetah Girls became a successful hit for Disney Channel, and the quartet who recorded songs for the soundtrack went double platinum by 2005.
Naughton Broke Into Acting
After leaving 3LW, Naughton decided to continue her entertainment career. She played Little Inez in the Broadway musical, Hairspray between 2004 and 2008. Her debut film role was as Lil' Kim in the 2009 biopic, Notorious. She also starred as Denise Dupree in the musical movie, Fame.
Naughton's additional film appearances include roles in Lottery Ticket and Highland Park. She has shown up on numerous TV shows with smaller roles in hits such as Mad Men and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. She also secured recurring roles on two series: The Playboy Club and The Client List.