Tionne Watkins

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Tionne Watkins
Watkins performing in 2016
Watkins performing in 2016
Background information
Birth nameTionne Tenese Watkins
Also known asT-Boz, Tionne Rolison
Born (1970-04-26) April 26, 1970 (age 52)
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
OriginAtlanta, Georgia, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actress
  • author
Years active1990–present[1]
Member ofTLC
(m. 2000; div. 2004)

Tionne Tenese Watkins (born April 26, 1970),[2] better known by her stage name T-Boz, is an American singer and actress. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Watkins rose to fame in the early 1990s as a member of the girl-group TLC. She has won four Grammy Awards for her work with TLC.

Early life[edit]

Tionne Watkins was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on April 26, 1970, to James and Gayle Watkins. She has written that she is of African American, Native American and Irish descent.[3][4] Watkins' family moved from Des Moines to Atlanta, Georgia, when she was nine years old.[5]



Crystal Jones held auditions for a singing group and chose Watkins, and Lisa Lopes. The group eventually attracted the attention of Perri "Pebbles" Reid and her husband, Antonio "L.A." Reid, head of LaFace Records. Jones was replaced with Rozonda Thomas and the group was signed in 1991 as TLC. In order to preserve the TLC name, Watkins is now named "T-Boz", while Lopes became "Left Eye" and Thomas became "Chilli". The successful group sold more than 65 million records.[6] T-Boz has won four Grammy Awards as a member of TLC.[7] Since Lopes' death in 2002, T-Boz and Chilli have performed as a duo.

In late 2011, VH1 announced plans to produce a biopic on the group.[8] Watkins and Thomas signed on as producers. The film, CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, premiered October 21, 2013. The role of Watkins was portrayed by actress/singer Drew Sidora. Watkins' daughter, Chase, portrayed a younger Tionne in the film.

Solo work[edit]

In addition to her work with TLC, Watkins has recorded solo singles like "Touch Myself" (for the soundtrack of the 1996 film Fled) and "My Getaway" (for the soundtrack of the 2000 film Rugrats in Paris: The Movie). Additionally, she has been a featured vocalist on songs such as "Ghetto Love" with Da Brat, "Changes" with Society of Soul, "He Say She Say" with Keith Sweat, "Different Times" with Raphael Saadiq and "Be Somebody" with Paula Cole. She also featured on the song "It's Good" by YoungBloodZ.[9] On January 22, 2013, Watkins released her first solo single in over 15 years titled "Champion".[10] The song was released digitally, and proceeds went to help raise awareness for people suffering from blood conditions such as sickle cell and leukemia.[11] On September 6, 2017, Watkins released her latest single digitally from her audiobook "A Sick Life" titled "Dreams".[12]

Television and film[edit]

Watkins has worked as an actress, appearing in Hype Williams' 1998 film Belly.[13] She also appeared in two episodes of Living Single, the first time guest-starring along with her bandmates and another time without them. Watkins served as one of the executive producers for the 2006 movie ATL featuring the rapper, T.I.[14] She also appeared on The Real Housewives of Atlanta as a friend of Kandi Burruss.[15] Watkins made a guest appearance as Pam Grier in one episode of the Adult Swim series Black Dynamite. In 2009, Watkins was a participant in the eighth season of The Apprentice, finishing in 11th place.[16] Watkins' reality TV show Totally T-Boz, premiered January 1, 2013, on the TLC network, and ran four episodes.[6] The show chronicled Watkins' quest to create a solo album, reunite with bandmember, Chilli, and her life with her daughter Chase.

In 2016, Watkins and Chili joined actress Zoe Saldana onstage for her second round performance of "No Scrubs" on Spike's Lip Sync Battle against actor Zachary Quinto.[17] In November 2016, she began a two-month acting stint as Sheila, a hardened prison inmate, on Days of Our Lives.[18] Watkins would later return to Days of Our Lives as a recurring character, playing the zany ex-con Sheila, in both 2017 and 2018. In 2017, she lent her voice to a character in Trolland, also known as Trollz, a direct-to-DVD CGI-animated movie.

