For years, the London, England duo of Marsha Ambrosius and Natalie Stewart enchanted ears and minds as the duo of Floetry. With songs like “Say Yes,” “Floetic” and “Getting Late,” their brand of soul gave them a loyal fan base that still swears by their music years later.
But they suddenly split in 2006, right before hitting their 10-year mark as a group. Fans never had any real answers for why, until now.
In an interview with Ebony, Ambrosius says that Stewart was in an abusive relationship. Their friendship took a toll as she was trying to be there for Stewart.
“I know what happened. You know what happened. Let’s move on,” Ambrosius told Ebony. “But I couldn’t, because if the other person is in a very damaging, abusive relationship and you’re the best friend that’s watching all of this unfold before your eyes… I can’t see you die. I don’t want to be here for that and it’s unfair for me to see you go through this.”
Ambrosius said during the relationship, that she was keeping the stories of the abuse Stewart as a secret. It seems that keeping everything bottled in began to wear down their friendship.
“I felt me protecting what I felt happened and not wanting to disclose these stories was protecting her. I remember when we got into an argument [afterwards] she said, ‘What are you protecting me for?’” Ambrosius said.
“I was like, you’re absolutely right. I’ve damaged my own heart, taking on the burden of someone else’s bulls**t and vice versa. But it’s what I do. I’m a loyal person to the bitter end. I’m going to try and sugarcoat this s**t until it f**king stinks. I do it every time.”
Everything reached a head in 2006, when Floetry was preparing for a show in New York. Ambrosius saw Stewart’s boyfriend at the show, and she was distraught from seeing what Stewart had been put through. She cried in the bathroom until opening act Emily King encouraged her to hit the stage.
“That night i was about to walk away,” Ambrosius said.
The group split weeks later, with their label refusing to meet Stewart’s demands for a solo deal. The group temporarily had Amanda Seales (formerly Amanda Diva) as a replacement member, but that didn’t last long either.
The longtime friends reunited in 2014, after Stewart reached out to Ambrosius’ manager during Ambrosius’ Friends & Lovers Tour. The two didn’t speak about the abusive relationship from before; they just reconnected and became friends again. They performed a gig together and had a reunion tour in 2015.
“We just embraced, tears fell, looked over old photos, brought up old jokes. This is my friend. This is the person that I loved,” Ambrosius said. “We didn’t have to rehearse. We had to hear the music and there we were, right back on stage, side by side,” she says. “That never died. What does is old feelings, old habits.”
She said there aren’t any plans for more Floetry albums, but this does give some closure to fans who have always wondered why the group split in the first place. What’s even more important than music is that Stewart made it out of the abusive relationship in one piece, and that their friendship is still in tact.
is a journalist who covers music, pop culture, film/TV, race, culture and social justice. He is an editor at Okayplayer, and his work has appeared in Complex, Billboard, Guardian, NPR, MTV, Ebony, HipHopDX, The Flint Journal-MLive, and other publications.