EXCLUSIVE: Black Eyed Peas Support Fergie After She Leaves Group: She's 'Still in the Family'

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Fergie is officially a full-time solo artist.

Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am confirmed this week that Fergie is no longer in the pop group. "Since the beginning of Black Eyed Peas, we've always had amazing vocalists that appeared on the mic with us. People like Macy Gray, Esthero, Debi Nova, Fergie. On Elephunk, there were several females that appeared on that album," he explains to English-language UAE entertainment news magazine Ahlan. "Obviously Fergie was the featured female, but on songs like 'Let's Get it Started,' it's Noelle [Scaggs], and then Fergie, songs like 'Latin Girls,' it's Debi Nova, and 'Request Line,' it's Macy Gray. We'll always work with good females."

Although will.i.am confirms Fergie is not a full-time member of the Black Eyed Peas, a source close to the group tells ET that the "Fergalicious" singer has the support of her former bandmates as she pursues other music endeavors. “Fergie is still in the family but is focusing on her solo project,” the source says. “She is like a sister to them. They fully support her.”

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As for whether a new female member will be joining will.i.am, Taboo and apl.de.ap, that doesn't seem to be a priority for the group. "As for replacing, what people know the Black Eyed Peas to be, nobody is replacing Fergie," will.i.am notes to Ahlan. "She's working on her solo project at the moment, we're on this brand new experience, celebrating 20 years of Black Eyed Peas putting out music. We worked on a bunch of songs on her solo record, we're proud that she has her label, but Black Eyed Peas are pushing it forward in terms of content, technology and experiences on our new project, Masters of the Sun."

The 42-year-old musician also responds to speculation that former Pussycat Dolls frontwoman Nicole Scherzinger would be replacing Fergie. "Nicole is on the new BEP project as well," he admits. "I don't want to go into details [on] how she's involved yet."

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Fergie, 42, first joined the group in 2002 as a lead singer and went on to record her own solo album, The Dutchess, in 2006. She has not recorded with the Black Eyed Peas since 2005 and last performed with them at the 2015 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Will.i.am and Fergie were last seen together in September when they posed at London Fashion Week.

In December, Fergie released her single, "Life Goes On," following her feel-good summer jam, "M.I.L.F. $." This is the second offering from her highly anticipated sophomore solo album, whose LP is said to be titled Double Dutchess, a playful nod to her 2006 debut. Last December, Fergie also released a special two-LP vinyl reissue of The Dutchess.

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