Brandy and Monica Talk Putting Their Past Behind Them Following Record-Breaking 'Verzuz' Battle (Exclusive)
By Meredith B. Kile
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More than two decades after their chart-topping, GRAMMY-winning duet, "The Boy Is Mine" -- and the rumored feud that followed -- Brandy and Monica reunited on Monday night, celebrating their biggest hits in a Verzuz battle that garnered over a million consecutive views on Instagram Live.
ET was exclusively on set with the superstar singers following their showdown, where they dished on what it felt like to be on the same virtual stage after all this time. The livestream broke a Verzuz record, with over 1.2 million consecutive viewers and famous fans like Michelle Obama, Mariah Carey, Missy Elliott and more popping up in the comments.
"It feels good," Brandy said. "I haven't seen her in so long, and so to still have this kind of chemistry, and love... No matter whatever has happened, like, I can just feel the love that I have for you."
The Verzuz series was started by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, and features two artists from similar genres, era, or other related moments going head to head, sharing their biggest hits and engaging with fans in an online showcase. For Brandy and Monica, the battle was a mile-marker of sorts in their relationship -- an attempt to put to rest years of tension and speculation following their one-and-only televised performance of "The Boy Is Mine," at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards.
“It was not something that I would say was anyone's fault,” Monica told ET prior to the battle of the pair's rocky relationship, admitting, “We all added to it and after a while it became real.”
Following their Verzuz appearance, it seems the two have done their best to put past tensions behind them.
"It's over now. And it took very adult conversation. There's no shame in saying that," Monica told ET on Monday. "We had to come to that place and to that moment that we had, that allowed us to sit here today. That had to happen first."
"I think communication is key," she added. "People talk about that in relationships, but it's the same thing when you're working together, or in a friendship or anything else... I spent a lot of years just puzzled, but kinda going through my own things in life, too. And so I found it easier to just stay apart than to come together. But with the communication here, it makes it easy to be in, to be amongst each other and then be genuine. 'Cause for me, if it's not sincere, then I don't want any part of it."
Brandy agreed, saying, "If it's not authentic, I can't be a part of it. And this entire experience felt divine, it felt like the right time. I think when it's this magical, it's bigger than feud, it's bigger than beef, it's like, you need to just let that go and just let the music speak."
The pair said that teaming up for the online show was a no-brainer, with Monica admitting that it was easier to find their groove than she expected. "I thought it was going to get difficult trying to figure out what song for the moment, but that is why I say, a lot of the time, love wins. And the reality of it is, we both have stories from throughout our years."
"Amen," Brandy agreed. "I just think it is something about us, and to share in this moment... We started when we were kids and we are still here."
However, just as fans pointed out a few tense moments during the live show, the pair couldn't help but rib each other a bit while speaking with ET.
"Only thing I'm upset about today is that she didn't sing all of the words to my songs like I did hers," Brandy jabbed. "We gon' work on it, though."
"I did!" Monica insisted.
Brandy's new album, B7, is out now. Monica's new single, "Trenches," which she dropped during the Verzuz battle, is available now on all digital platforms and their record-breaking Verzuz battle is available to stream on Instagram or Apple Music.
See more on the pair's relationship in the video below.