|Interview With TLC's Left Eye
Sister 2 Sister, February 1998
I always thought Lisa Lopes was nicknamed "Left Eye" because she wore a condom on her left eye when TLC first started. Then I heard she had a "lazy" eye, so that's where she got the name. Neither is true. Lisa told me why, and which star started calling her "Left Eye." She told everything about her famous love affair with football star Andre Rison, including how they were fighting the night she burned down his house. She even told all about her less publicized affair with Tupac Shakur.There was the night when Andre and Tupac both turned up in the same nightclub with her. They already knew each other, got loud and rowdy, and the club kicked both of them out. Left Eye said, "Here's the new guy I'm talking to and the guy I'm in love with; they get kicked out together." Left Eye gave a fascinating interview. She thinks like nobody else I've met. And don't think she's not a business woman! This is one smart lady. And she's funny, too.She's survived a lot of tragedy in her little life. That's why we think of her as a Super American Woman. She doesn't always make the right choices but there's Left Eye.
Jamie: Hi LeLe, how're you feeling baby?
Jamie: I think that because you've gone through so much, you are just like a little Wonder Woman. We want to talk about where you're going and who you are and all that, okay?
Jamie: Can you tell me a little bit about what you're doing now? Who are you working with and how did you get to that stage where you decided, "I am going to have my own production company." How did you get your production company deal and with whom?
LeftEye: Let me see??? Shortly after we met Pebbles [who discovered TLC], I didn't know anybody in Atlanta. It was just me by myself in the apartment complex that I lived in and I don't exactly remember how I met Jena-Si-Qua [the young group that's with Lisa's production company] but I just know they lived in the same apartment complex.
Jamie: Oh you've known them that long?
LeftEye: Yeah. I've known them that long.
Jamie: What is that? Boys? Girls? What?
LeftEye: They're three guys. It's weird how it happened because I met Drip Drop first. One of the guys in Drip Drop is the little brother to one of the guys in Jena-Si-Qua.
Jamie: Drip Drop is a group?
LeftEye: Drip Drop is a group that lived in the same apartment complex as Jena-Si-Qua. Windy Hill Village. I don't remember how we met. I think they came over and they knew I lived there. I think "Ain't 2 proud 2 beg" had just come out. They knew I lived there and they came over and they rapped for me. I took them to Pebbles. This was way back when I was taking her groups and stuff. They started coming over to my house and hanging, then eventually their brothers came by. We used to all just hang out and then one day their brothers told me they were a group, too.
Jamie: And their brothers were Jena Si Qua?
LeftEye: Right. I had already taken Drip Drop to Pebbles. I was young in the business then so I couldn't work with them myself, but I was interested in shopping them around to somebody. Jena-Si-Qua was on a compilation album a long time ago. So as soon as that contract was up I took them to Wanya from Boyz 2 Men. That never really popped off; he was new in the business,too. After all of that I decided to work with them myself. At the same time there was this lady named Deniece who worked for Pebbles. She quit her job and I loaned her some money to pay her mortgage.
Jamie: Who did you lend the money to?
LeftEye: Deniece. She really couldn't pay it back so she came to work for me to help pay back the money. That's when Left Eye Productions really started.
Jamie: When was that? How long ago?
LeftEye: About 3 to 4 years ago.
Jamie: So you've always had this group, even when you were going through your problems?
LeftEye: Right. Deniece and I were trying to get Jena-Si-Qua a deal. Then we met Nandi and brought her into the camp. Shortly after that is when I got into trouble with Andre. Because I had to go back and forth to court, no one knew what the outcome was going to be. So a lot of people were scared to mess with me.
Jamie: They were scared to mess with you?
LeftEye: Yeah. They didn't know if I was going to end up in jail.
Jamie: What was going on with you and Andre? What happened that night when his house burned down, Lisa? I thought you were upset and burned some cardboard in the bathtub or something, then the fire caught onto a wall. Is that what happened?
LeftEye: I came home late. We got into a fight.
Jamie: Was that a jealousy thing?
LeftEye: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I pretty much stayed in the house and listened to Andre. He didn't like for me to go out, but he was out all the time.
Jamie: Well how could you stay in the house when you're an artist?
LeftEye: Well the only time I would go out was if me and TLC were out of town. Then I would call him and say, "Me and TLC are going to a club." But when I was home in Atlanta, the only time I went out was when I was with him. Other than that I would just stay home.
Jamie: So he was very possessive?
LeftEye: Oh very, very, very over-protective. Possessive. Jealous. The whole thing. I don't know why.
Jamie: Did you like that?
LeftEye: It didn't really bother me as long as he did his part.
Jamie: What was his part?
LeftEye: Just as long he was faithful to me and loyal to me, it didn't really matter. His wishes were my command. If he didn't like for me to go out, it wasn't a problem. I didn't mind staying home because I'm a homebody when it comes to a relationship. I'll stay home, I'll cook, I'll wash the clothes and run the bath water....as long as he treats me right. Then he started going out and staying out overnight and doing all this stuff. So one day I decided to go out. This was the first time in about three years of our relationship.
Jamie: You were with him three years?
LeftEye: Actually, about two years. So I went out and the whole purpose of me going out was to just come back home and let him know what it feels like to come home late. But when I got home he wasn't even home yet.
Jamie: Oooooh! What time did you get home?
LeftEye: Five o'clock in the morning. So it really kind of defeated the whole purpose. We really didn't even go anywhere because all the clubs were closed. It was a Wednesday.
Jamie: Who did you go with?
LeftEye: The whole point was to come home from being with the girls because that's what he did every night. He was with the boys and sometimes he didn't come home until daylight or the next day.
