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Page 1

 The ladies' strength is their friendship, and they've got tapes of their conversations to prove it ...

Page 2

 Destiny's Child show off their voices with mid-tempo music and hip-hop handiwork ...

Page 3

 "We're going to be good," Michelle says. "We're going to wear tank tops when we're 90!" ...

Destiny's Child on "TRL" 11.08.2004

 Three Friends Reunited

 At The Radio Music Awards 10.25.2004

 At The NFL Opening Kickoff 09.09.2004

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— by Corey Moss

Excuse Destiny's Child for a second while they gush over me.

"God bless your soul," Kelly Rowland says with a warm smile. "Somebody with a heart. It beats!"

"Finally!" Beyoncé interjects.

"The first person in 10 years to notice!" Michelle Williams adds.

It's midway through our interview and I've just asked my longwinded, strategically placed toughest question and ... answered it for them.

  Photos: Destiny's Child Reunited
"Beyoncé, your solo album was a smash. Kelly, you had a huge single with Nelly and a huge movie with ... Freddy. Michelle, your albums were #1 gospel hits. Why come back together?"

Nervous pause.

"I mean, seeing you together this afternoon, it's obvious you just enjoy being around each other," I add ... to much fanfare.

I'm not ass-kissing. Really. From the second the ladies enter our suite at the lavish Regent Beverly Wilshire (where Julia Roberts' character lives it up in "Pretty Woman"), the ladies are constantly giggling, exchanging compliments and finishing each other's sentences. There's also this unexplainable aura around them and, unbeknownst to Destiny's Child, I'm not the first to notice it.

"At first I thought, 'How is this going to work?' " Rodney Jerkins, who produced two tracks on their new album, would recall at his studio a few weeks later. " 'Cause Beyoncé, she blew up solo, so how's it going to work in a group together? But when I got there, just seeing the excitement of them being back in the studio together, it was just natural. Those girls are sisters and it's not just a group. They have a bond."

"You gotta realize," Mathew Knowles, their manager (and Beyoncé's father), explains. "Kelly lived with us from 9 years old until she moved out at 21, so they really are like sisters. And Michelle has been a godsend. They really, truly love each other, and that's what makes them such a unique group. When I see Michelle, Beyoncé and Kelly together, it's purely magic. It's a beautiful thing to see."

  Photos: Destiny's Child on "TRL" 11.08.2004
"People ask why," Beyoncé, perched on a velvet bench with her bandmates, says after all the gushing. "We're friends. We enjoy each other. We sound good together. We grew up together and hopefully we can set an example for other groups, and other female groups especially, that you can support each other and not be insecure and be happy for one another. And it's OK to do solo projects and to grow up and get a life. But it's also OK to come back together. You know? It doesn't always have to be what the media tries to make it out to be. Women can get along and be businesswomen and be smart and not be catty all the time."

Beyoncé, Kelly and Michelle's relationship is clearly what brought the women back together, which might explain why it's also the nucleus of their new album, Destiny Fulfilled.

When Destiny's Child first reunited this summer, it had been so long since the three of them had spent quality time together that the first week in the studio was spent solely catching up, talking about each other's lives.

Being that they were in a studio and all, the women decided to record their conversations. "And that's where we got the theme of the record," Beyoncé says excitedly. "And it turns out that all of the songs tell a story. The second song is a continuation of the first song and it goes on and on."

  Destiny's Child
"Lose My Breath"
Destiny Fulfilled
The album opens with "Lose My Breath," the rhythmically dynamic first single about a man full of empty promises.

"He's not fulfilling you like he says, so you tell him, 'I need a soldier,' " Beyoncé says, referencing the album's second track, "Soldier," a Southern hip-hop jam with the album's only special guests, T.I. and Lil' Wayne. "The third song is 'Cater 2 U.' You found that soldier and you want to cater to him. And [the album continues with] this whole journey of this group of women trying to find love. And truly they find it because they love themselves and find it in themselves. It's friendship, it's love, it's maturity and growth, and it's everything that we wanted it to be."

NEXT: But after all this time, have Destiny's Child's fans moved on? ...
Photo: Columbia Records

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 Listen to Destiny Fulfilled on "The Leak"

 "Lose My Breath"
Destiny Fulfilled

Destiny Fulfilled

 "Cater 2 U"
Destiny Fulfilled

Destiny Fulfilled