In one of the worst-kept showbiz secrets in recent memory, The Pussycat Dolls have reunited - but the line-up isn’t quite as we remember it.
Instead, Carmit Bachar, who left the group at the height of their fame, has rejoined the girls.
The Pussycat Dolls creator, Robin Antin, says “at this time, it wasn’t right” for Melody to rejoin the girl group ahead of a performance on this weekend’s X Factor: Celebrity.
All five members insist the door, “was and is always open”, for Melody to return to the group.
As well as performing a medley of their greatest hits on X Factor, the girls will be embarking on a tour of the UK and Ireland in April – 10 years since their split.
Speaking about their reunion, Ashley told PA: “We have been in the works for years trying to get this together. Really, it was divine timing for us all coming together.”
The Pussycat Dolls were formed as a burlesque troupe in 1995 and went on to release hits such as Don’t Cha, Buttons and Stickwitu.
They split in 2010 amid rumours of a rift over Nicole’s dominant role in both the recording studio and on stage.
The X Factor: Celebrity judge told The Sun: “First of all, I hope it’s different because we are different. It is ten years on now. We all bring our own unique gifts to the group. I am so excited and we have grown so much.
“We are here to see each other shine. I think we are going to push each other.”
Nicole believes many of their previous tensions were caused by her battle with the eating disorder bulimia, which she felt unable to tell them about.
“I hid it from the world,” she says. “I was extremely ashamed. When you’re battling your own demons and insecurities, it’s not something you want to share with other people.
“I am just so grateful I could come out of that. It’s our flaws that connect us.”
At the height of their fame, Jessica was also dealing with her own personal issues as she battled alcoholism.
“The lifestyle is not normal,” she says. “You’re drinking champagne in the morning on these private jets.
“You get really unhealthy habits which, for an alcoholic, is the worst thing that could ever happen to you.”
She adds: “It’s been quite a journey and I’m not ashamed of anything. I’m actually really proud of myself. I’m in a really good place now and I’m with my girls.”
Nicole says the five-piece would thrive in the crowded musical landscape, with the likes of Westlife, Steps and the Spice Girls among the raft of bands who have reunited in recent years.
“I wanted to say this is a completely different time. One of the pop stars I look up to is Lizzo,” she says.
“We are about equality, inclusivity, most importantly — which you tapped in with my issues — acceptance.
“Now is a great time for us to come together. Women are on top right now.”