Other work[edit]

Watkins published a book of semi-autobiographical poetry called Thoughts on November 3, 1999.[19] In 2005, Watkins and stylist Tara Brivic (who would later appear regularly on Totally T-Boz) opened a children's boutique called Chase's Closet (named after her daughter).[20][21] It was shut down years later.[22] TLC also released a soundtrack album 20 marking both the band's 20-plus year legacy in entertainment business and the release of their biopic, this album included a new track written by singer Ne-Yo, "Meant to Be". They also had guest vocals on J. Cole's track "Crooked Smile".[23] TLC celebrated their return with a series of highly publicized performances which included 2 dates: VH1's Mixtape Festival in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on July 27, 2013, and Drake's OVO Fest in Toronto on August 5, 2013. They released an album, TLC, on June 30, 2017.[24]

Personal life[edit]

As a child, Watkins was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia.[25] Since the age of seven, she has been in and out of the hospital due to the painful condition.[25] T-Boz opened up to the public about the disease in 1996;[26] she later became one of the spokespersons for Sickle Cell Disease Association of America.[27][28] In 2002, she was hospitalized for four months due to a flare-up of sickle-cell anemia.[29] She is a national co-chair of the progressive organization Health Care Voter.[30]

On August 19, 2000, Watkins married rapper Mack 10 in California.[31] The couple's daughter, Chase Anela Rolison, was born premature a few months later on October 20, 2000.[5] In June 2004, she filed for divorce, and requested a restraining order against the rapper.[32] In 2012, Watkins moved with Chase from Atlanta to Los Angeles, California, in order for Chase to be closer to her father.

In October 2009, Watkins revealed that she had secretly battled a potentially fatal brain tumor for three years.[33][34] In March 2006, she was diagnosed as having a grape-sized acoustic neuroma on her vestibular nerve that affected her balance, weight, hearing, sight, and facial movement. Many physicians refused to remove the tumor due to her sickle-cell-related complications, leaving her alternatives grim. Ultimately, she underwent surgery at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.[35]

Watkins filed for bankruptcy in February 2011 and again in October 2011.[36] In an episode of the Reelz TV series Broke & Famous, entertainment reporter Viviana Vigil stated Watkins spent $9,000 a month and owed $770,000 on her home with a reported monthly income of $11,000, while another reporter Nina Parker cited Watkins's medical bills and brain tumor.[36]

In June 2016, Watkins announced that she had adopted a 10-month-old boy named Chance.[37]


  • Watkins, Tionne (1999). Thoughts. HarperEntertainment. ISBN 978-0-06-105183-8.
  • Watkins, Tionne (2017). A Sick Life: TLC 'n Me: Stories from On and Off the Stage. Rodale Books. ISBN 978-1-62336-860-9.



As lead artist[edit]

List of singles as a lead artist, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
"Touch Myself" 1996 40 23 48 Fled
"My Getaway" 2000 79 86 44 Rugrats in Paris: The Movie: Music from the Motion Picture
"Champion"[10] 2013 Non-album singles
"Dreams"[12] 2017

As featured artist[edit]

List of singles as a featured artist, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Album

"Touch Myself" (Remix)
(Richie Rich featuring T-Boz and Jermaine Dupri)
1996 Seasoned Veteran and The Game
"Ghetto Love"
(Da Brat featuring T-Boz)
1997 16 11 4 Anuthatantrum
"Tight To Def"
(Mack 10 featuring T-Boz)
2000 65 The Paper Route
(DJ Deckstream featuring T-Boz)
2009 Deckstream Soundtracks 2

Guest appearances[edit]

List of non-single guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"Word to the Badd"[44] 1991 Jermaine Jackson You Said
"Be Somebody"[45] 1999 Paula Cole Amen
"Different Times"[46] 2002 Raphael Saadiq Instant Vintage
"It's Good"[47] 2005 YoungBloodZ Ev'rybody Know Me
"Red Planet"[48] 2012 Little Mix DNA
"Creep"[49] 2015 Eric Bellinger Cuffing Season