Jamie: What would he say when he came home?
LeftEye: He didn't say anything. It was getting to a point where he was losing interest and he really didn't care.
Jamie: How did you react to that?
LeftEye: I was kind of upset because I had fell in love with him. I did everything I could do in the relationship. I just did my part. So when we got home it was five in the morning and he wasn't home yet.
Jamie: You were with two girls?
LeftEye: I was also with my Uncle. I asked my uncle to go with me because I had never been out. I was scared that if I ran into Andre, he might get mad because I knew how jealous he was. And I had on a dress, which was something he wasn't used to seeing me in because, you know, back then I mainly wore baggy clothes.
Jamie: He didn't want you wearing dresses?
LeftEye: He didn't want me to show my body. If company came over I couldn't walk around barefoot.
LeftEye: I had to put my socks on. He didn't want anyone to see my feet. You know, that kind of thing.
Jamie: You didn't think anything was wrong with that?
LeftEye: A little bit, but the way I am, everybody has their problems or whatever. The only thing that used to bother me is, if I would come back in town, he'd be accusing me of messing around when I wouldn't be doing anything. He'd do that a lot.
Jamie: I thought you were with Tupac? Was that before you got with Andre?
LeftEye: Yeah, that was before. So we get home at five in the morning and I’m in the driveway. I’m like, “This nigga isn’t even home yet?”
Jamie: [Laughing] I’m sorry, Left Eye.
LeftEye: Well anyway, it just so happened while we were standing in the driveway and I was drunk, he pulled up right behind us. We just happened to get home like five minutes apart. So he pulls up with three carloads of guys. He’s sitting in his car and he sees me standing in the middle of the driveway. Headlights are shining on me and he’s just sitting back in the car staring me down. He gets out, we go in the house and he pulls me in the room and that’s when the fight started. You know, he starts, “You’re naked! Who you been fucking.”
LeftEye: He’s ripping my dress off of me and I’m screaming and yelling at him,“Where have you been for the past two weeks?” A real domestic dispute.
Jamie: Did he hit you or was it just pushing?
LeftEye: Well it was mainly just pushing. He never balled his fist up and socked me in the face. A lot of pushing, pulling, and knocking me down. He knocked me down a few times, where my head would hit the floor.
Jamie: Oh my goodness!
LeftEye: The whole time I was blanking in and out. I was going through blackouts. I could remember certain things and certain things I couldn’t remember because the madness was crazy.
Jamie: Nobody was helping you?
LeftEye: Nobody was helping. That’s why I wanted my uncle to be there because I was scared. I didn’t know what Andre’s reaction would be to seeing me out in a dress having fun with the girls.
Jamie: So where was your uncle?
LeftEye: While I’m in the room screaming for my uncle, my uncle is trying to get in. Andre’s boys and my uncle are fighting outside the bedroom door.
LeftEye: Because his boys are trying to keep my uncle from interfering. His boys are telling my uncle, “They always do this. Everything will be fine.” So my uncle couldn’t do anything. I can remember crawling around on the floor and I had just gotten my nails done. It was after the first time I got fake nails. Because we were fighting, three of my nails came off and ripped my real nails from my skin. So I noticed my fingers were bleeding from the tip. So then I started screaming, “Look what you did to me! Look what you did to me!” I was naked because he had ripped my clothes off me, then he just left the room. The only thing I remember is hearing a lot of fighting going on upstairs. So I got up to leave the room, then I noticed I didn’t have any clothes on. I put on a T-shirt and ran upstairs and said, “What’s going on up here?” My vision was blurry; I just know it was four guys fighting. Two over here and two over there. They were both rolling around on the floor. The girl that I had gone out with was Andre’s uncle’s girlfriend. Andre had gone up there and called her a bitch. Andre said, “You bitch, you had my girl out drinking!” So him and his uncle started fighting. His uncle was like, “Don’t call my girl a bitch!” So they started fighting and two more guys jumped in and broke them up and they were fighting each other. My uncle pulled me into another room to get me away from that. When he did that, I was upset with my uncle. I said, “You were supposed to help me!” I was like, “Come on, let’s go get him.” I was like,“I’m gonna kill him. Let me go! Let me go! It seemed like the more my uncle restrained me, the madder I got. My uncle was like, “No, Lisa, please don’t do this to yourself.” He said Andre left and I said, “No he didn’t. Let me go.” He was blocking the front door so I couldn’t get out of the room. I said, “If you don’t let me go, I’m going to jump out this window.” We were on the second floor. He said, “Okay.” He let me out of the room and I raced downstairs looking for Andre.
Jamie: You raced outside?
LeftEye: No back into our bedroom. Our bedroom was on the first floor. I walked through the closet to get to the bathroom because I was looking through the whole room. And when I walked through the closet, I saw like 20 boxes of sneakers. They were all new.
LeftEye: It was just weird- 20 boxes of sneakers in a closet. And me and Andre had always gone through this thing...Every time I would go shopping I’d make sure I spent most of the money on him. I would get him some nice clothes, but every time he would go shopping, he’d never buy me shoes or sneakers or bring me back a couple of pieces. I’d say, “Why didn’t you buy me a pair of sneakers?” And he would say, “I don’t know what size you wear.” When I went downstairs and saw the 20 boxes of sneakers, with everything else that was going on, I just snapped. I started rumbling through the boxes looking for a size four. But they were all size 10 and it was just making me go crazy. So I threw the sneakers in the bathtub and set them on fire.
Jamie: It was the sneakers?
LeftEye: Yeah, it was a couple of boxes of sneakers. I was tearing through the boxes like a mad woman. I was just throwing them everywhere. I threw a couple of them in the tub. A couple of them landed in the closet. And the ones that were in the bathtub, I burnt them up. Of course I thought the bathtub would contain the fire.
