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As she releases her first solo album in a decade, Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie talks to Nick Levine about her drug-induced paranoia, mommy-shaming.

Play dates with Kim and Kanye Before my interview with Fergie, her PR politely insists on “no personal questions” about her recent separation from Hollywood actor Josh Duhamel. The couple only announced that their marriage had ended in September, and they have a four-year-old son, Axl, to think about. But within five minutes of meeting the Black Eyed Peas and solo singer, she has brought it up herself. “Thank the Lord for FaceTime,” she says. “Because both Josh and I are working full-time right now. It gets tough and we get tired, but we’re trying our hardest to make sure that kid feels nothing but love. “We wanted to find our footing with our separation before we announced it publicly – to make sure we got it together for our kid” “I’m super-proud of [Josh]. He just wrote and directed a movie called The Buddy Games – his first directing job – so now he’s in the editing bay,” she adds. “I’ve just released my first solo album in 11 years, and I’m out promoting it. So there’s a lot going on. That’s why we wanted to find our footing with our separation before we announced it publicly: to make sure we really got it together for our kid. It’s a constant juggling act.”
Friendly and flawlessly groomed, LA native Fergie is an open book who likes to talk. The woman born Stacy Ann Ferguson apologises several times during our interview for falling into what she calls a “vortex” – a tangential anecdote which lasts longer than her actual answer to a question. From some big stars, I’d dismiss this as an evasion tactic, but I get the sense Fergie, the voice behind huge hits such as “I Gotta Feeling” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, just wants me to understand where she’s coming from. She chats enthusiastically about that new album Double Dutchess, and painstakingly explains the creative choices that led to its infamous single “MILF$” – pronounced “Milf Money”, a play on “milk money”. The video features Fergie and famous friends including Kim Kardashian and Chrissy Teigen vamping it up in a fictional, Stepford-style town called Milfville. It’s a lot of fun, but not exactly subtle. Fergie plays a “dominatrix teacher” and tips a pint of milk over herself suggestively.
Today, she says “MILF$” was partly a response to the “mommy-shaming” she experienced after becoming a parent. “It’s making a statement, slapping down the rules, in a way that’s unapologetic and in your face. And I got to be cheeky with it, too. “I remember Chrissy Teigen went out for dinner about two weeks after she had her kid and it was this huge mommy-shaming moment. I just found it so weird. I mean, the girl’s gotta eat! So what if she wants to put on some make-up and feel good about herself? Why is that so wrong?”

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