Story by Adell HendersonÂ Â Â
Photography Randee St. Nicholas
A weaker woman would’ve thrown in the towel by nowâ€”and not in the dripping-wet way we like. Filled with more publicized lows than highs, Christina Milian’s career has been bumpier than Kardashian’s backside. After years of playing it safe on the Disney circuit, the Cuban beauty reinvented herself as a sexually liberated singer turned actress. But rather than receiving platinum plaques and starring in Oscar-nominated films, she got a cheating celebrity boyfriend (Nick Cannon) and a record label (Island Def Jam) that gave her the boot in 2006 due to poor sales.
But hold all calls, Dancing with the Stars producers. Determined to prove that she’s more than just a gorgeously photogenic paparazzi subject, Milian, 27, is back with a two-part plan of attack. First, there’s her new record deal with the digital titans over at MySpace Music. Secondly, she’s beefing up her Hollywood rÃ©sumÃ© with a sexy costarring role alongside A-listers Jennifer Garner and Matthew McConaughey in this summer’s Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. Here’s to hoping she plays McConaughey’s nymphomaniac ex.
KING When Island Def Jam issued you the pink slip, it was the talk of the town. How’d that go down exactly?
CHRISTINA MILIAN It happened a week after my album [2006’s So Amazin’] came out, so I faked it for a while. A lot of people didn’t know that I got dropped, but I was still promoting for myselfâ€”not necessarily for them. It was a lot of stuff that I got taken off of because somebody was putting some bad energy out about me, so a lot of people separated themselves from me.
How tough was it to digest the humble pie?
When it all happened I was embarrassed. Then all these rumors went out which were so stupid. Everything from, “She didn’t take the [Rihanna] song â€˜S.O.S.,’â€ to trying to blame stuff on my man [Dre, of production duo Cool & Dre]. He had nothing to do with anything; all he did was produce music. He didn’t even become my man until after we were done with the album. They tried to use every excuse in the book to put me down, and it worked. It stopped a lot of things from happening for me at the moment.
Times like that must really separate the friends from the fakes.
You know who called me? Keyshia Cole and Amerieâ€”they called me immediately when they heard about it. They’re just really down chicks, and Janet [Jackson], too. I bumped into her at a club and talked to her for about an hour. She said, “Don’t stop doing what you do. Don’t let them do this to you.â€ That meant a lot to me. You rarely see girls go out of their way to do that.
Despite low sales, paparazzi shots of you bring more traffic to blogs than a Kanye West comment. Where do you think that endless love comes from?
I think I’m personable and humble. I think a lot of people can see that. When you get to know me, I’m just like any other girl. I like to smile, I like to have fun, I stay working and I keep in close touch with my fans.
Not to mention your seamless transition into womanhood. You went from Disney to “Dip It Low.â€ Well done.Â
I went from being the young girl who said, “I’d never do that,â€ to the girl who said, “I’m growing up.â€ I started dating a way older guy in a different place, and the next thing you know I’m dipping it low [laughs]. And since then it’s more of a “matureâ€ sexy, as opposed to me being like, “Hey, I’m developing my body.â€ My mom always taught me to be comfortable with myself.
Thanks, Mom! Is that inner sexiness something only exposed onstage or does it come out behind closed doors, too?
I think I kind of let people see the person that I really am, but when it comes to my man, it can be a little different [laughs]. That’s that private-dancer side. We all got to have some secrets every now and then. Outfits can be cute, high heels are hot, and there’s nothing like a giggle and a smile to go along with the fun [laughs].
Dre is one lucky son of a bitch. Is everything still love songâ€“worthy between the two of you?
I’m still in my situation, but he’s on the East Coast and I’m on the West. For me, it’s about taking small steps, like pacing out my career, eventually living together and getting to know each other.
You really are all grown up. You’ll be a wife with kids in no time.
I want to have two kids someday but not too soon, and I’m not ready for marriage. I think that there are certain steps that need to happen before that. Some people can do it quick. I don’t want to be like a lot of these other people in Hollywood who get so caught up in everything, and the next thing you know, they move on like it’s nothing. I value marriage way more than that.
No quick Hollywood marriages, eh? Very interesting. There’s actually a certain ex of yours who was still wildin’ out when you were together, and he’s now wedded. Any thoughts on his overnight nuptials?
I didn’t even think about that when I was talking just now. I’m actually very happy for [Nick Cannon]. I think because of the age difference, it’s going to work out well for them, because she seems really happy [and] he brings a youthful energy. He’s a good person to be around.
Way to coast down the high road. Let’s keep the sincerity alive here: You were ready to choke a bitch for cheating. Admit it.
I’m so over being hurt. Back then people would ask me about it, and I would tell them my true feelings at the time. Now that I’ve grown up, I really do forgive him. We were both young, and as a young guy, he surrounded himself with women with his TV shows and all that kind of stuff. It’s part of a boy’s temptation, especially at that age, so I understand. I’m definitely over it now, and I’m happy for him.