Jamie: Right, right....
LeftEye: And the reason why I thought that was because, a year before that, I caught Andre messing around in our house. And I had bought him a whole bunch of teddy bears. Every time I went out of town I would bring home a new teddybear for his collection and they were all sitting around the bathtub.
Jamie: The teddy bears?
LeftEye: The teddy bears. So when I came home one night and caught him messing around, we ended up arguing in the bathroom. He left the bathroom, so I burnt all the teddy bears that I gave him in the bathtub! Then I turned the water on and put it out. But the bathtub was messed up, so he replaced the bathtub. So this time when I burnt the sneakers, the whole house went down.
Jamie: Oh god!
LeftEye: Later we kind of realized that the reason the bathtub didn’t contain the fire this time was because when he replaced it, he replaced it with a plastic tub.
Jamie: You’re kidding me.
LeftEye: The first time I put the stuff in the tub it was marble. So at the time, I really didn’t think the tub was just gonna melt. The fire just immediately went out of hand. I was so messed up that night, you know, emotionally, with the alcohol and everything, physically....I was just standing in front of the fire like, “I don’t care if I burn.” That's the state of mind I was in. My sister came in the bathroom and was like “Come on. We got to get out of here.” She just pulled me by the arm out of the house.
Jamie: Who did that?
LeftEye: My sister did. I mean there were a lot of people in that house while this was going on. She pulled me out the house and on the way out everyone was in my face. My vision was so blurry, I just remember: “You crazy bitch, you! Fuck you! Blah, blah, blah. You’re crazy.”
Jamie: Who was saying that to you?
LeftEye: His brother. I don’t know where Andre was. I just know his brother...they grabbed some pipes and started smashing up my car and breaking all of the windows.
Jamie: Wait a minute! They smashed your car? They said that you smashed his car?!
LeftEye: I’m standing there and I was like, “What??” I couldn’t believe it.They threw the pipe on the ground and then I smashed Andre’s window in his car. Next thing you know, we all looked up and there was smoke coming from the roof. This was all the way on the other side of the house. So, it happened.
Jamie: How did you feel when you realized what happened? Did you all just stand there and watch the fire, or what?
LeftEye: Well my uncle and my sister kept saying, “Let’s go. Let’s get out of here.” So I was leaving before the fire trucks got there and stuff. We walked down the street and waited for my sister to swing around in the car and pick us up. While we waited, I was just standing there staring at the house. My uncle looked at me and said, “You’re glad, aren’t you?” And I just looked at him and said, “Yep.” We got in the car and rode off in the distance. I don’t know...there was so much that went on in that house that, it didn’t happen on purpose, but when it did happen I wasn’t really mad that it happened. It was like, “I burnt the evil.”
Jamie: You mean there was so much wrongdoing in the house that you felt that you had...??
LeftEye: Yeah, the messing around...and his family didn’t like me...his sister. I remember one time she came over and cut up all my clothes.
Jamie: At the house?
LeftEye: At the house. The there were times when she would bring his ex-wife over. There were times when she scratched up my car and kicked dents in it. All of this stuff happened at the house. I caught Andre messing around in the house. It was just so much stuff. Andre and I had gotten into fights and stuff. And the family really didn’t respect me- everyone took the house like it was theirs.
Jamie: Well who was living in the house?
LeftEye: Me and Andre and whoever in his family decided they wanted to. [Laughing.]
Jamie: Oh god, that had to be hard.
LeftEye: Yeah, I mean they just had attitudes because Andre let them go pretty far. I’d wake up some morning and my truck would be gone. Who is in my truck? I can’t go to my meeting today. His family thought they could just pick up the keys and take any car that was in the driveway.
Jamie: Did you ever talk to Andre about it?
LeftEye: All the time. That was the biggest struggle in our relationship: trying to make him draw that line.
Jamie: Do you think that was the only thing?
LeftEye: I think the reason was because of his family. All the control he didn’t have with them he turned it on me. It was like he had no control over them, but then he had so much control over me. Or tried to.
Jamie: Oh boy, Lisa. So what happened the next day after the fire? When did you realize what had been done and how much trouble you were in?
LeftEye: That ended up being the next day. It was like 5:30, 6:00,7:00 in the morning when they took me to the hospital: You know, when I first got in my sister’s car, I looked up in the rearview mirror and I didn’t even recognize myself. I didn’t even know I had been beaten up that badly.
Jamie: In the face?
LeftEye: Yeah. Whatever we were doing, I got it pretty bad.
Jamie: So do you think he did hit you and you didn’t know it?
LeftEye: I don’t know. They took me directly to the hospital. I went inside and the doctor looked at me and he was like, “Wow! I’ll be right back.” When he left, then the girl Deniece who works for me--I don’t know where she came from--she was running around the hospital talking about, “We got to get out of here. The press is on their way. And blah, blah, blah.” We were panicking and stuff. We all jumped up and walked out of the hospital. I was really just following everyone’s lead. “We got to go, we got to go.”
Jamie: Who was with you then?
LeftEye: My uncle, my sister...and Deniece popped up and was like, “We got to get out of here.” So the hospital never documented that it was abuse and all of this kind of stuff. We left there, and by then, LaFace [the company TLC records with] had gotten into it and they had me in a hotel. Andre’s brother told the press that I threw all these cardboard boxes in the tub and I lit them on fire. And that I told Andre that I don’t care, I’m gonna burn this house. He just told a whole bunch of lies to the press. So then they were looking for me. LaFace put me in the hotel room. The lawyer showed up, I told him what happened, and he was like, “Young Lady, you have a problem. Your thinking got you into this mess. We’re gonna get you out of it. You’re checking yourself into Charter Peachford first thing tomorrow morning or the DA is going to be a very unhappy man.” You’re gonna do this and you’re gonna do that. I’m like “I don’t want to go to Charter Peachford. That makes me look like the crazy one.”