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
1997 "Ghetto Love" (with Da Brat) Gustavo Garzon



Year Title Role
1994 House Party 3 Sex as a Weapon (as TLC)
1998 Belly Tionne
2016 Trolland Jarvik (voice)
2021 After Masks Cheryl


Year Title Role Notes
1992 CBS Schoolbreak Special 1st Rapper (as TLC) Episode: "Words Up!"
Out All Night Herself (as TLC) Episode: "Pilot"
Showtime at the Apollo Herself (as TLC) Episode: "#6.12"
1995 Living Single Herself (as TLC) Episode: "The Following Is a Sponsored Program"
1997 The Hitchhiker Episode: "Three Men and a Buckeye"
1999 Ultra Sound Herself (as TLC) Episode: "TLC: You've Got Mail"
1999-04 Behind the Music Herself Episode: "TLC" & "TLC: The Final Chapter"
2000 Sally Jessy Raphael Herself Episode: "I'm 13 and Too Ugly to Live!"
2001 Top Ten Herself Episode: "Girl Bands"
2003 Born to Diva Judge TV Series
2003 (Inside) Out Herself Episode: "Toni Braxton: Family Comes First"
2005 R U the Girl Herself/hostess TV Series
2009 The Apprentice Herself/Contestant Main Cast: Season 8
The Real Housewives of Atlanta Herself Episode: "Unbeweavable"
2010 What Chilli Wants Herself Episode: "The Floyd Situation"
2013 Totally T-Boz Herself Main Cast
2014 Black Dynamite Pam Grier / Anti-Bionic Girl Episode: "Sweet Bill's Badass Singalong Song or Bill Cosby Ain't Himself"
2016 The Haunting of... Herself Episode: "The Haunting of Tionne T-Boz Watkins"
2017 Lip Sync Battle Herself (as TLC) Episode: "Zoe Saldana vs. Zachary Quinto"
Hollywood Medium With Tyler Henry Herself Episode: "Mel B/Reza Farahan/Jana Kramer/Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins"
2019 Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta Herself 2 Episodes
2016–20 Days of Our Lives Sheila Watkins Regular Cast


