It’s been five years since Kelly Rowland reunited with her father, Christopher Lovett, after three decades of estrangement. Now the Destiny’s Child singer is opening up about the power of forgiveness.
On Tuesday, Rowland, who is guest co-hosting the fourth hour with Hoda Kotb, was joined by Lovett to share their path to reconciliation.
“I was angry at him, I was disappointed in him, I had all those feelings of abandonment,” Rowland, 41, revealed in a pre-recorded interview. “I didn’t know why he wasn’t there.”
“I think as a kid you just feel like if they’re not there, they don’t want to be,” she continued. “So that’s what I felt, and that feeling sucked.”
When Rowland toured with Destiny’s Child, her security team knew not to let Lovett backstage.
“I didn’t want to deal with that at the time. And now that I think about it, I’m like, ‘Ugh. That must have felt terrible,’” she said. “Because here he is watching his daughter … and he doesn’t get to be a part of that.”
Lovett remembered showing up at concerts only to be turned away.
"It was sad," Lovett said.
"That was me trying to protect myself," Rowland replied.
But Rowland said she felt an emotional shift shortly after she and her husband, Tim Weatherspoon, welcomed their son Titan in 2014. At the time, the star was also grieving the death of her mother, Doris Rowland Garrison.
“I said, ‘I really need to know him. I want to meet him,’” Rowland recalled. “I think I … had these feelings of like, ‘Oh my God, I have no parents.’ And it was like, no, you do, you have one left.”
That’s when Rowland decided it was time to reach out and set up a meeting at a hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. She was finally ready.
“Before I walked in, I had all these thoughts of what I was gonna say. ‘Cause, you know, it was hurt in there, it was disappointment in there, it was curiosity in there. There were so many questions,” she explained.
The two sat and talked for nearly two hours. Rowland, who said she mostly listened, learned about Lovett’s own painful childhood.
“He’s telling me about his dynamic with his father, and his father’s father, and it’s non-existent, too,” Rowland said. “So how can one learn how to be something when they weren’t taught?”
“He was doing the best he could with what he had,” she added.
"I wanted her to hear the other side of the story," Lovett said. "Some of the things that other people said (about me) weren't true. And I couldn't get a chance to see her ... and tell her that I love her."
Rowland needed to hear those words from Lovett.
"It was necessary. The little girl in me needed to hear that," Rowland said through tears.
Rowland, who is mom of boys Titan, 7, and Noah, 13 months, encouraged others to give their parents grace.
“It was four or five years ago when we rekindled our relationship, and it’s never too late,” she said. “Forgiveness is always right there.”