Jamie: What is Charter Peachford?
LeftEye: That’s a psychiatric and substance abuse center. I was like,“I don’t want to go to Charter Peachford. I’ve got fans. I don’t want to be the crazy drunk who just decided to burn down a house. I’m not the bad one here.” But no one thought like I thought. I was really the only one who felt like I didn’t do this on purpose. We were fighting and I was out of my mind and so was he. They all thought I was crazy. So you know the lawyer was just yelling at me: “You were fined such and such and if you don’t check into Charter Peachford, it’s going to go up....and I made a deal with the DA and he’s going to be unhappy. You have a problem Miss! You! you! you!”
Jamie: What were you saying?
LeftEye: I said, “Send me to an abuse center if you’re going to send me anywhere to one of them women’s centers or whatever.”
Jamie: Where was your mom?
LeftEye: She was there. Everybody was on their own shit. My mother was worried about a power of attorney. Everybody pissed me off! It was just me by myself.
Jamie: Power of attorney over what?
LeftEye: I don’t know. And she didn’t know, either.
Jamie: Who would have power of attorney?
LeftEye: She came in the room and she saw me. She said, “Are you okay?” I said, “Yes.” She said, “Lisa tell your lawyer that you need to give me power of attorney.” I said, “Power of attorney? What are you talking about? You don’t even understand power of attorney.” She said, “Kyle, tell Lisa she needs to give me power of attorney. Lisa you don’t know what might happen to you. You might go to jail. You might something, something, something. You don’t realize what you did and if you go to jail somebody needs to take care of your money and your stuff.” I was like, “Whatever.” The lawyer was screaming, “You have a problem! You have a problem!” And LaFace was there: “We don’t even know if she’s going to be in the group.”
Jamie: They were saying that?
LeftEye: Yeah, they were telling my uncle that. My uncle was saying,“Is everything okay? Is everything going to be all right with TLC?” And LaFace was like, “We don’t even know if there’s going to be a TLC.”
Jamie: Let me ask you something, Lisa. Out of all the people that you knew, nobody grabbed you and said, “Honey, what happened?”
LeftEye: Nobody! So I checked into Charter Peachford the next morning.
Jamie: Were you scared?
LeftEye: No, I wasn’t scared. I was mad because everybody around me was thinking with their best interest at heart. My mother and even Deniece, my partner, she was upset: “I got 50 percent of Left Eye Productions. She’s fucking everything up!” Everybody made me like I had just fucked up everybody’s world.
Jamie: They weren’t looking at how you were just traumatized?
LeftEye: Nope. Even when I got to Charter Peachford, I was still in a fighting mood. “He did this, he did that. I’m gonna kick his ass. I can’t believe this.” They were staring at me like I was crazy.
Jamie: You went to Charter Peachford the next day?
LeftEye: I went to Charter Peachford the next day and this is so funny, Jamie. They had me in detox and I wasn’t like a drug addict
Jamie: What is detox like?
LeftEye: Detox is for drug addicts when they have to slowly take you off your drugs so you won’t break out into a seizure.
Jamie: So what were they taking you off of?
Jamie: [Laughing!!] So what did they do?
LeftEye: They just had me in there to make sure I was all right. Doing tests. I was okay. There were a lot of little rooms with a lot of people in them. There was a waiting room down the hall where we could watch television. I had to turn myself in to court that morning, then check into Charter Peachford. So I had on this long dress. That night, I had on the same dress. I went in the room but I had a little blanket and I had this big bruise on my lip. I went in the room and I sat down to watch some television and there was this white girl in the room watching TV. She had it on the news and they showed the house and Andre in the news and me turning myself in. I looked at the screen and I had on the same dress on television that I was sitting there in with the same bruise on my lip. I was like, “Oh shit!” I had checked in under an alias. I looked at the girl out of the corner of my eye and I saw her take a double look at me.
Jamie: [Laughing.] Wait a minute, Lisa. I’m sorry, baby, but this is funny.
LeftEye: So I took my blanket and I eased it over the top of the dress. I turned my head and while this girl was looking at me they interviewed Andre. Andre was sitting on the TV crying, talking about he only had on pair of shoes. They were asking him, “We heard she always was breaking things in your house and she messed it up before.” And Andre was on the news going, “Yeah, she did. Yeah, she did.” I couldn’t believe this! I just got up and went back into my room and busted out crying.
Jamie: What happened? Did that girl know who you were?
LeftEye: Yeah. A few days later she was like, “I knew who you were.” That was so funny. I’m all undercover, didn’t want anyone to recognize me: And here I go on television. Same outfit, and I’m sitting right next to her.
Jamie: Were you ever scared?
LeftEye: No. I wasn’t scared. A lot of the people that were in there needed help themselves.
Jamie: You played the counselor?
LeftEye: Yeah, I’m talking to everybody else. The people who had real problems.
Jamie: Like what, Lisa?
LeftEye: This one guy who was in this wheelchair who died twice.
Jamie: Who died twice? This one guy in the wheel chair, did what?
LeftEye: He died twice. He had been dead twice, came back to life and....
Jamie: In real life or he just thought he died?