  1. ^ Steve Huey. "TLC". AllMusic. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  2. ^ "Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins Biography". Biography.com (FYI / A&E Networks). Archived from the original on June 21, 2018. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  3. ^ Thoughts accessed 2008-08-29, Author Tionne Watkins, Published 1999, Publisher HarperCollins Publishers
  4. ^ The reliable source (July 6, 2011). "Celebvocate: T-Boz recruits bone-marrow donors". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Watkins, Tionne (September 12, 2017). A Sick Life: TLC 'n Me: Stories from On and Off the Stage. Rodale. p. 39. ISBN 978-1-62336-861-6. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Hollywood Reporter (October 1, 2012). "TLC's T-Boz Gets Her Own Reality Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
  7. ^ "Grammy.com". Retrieved May 16, 2012. Best R&B song is awarded to the songwriter(s) of the winning song, not to the performing artist(s) (except if the songwriter is also the performing artist)
  8. ^ VH1 (2011). "VH1 Announces Plans To Produce A New TLC Movie". VH1. Archived from the original on December 2, 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2011.
  9. ^ "YoungBloodZ Round Up 'Ev'rybody' For New CD". Billboard.
  10. ^ a b "Champion – Single by Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins". Apple Music. January 22, 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  11. ^ "T-Boz Releases New Single CHAMPION".
  12. ^ a b "Dreams – Single by T-Boz". Apple Music. September 6, 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  13. ^ Scarano, Ross (November 5, 2013). "Rating the Performances in Hype Williams' "Belly"". Complex. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  14. ^ Thomas, Chandra R. (March 2006). "Skating with Celebrities". Atlanta. 45 (11): 34. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  15. ^ Valby, Karen (August 14, 2009). "'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' recap: Wig Tugs, T-Boz, and Tania". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  16. ^ Josephs, Brian (May 10, 2017). "Tionne T-Boz Watkins Fired on 'Celebrity Apprentice'". Spin. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  17. ^ Ledbetter, Carly (June 10, 2016). "Zoe Saldana Brings Out TLC For Incredible 'No Scrubs' Performance On 'Lip Sync Battle'". HuffPost. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  18. ^ Rice, Lynette (November 29, 2016). "'Days of Our Lives' Casts T-Boz as a Prisoner". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  19. ^ Gardner, Elysa (November 15, 1999). "Poetic 'thoughts' and observations". USA Today. Archived from the original on March 2, 2000. Retrieved August 29, 2008.
  20. ^ "Vibe calendar". Vibe. 13 (8): 81. July 2005. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  21. ^ Sewing, Joy (March 31, 2005). "TLC star's new store is a closetful". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  22. ^ "T-Boz: "I'm Not Homeless". Essence.
  23. ^ James, Nicole (June 3, 2013). "J. Cole Debuts TLC-Assisted Track, "Crooked Smile"". Fuse. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  24. ^ Horowitz, Steven J. (June 22, 2017). "TLC's Fierce Comeback: T-Boz and Chilli on Girl-Group Wokeness, L.A. Reid & Instagram Hustle". Billboard. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  25. ^ a b Hicks, Tameka L. (2008). "T-Boz: Fighting against the odds". USA Weekend. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
  26. ^ "TLC's T-Boz Goes Public, New Edition Reunite, Ol' Dirty Bastard Is Free: This Week In 1996". MTV News. September 27, 2002. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  27. ^ "T-Boz and R&B group TLC fight sickle cell through their music". Jet. 96 (26): 30. November 29, 1999. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  28. ^ "T-Boz: Singer". People. May 8, 2000. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  29. ^ Johnson, Billy Jr. (January 9, 2013). "T-Boz Resolved Differences With Left Eye Before Her Passing, Talks 'Totally T-Boz'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  30. ^ "Vote on Tuesday Like Your Health Depends on It". Ebony. November 5, 2018.
  31. ^ Manning, Kara (June 20, 2000). "Chilli: I'm Not Leaving TLC". MTV News. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  32. ^ "For The Record: Quick News On Ray Charles, 50 Cent, Fantasia Barrino, T-Boz, Incubas & More". MTV.com. June 15, 2004.
  33. ^ "The Early Show Video – T-Boz's Brain Tumor Battle". CBS.com. Archived from the original on July 21, 2012. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  34. ^ Herndon, Jessica. "Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins Fighting to Stay Alive". People.com. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  35. ^ Atlanta Entertainment News (October 6, 2011). "Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins of TLC Discusses Brain Tumor & Sickle Cell". StraightFromTheA.com. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  36. ^ a b "TLC: Broke & Famous." Broke & Famous. Exec. Prod. Joe Houlihan and Simon Lloyd. Reelz, October 6, 2017. Television.
  37. ^ T-Boz has a 10-month-old baby boy named Chance
  38. ^ a b "T-Boz – Chart History: Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  39. ^ a b "T-Boz – Chart History: Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  40. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt Martha, Victoria, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 297.
  41. ^ * "Touch Myself": "T-Boz: Full Official Charts History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  42. ^ "T-Boz – Chart History: Hot Rap Songs". Billboard. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  43. ^ "Someday (feat. T-Boz) – Single by DJ Deckstream". Apple Music. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  44. ^ "Jermaine Jackson – You Said (1991, CD)". Discogs. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  45. ^ "Paula Cole Band – Amen (1999, CD)". Discogs. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  46. ^ "Instant Vintage by Raphael Saadiq". Apple Music. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  47. ^ "Ev'rybody Know Me by YoungBloodZ". Apple Music. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  48. ^ "DNA (The Deluxe Edition) by Little Mix". Apple Music. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  49. ^ "Cuffing Season by Eric Bellinger". Apple Music. Retrieved May 20, 2020.

External links[edit]