Have Ashanti and Ja Rule Ever Hooked Up -- and 9 Other Secrets Revealed During 'Truth or Drink'!
By Sophie Schillaci
"Honey! The tea is hot and the kettle is overflowing."
Ashanti is "putting all my guts out on the table" with her "vulnerable" and "risky" new music -- but first, the GRAMMY-winning artist is spilling tea on her storied life and career in a game of "Truth or Drink" for the latest installment of ET's Interviews Under the Influence series.
Ashanti dished on her enduring friendship with Ja Rule -- admitting whether or not the duo has ever hooked up! The 37-year-old also opened up about what she really thought of that infamous Beyonce review back in 2003 and how she whipped herself into break-the-internet bikini shape for her spot in the new Ciroc French Vanilla commercial.
Suffice it to say, the "Say Less" singer was definitely in a sharing, "say more" kinda mood during this revealing sit-down. Watch it below and read on for a breakdown of her biggest reveals.
1. Have Ashanti and Ja Rule ever taken their relationship beyond the friend zone?
"Absolutely not!" she says. "Never, ever. I don't know what it was with us two. From the first time we met, it was like, 'Oh, that's my brother!' 'Oh, that's my sister!'"
2. Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton was apparently inspired by Ashanti and Ja.
"Lin actually had his people reach out to us, and told us backstage after we saw the play that he was inspired by Ja and I -- Hamilton and Liza were inspired by us," she said.
"So when me and Ja went to see the play and went backstage, I was just like, 'Oh my gosh, that's crazy!' So [Miranda] was really emotional just seeing both of us," she continued. "It's like his vision came to life. It really was such a moving experience because for him to say that we inspired the play is crazy."
But don't expect to see Ashanti, who previously played Dorothy in The Wiz, to return to Broadway anytime soon.
"I don't think I could do it again," she admitted. "It is very time consuming. Like, that's what you eat, sleep and breathe."
3. Ashanti has "a lot of secret stories" from the set of John Tucker Must Die.
"At the time, the person that I was dating was sneaking up there to Canada a lot," she teased. "It wasn't supposed to be happening, but it was happening. ... People started to know because there were a bunch of roses being delivered to my room."
4. On that infamous 2003 Beyonce review in the New York Times...
"Wow, we're going there today?!" she squealed. "I was just like, 'Wow.' It was super flattering. What I didn't like so much is that the media has a way of pitting people against each other. Her and I had always had a very cool camaraderie."
5. She had to fight to keep another one of her favorite songs from J.Lo.
Ashanti has been famously open about writing the song "I'm Real" -- only to have Irv Gotti give it to Jennifer Lopez instead. Now, she reveals that Lopez nearly recorded another one of her favorite songs: "Rescue," from her debut album.
"I remember at the time the CEO of my label was trying to make me give it to J.Lo," she said. "And we had a fight, 'cause I was like, 'No! I already gave a record that I love to J.Lo.'"
Ashanti admits that she was skeptical that her song, "Baby," was too low, but ended up happy with how it turned out.
However, one of the biggest hits of her career, "Rock Wit You (Awww Baby)," haunts her to this day.
"That's a big record," she said, revealing that it's also her least favorite to perform live and she frequently attempts to cut it out of her sets.
"I don't know what it is," she said. "My mom and my DJ, they yell at me and they force me to put it back in the show."
7. Patti LaBelle saved her from a wardrobe malfunction at the GRAMMYs.
"She came up to my singing 'Always on Time,' she gave me a hug and then she came up to me, 'Oh, girl, your thing is out!' And she lifted it up and she's like, 'Oh, come on. Let's fix this.' She had her makeup artist come over and double stick tape my boob into my dress."
8. The hit that got away -- and went to Alicia Keys!
Eve's"Gangsta Lovin'" could have been an Ashanti collaboration. "They asked me if I wanted to do that first. I don't know what I was on, it just didn't happen," she said. "That was a great record!"
9. She and ex Nelly don't talk -- but his parents still text her.
"What I will say is sometimes there are messages transpired through other people," she hinted. "I still talk to his parents, though. I actually talked to his dad this morning. They always say to let them know when I'm gonna be on TV."
10. Her secret to being in break-the-internet bikini shape.
Ashanti steals the show in the ad for Diddy and French Montana's new Ciroc French Vanilla flavor, emerging from a pool in nothing but a glittering string bikini.
"Puff and I had been talking for a while and he's like, 'I want you to have the Bo Derek moment,'" she said. "When I finally got the bikini, it's all crystal-y and I'm like, 'Oh, this is it?!'"
More than 15 years after her explosive Guinness World Record-setting debut, Ashanti still looks nothing short of flawless and can't help but gush that she's still "all natural."
Her secret to staying in break-the-internet shape?
"Honestly, you really do have to watch what you eat. It matters," she said. "I'm a big believer in juicing. One of my many secrets, I will tell you, celery, cucumber, ginger and a tiny bit of coconut water in the blender."