LeftEye: In real life. He was in a wheelchair. I don’t know how he got in a wheelchair. The thing that messed him up was his mother slept with him when he was 12 years old. He just couldn’t get over that. We would have group sessions where we’d all sit down and talk about our problems and make each other feel like you’re not the only one. And when this guy was looking for answers and stuff, no one could really give answers to him because the purpose was just to talk and get it out. He said that he finally go up enough nerve when he grew up to drive up to Michigan and ask his mother why did she sleep with him. But on the way up there she died. So he never got the chance to ask her. So he was just like messed up. He can’t even think straight. He doesn’t know what to do about it and the doctors, they’re all just sitting around listening. And he’s like, “What should I do?” I’m sitting up there like, “Hmmm. This is what I say. What you need to do is break the cycle because your mother, in order for her to sleep with you at 12, she had to be fucked up in her head. You didn’t get a chance to ask her why she did it, but she did it because she was fucked up in the head. So maybe you should try to figure out what happened to her to make her messed up enough to do that to you. Trace it. Go back. Everyone does things for a reason. Everyone is a result of their environment and somebody messed your mother up. And if you can get to that person, maybe you can help answer some of your questions before you have children and they become fucked up. Because your head is so fucked up. You should try to break the cycle. It could goon and on and on.” That’s when I realized I was going to break the cycle because there are generations and generations of messed up people in my family. I came up through some hard stuff. So that’s when I realized I’m gonna try to get my head straight and get my life together before I have children.
Jamie: So where were you sent, to jail or what?
LeftEye: I was in the psychiatric center for a month. Once I got out, my court date was six months later. Then I was sentenced to the diversion center, which was a four month program. But they didn’t have enough beds, so I had to go to jail until a bed was ready.
Jamie: And what happened then. Were you scared then?
LeftEye: Well, when I went to jail, I was embarrassed. I just felt like everyone in America who had been following me and felt like they knew me.....Now there are these people making me strip butt naked and spraying stuff on my coochie and under my arms.
Jamie: What’s that?
LeftEye: It’s this stuff they make you go through when you go to jail. It’s like you have to strip, you have to take a shower, then they say, “Turn around,” and they spray all of your private parts with this stuff in case you got crabs or something.
LeftEye: I just felt uncomfortable. I wasn’t really scared until I started walking down the hall. I started to think, “What if a girl tries to rape me, or what if someone tries to bully me because I’m Left Eye.” That kind of stuff was running through my head. But as soon as I turned the corner and all the girls saw me, they started cheering. They were like,"Whoooo! Left Eye! Left Eye!” So I started pimping, like, “Yeah! What’s up?”
Jamie: You started pimping?
LeftEye: First I was walking like I was scared, but when they started yelling and screaming my name, I stood upright and I felt confident. Like okay, I’m not gone have to worry about that stuff I was just thinking about. I was like,“All right!” The whole time I was there I was just cool. I didn’t have a problem with nobody and nobody had a problem with me. I wasn’t like stuck in a corner crying like, “What am I going to do?” As soon as I got there, I joined in the card game. There were people who were excited. They were calling their family. They were like, “Left Eye, can you say hi to my little nephew?” I was like, “Sure, whatever, no problem.”
Jamie: What kind of food did you eat?
LeftEye: It wasn’t that good. It was like yuck. It was like processed food. It wasn’t like real chicken. It was like ready burgers or something like that.
Jamie: Did Andre come see you while you were in there?
LeftEye: Me and Andre had already got back together before I went to jail. Because that was six months earlier when I first checked into Charter Peachford. While I was checking into Charter Peachford, Andre’s mother had checked him into a hotel room because he didn’t have anywhere else to go. Andre was standing in front of his mother and she was just talking so much trash about me. And he broke out in tears and he just looked at her in her eyes as she was just going on about how that girl is going to go to jail and blah, blah, blah. He was staring at her and she just stopped in the middle of her sentence and she said, “Wait a minute.” Andre had both of his pockets filled with money. She said, “Where are you going? Oh my god, you’re not going to bail her out?! Oh, my god! I’m gonna have a heart attack!” She fell to her knees, she was gasping for air, and she was like, “You’re gonna kill me!” And Andre jumped on his motorcycle that I bought him for Christmas and Andre rode all across the city of Atlanta looking for me. He rode to every jail trying to bail me out, in the rain, on his motorcycle. My people had already got me out, you know that. He rode by Deniece’s house and they sat on the curb and he was just crying for hours. With a pocket full of money, soaking wet, because he had been riding around in the rain for hours trying to find somebody.
Jamie: Deniece didn’t know where you were?
LeftEye: She knew I was in Charter Peachford, but she just wouldn’t tell him. She just called me and said, “Guess who came by? Andre. Child he’s a mess. He got all this money in his pocket coming to bail you out, but he don’t know where you’re at. Girl, he’s crying to me talking about, ‘I know what I did wrong. I’m so sorry. I gotta get my baby, I gotta get my baby.’” He came up to see me at Charter Peachford. The whole time I was up there he was really the only one visiting me.
Jamie: Who was?
Jamie: He was?! Your mother didn’t come?
LeftEye: I think she came twice.
Jamie: Now how long were you there? A month?
LeftEye: Yeah, a month. Andre came faithfully. He came every day.
Jamie: Did anybody from LaFace come?
LeftEye: Yeah. They came one time. I mean I wasn’t really sweating that. I was fine. They didn’t have to come and visit me. I was in a new environment something I experienced in this lifetime and I was chilling.
Jamie: You and Andre had gotten back together?
LeftEye: When I got out of Charter Peachford, me and Andre had gotten back together.
Jamie: A new house?
LeftEye: A new apartment. And we waited for my court date.
Jamie: What did he say in court?
LeftEye: He tried to keep a positive attitude. He kept saying everything is going to be all right. I already knew what the deal was I had already made with the judge. I wasn’t trying to deceive him. I told him, “I’m not going to see you for three or four months.” This was the night before my court date and I just started crying because I knew I wasn’t going to see him. I guess he was just trying to keep my head straight.
Jamie: The judge had told you that you couldn’t see Andre?
LeftEye: No, I couldn’t see him once I went into the center unless I snuck and saw him. No one knew I was going to jail. That was the catch. My lawyer said, “All you have to do is spend the night and you can come out in the daytime. It’s real easy. You’re not going to jail. I fixed all of that.” When we got to court the next day, they said, “We sentence you to four months in the diversion center,” and they took me in the back and that’s when my lawyer said, “Well they don’t have a bed ready, so there’s nothing I can do. You are going to have to go to jail and wait.”
Jamie: How did you feel about having to go to jail?
LeftEye: I was like down. So I had to go back out and tell my mother and Andre and give them my last good byes and tell them that I was on my way to jail. Boy, Andre just bust out and started crying. He made me cry. I was like, “I’m trying to be strong.” But when I got in there, I was fine. I called him up and he was like, “Baby, it’s gonna be okay.” I was like,“No, I’m all right. Nobody’s messing with me. It’s cool.”
Jamie: You needed that time out, do you think?
Jamie: After you and Andre got back together, why did you break up then?
LeftEye: We went together for about another year. I think he went to Cleveland to play football.
Jamie: He didn’t mess around then?
LeftEye: No. And I think that’s why we broke up.
LeftEye: [Laughing] It’s weird because, all of sudden, when Andre started acting right, I mean when he was walking a straight line, I started losing interest.
LeftEye: I started losing interest to the point where if he tried to kiss me I would get nauseous.
LeftEye: And I didn’t understand it at first. But after I thought about it...days and days of thought, going over everything...I realized what the problem was.
Jamie: What was the problem?
LeftEye: The very first time Andre messed around on me, if it had been anybody else, I would have left. But because it was Andre and there were so many people around us trying to tear us apart, I couldn’t tell when I should leave and when I shouldn’t leave. It was like I had something to prove and it wasn’t even to myself. Which was wrong. I had come to realize that I was in the relationship to make it work and that was it. And as soon as it worked, it was like my mission was complete and I didn’t want it anymore. It was like that became the only reason why I was in it.
Jamie: So you don’t love him today?
LeftEye: I love him to death!
Jamie: But you’re not “in love” with him?
LeftEye: I’m in love with him!
Jamie: So why did you all break up?
LeftEye: Because I lost interest. I didn’t want him anymore. As soon as he told his family to butt out, and as soon as he wasn’t messing around anymore and all of this stuff, that was when I was all right. It was crazy. It wasn’t like I was doing it on purpose, but that’s what I was doing.
Jamie: When you told him you were leaving, how did you all break up?
LeftEye: I think he could feel that I was losing interest and he started to act a little crazy. Three of my girls came up to visit us and he started taking his frustration out on them.
Jamie: How? Yelling at them?
LeftEye: Yelling at them. Just being real nasty toward them. And I was like, “I’m out!”
Jamie: So you left and went back to Atlanta?
LeftEye: Yep! Me and my girls packed all my stuff in the truck and we rode to Atlanta that night. The last argument.
Jamie: He never hit you after that night of the fire, right?
LeftEye: Oh, no.
Jamie: You called me one time and said that you and Andre were going to get back together. But in the meantime, did you get back with Tupac?
LeftEye: After I left and drove back down to Atlanta, the Grammys was coming up in about three weeks. Andre had always wanted to be a part of the Grammies. To him the Grammys was like what the Super Bowl is to some people. I finally got a chance to go to the Grammys and I had just broke up with him. He ended up in California doing something for ESPN or for some kind of reason. And he called me, trying to get back with me and I was like, “No, it’s over.” And he said, “Well, I’m in California,” and he asked me could he go to the Grammys. And I was like, “Aw man!” Me and my girls were gonna go out there and just be free and do what we want to do. Have some fun and see who we want to see and here comes Andre to rain on the party. He ended up going to the Grammys: I don’t know how because he didn’t go with me, but somebody gave him a ticket. The whole time I was in California it was like a chase.
Jamie: Chasing you?
LeftEye: Yeah. I had to break up with him again in California. I had to reiterate, “It’s over.”
Jamie: You didn’t think about him at all?
LeftEye: Oh yeah. I always thought about him.
Jamie: Did you miss him?
Jamie: But you were looking for another guy at that time? Another person to be with? Or did you just want to be free?
LeftEye: I wasn’t looking for a person to be with. I always had this love interest for Tupac. Me and Andre was over and I was like, “Shoot, Tupac just got out of jail. Me and you ain’t together no more. He’s looking at me, giving me the eye.” They whole time we were in California, Andre would track me down. He would show up at the parties I was at, he would invite me to his hotel room. I wouldn’t come. And I remember one morning at about 5 o’clock, I woke up and Andre was sitting on my bed. Don’t ask me how he got into the room, I still don’t know to this day.
Jamie: [Laughing] Just looking at you?
Jamie: Okay, so you met Tupac and he had just gotten out of jail.
LeftEye: Yeah, he had been out of jail for a minute. I already knew him, but I hadn’t talked to him for a long time. When me and Andre got together, I just cut everything off.
Jamie: Didn’t Tupac have you arrested by some hotel police one time because you were trying to get into his hotel?
LeftEye: Yep. Jamie, all of this stuff comes together because that night was the night that I...Oh man. That was when I first met Andre. Me and Tupac were going through some stuff back then, so we weren’t really speaking. He was speaking to me but I was a little bit mad at him and I hadn’t seen him for a couple of months. And I went to the club that night and I saw Andre. Me and Andre were talking. We were have a good time. Two, three hours went by and we were drinking, then Tupac rolls in the club. I was like, “Man, I guess I have to be with Andre tonight.” I didn’t was to diss Andre and be like,“Let me go over here and talk to my boy Tupac because that’s who I really wanted to talk to.”
Jamie: Was this Andre’s birthday party?
LeftEye: No, this was some Freaknik party. I was standing next to Andre and I saw Tupac coming into the club. I was like, “Oh Lord.” Then Tupac just walked straight toward Andre and he was like, “What’s up Dre?” They were giving each other dap and they just moved me out of the way. I was looking at them like, “Ain’t this about a bitch! Every time I talk to someone, Tupac knows them.”
Jamie: How long were you and Tupac together?
LeftEye: Well we were never together. Me and Tupac had more of a phone relationship. He was in California, I was in Atlanta. We grew really close for about a year. We were real tight and we talked almost every day. I only saw him in person about three times.
Jamie: So was it earlier that day when he had you arrested by the police?
LeftEye: No, it was later that night. When him and Andre got together, they lit up a blunt in the club and they both got kicked out. Here’s the new guy I’m talking to and the guy I’m in love with; they get kicked out together. I’m standing in the club by myself: I’m like, “Let me go downstairs and see what’s going on.” I go downstairs, Tupac and Andre, the two biggest mouths, the centers of attention, both of them got a whole crowd standing around them, talking loud. “Yeah, we wasn’t doing nothing. These motherfuckers tried to put us out. We told them such and such.” I come there and Andre puts his arm around me. He’s telling everyone I’m his girl. I think Andre saw me looking at Tupac, so he wouldn’t let me go. Sitting up there telling Monie Love, “Yeah, this is my girl.” Andre was starting to irritate me because I didn’t know him then. This was like the third time I had run into him at a club. I really wanted to be with Tupac and decide...to get something off my chest. But Andre had such a tight grip on me that I kind of like told my girl, “Come and get this boy off of me, please. I just got to get away from him for a couple of seconds.” And that’s when Tupac jumped. He started doing stuff to aggravate me on purpose. He started jumping in with these girls and other stuff. So I followed him to his limo and I got in and I wouldn’t get out because I wanted to talk to him. Tionne [that’s T-Boz of TLC] got in the car and Tupac was like, “Tionne, get your girl, man, get your girl.” She was like, “She looks all right to me.” Tionne let me in there then she got back out. I rode all the way to the hotel with them because no one could put me out of the car. When I got to the hotel, he raced up to his room. I got up and started to go up the elevator. But when the doors opened, the cops got me and escorted me back out
.Jamie: They just took you out of the hotel?
LeftEye: Hotel security...I don’t know.
Jamie: You weren’t embarrassed then?
Jamie: What had you wanted to get off you chest?
LeftEye: Me and Tupac were real close. We decided not to be boyfriend and girlfriend. We decided to be what he called “niggaz.”
LeftEye: And we both liked each other. As the year went on, certain things would happen. Our feelings would kind of come through. Just because we’re niggaz, I’m not supposed to get jealous because you have girl company, but after awhile I started with, “Who is this girl?” That type of thing during the whole relationship. If I messed with a guy, he’d get upset at me. Tupac would hang up on me and then call me back and apologize. “But we’re just niggaz. We don’t like each other.” He had all of this stuff like, “Don’t ever let me sleep with you ‘cause I’m gonna look at you different.” We just tried to play this role.
Jamie: You never slept together?
LeftEye: No, we never slept together. That was one of the first things he told me. He said, “Don’t ever let me sleep with you. I don’t care what I say, I don’t care how. I don’t care what I do, just don’t let it happen.” So I stuck by that because I didn’t want to mess anything up.
Jamie: You just stuck by that?
LeftEye: Yeah. I didn’t even really see him. It was mainly a lot of phone conversation. He would see girls and I would see guys and he would get mad and then play the role like we’re not supposed to be getting mad. Finally what happened with me and Tupac was, I ended up messing with this guy that was supposedly his friend and I didn’t know how close they were. Tupac stopped speaking to me because of that and that upset me. So two months later is when we were at that party and I wanted to get something off my chest. I really wanted to speak to Tupac because he had stopped speaking to me.
Jamie: That’s when you were trying to get in the limo and everything?
Jamie: Did you ever get it off your chest?
LeftEye: What I wanted to get off my chest was, “Me and you, we know we like each other. But this whole time you just wanted to be niggaz, you get mad because I’m messing with people and then you stop speaking to me, especially over this one guy in particular. You and me, we’re supposed to be much closer than this.” That was basically what I wanted to get of my chest but I never could.
Jamie: It has been said that you have a drinking problem. Is that true? Do you drink now?
LeftEye: I don’t drink that much. I can drink. Well, now it’s like, if I’m at a party and everyone’s drinking champagne, I will have a glass of champagne. If I’m at home, I don’t get up in the morning and drink. I don’t drink at home and all that only if I’m out and everyone’s taking a drink.
Jamie: Now I was asked to ask you, “Why do good girls like bad boys?” Do you think good girls like bad boys?
LeftEye: I just think it’s a challenge. I think it’s the same way with guys. Guys like girls that give them a hard time. It’s just because it’s a challenge and I think that’s all it is.
Jamie: Why do you think you’ve survived all the things you’ve been through?
LeftEye: I don’t know. Jamie, I don’t know because some people go through things and they fall all apart. I can say I went through a lot and that’s what made me strong, but it’s just my make-up.
Jamie: Do you pray? Do you meditate?
LeftEye: I went to church a lot when I was younger, so I think that built a foundation for me being able to overcome a lot of stuff.
Jamie: Denyse [Parks, her assistant] said that you are the type of person who, if someone needed 50,000 dollars, you would give it to them. And if you didn’t have it you would find a way to get it to them. Is that true?
LeftEye: Yeah, but I’ve always been like that.
Jamie: You and Andre are still friends, you told me. Why did he give you his Super Bowl ring? Does he have another girlfriend? What is he doing?
LeftEye: No, he doesn’t have another girlfriend. Right now he’s focusing on his season with Kansas City. Me and Andre talk every so often.
Jamie: Did he ever go in for treatment?
LeftEye: Yeah, he did.
Jamie: He did?
LeftEye: Yeah, they sentenced him to go in to treatment for something.
Jamie: You don’t know how long he was in?
LeftEye: He had to go to a counselor or something.
Jamie: Because he beat you up?
LeftEye: No! I don’t know why. I didn’t even know because we were separated then. When we started talking again, he said he had to go to a counselor for three months. They had put him on probation for something and that was part of his probation.
Jamie: Do you all have money? Everyone always says that TLC doesn’t have any money.
LeftEye: We got money from LaFace. When we finally got the deal and we paid everyone, paid our taxes and all, we were left with about $1,200,000 a piece. That was a pretty good amount of money, but almost $800,000 of my money went to the lawsuit for the house. So that hurt. I had been dumping a lot of my money into Left Eye Productions before I got the deal with Sony. So recently, I finally got the deal with Sony and they took care of my overhead and that stuff. My situation is a little bit different because of that lawsuit I had.
Jamie: How many records has TLC sold?
LeftEye: 17 million between the first and second albums.
Jamie: Now tell me about Dallas Austin and the deal for him to produce the next TLC album. He wanted like 175,000 dollars per track. Is that why you all didn’t go through with the deal?
LeftEye: Nope. Actually we were going to pay that, but Dallas’s thing was he wanted to do like eight songs. We felt as though, if you’re going to do that many songs, come on! You know you’ve got to come down on the price. He felt as though his time was worth 175,000 dollars. I said, “If you strongly feel that way then we will pay you 175,000 dollars, but we only want two songs from you if it’s going to cost that much.”
Jamie: But did he do eight songs on the CrazySexyCool album?
LeftEye: No, ma’am, he did two songs. On the last album we paid Dallas to executive produce the whole project. We paid him 750,000 dollars last time to do ten songs. Dallas ended up doing like four of five songs and we only used two of them and we had to go back and spent that much more money to hire Jermaine Dupri, Organized Noize, and Babyface.
Jamie: You’re kidding? Who is executive producing this album?
Jamie: You all don’t have managers right now, right?
LeftEye: We’re looking.
Jamie: What happened with Norm Nixon?
LeftEye: It just didn’t work out.
Jamie: Debbie Allen was giving you all advice, too?
LeftEye: Not only was she giving us advice but she was there on the dates and stuff that Norman was booking for us. Debbie would come and help us and we thought she was just helping and then we’d get these big, big bills from Norman for Debbie.
Jamie: You all run into stuff all different ways!
LeftEye: We just immediately cut that off.
Jamie: Are you all in TLC getting along with each other?
LeftEye: Oh yeah.
Jamie: It’s something that you always stick together, no matter what happens.You all are just full of magic. I hope you do now that.
LeftEye: Um hmm.
Jamie: Are you still getting royalties on the records like CrazySexyCool?
LeftEye: Nope. All of our publishing went to Pebbles.
Jamie: All of it?
LeftEye: From the first and the second album.
LeftEye: That was the sacrifice we had to make. For her to stay out of our lives forever.
Jamie: Oh that was the deal?
LeftEye: No, plus 2.5 million dollars cash settlement.
Jamie: Now, the first group from Left Eye Productions will be out when?
Jamie: Are you excited?
LeftEye: Very excited. I never told you why Andre gave me the Super Bowl ring.
Jamie: Oh yeah.
LeftEye: I really don’t know. Andre has a funny way of showing me he loves me. Like most guys will buy you flowers, Andre will give you his most prized possession.
Jamie: That’s funny because he wouldn’t buy you any sneakers.
LeftEye: He wouldn’t buy me anything, but he would give me the things that mean the most to him.
Jamie: How is that you never got pregnant?
LeftEye: Oh, I got pregnant but I just didn’t have the child.
Jamie: But that’s only one time.
LeftEye: No, I got pregnant a couple of times by Andre.
Jamie: Would you keep the child now?
LeftEye: If somebody else carried it.
Jamie: You just don’t want to carry the baby?
LeftEye: No, not right now. I have too many things to do.
Jamie: Lisa, do you think you’re beautiful?
Jamie: Do you think you’re beautiful inside?
LeftEye: Yeah. I think I’m beautiful inside. I think there are a couple of sides to me. There’s not a mean side or an evil side, but there is an angry side. The angry side comes out sometimes.
Jamie: Trena befriended you while you were in the diversion center. Was she like your best friend? Some people say she sort of protected you. Is that true?
LeftEye: Not really, because there was no one after me.
Jamie: Why did you become friends?
LeftEye: She helped time go by quicker because she was somebody that I could sit down with and talk to. We started talking and she helped me with being on time and stuff.
Jamie: Being on time for what?
LeftEye: We had to be up at 5 o’clock every morning and we’d stand on line and they’d call all of our names and then we’d go back to our room to clean it up. I was used to going to bed at 5 o’clock in the morning, so it was hard for me to adjust. Some mornings I’d wake up and I’d say, “All right, let me just get five more minutes.” I’d lay back down and sometimes I wouldn’t wake back up. And she’d run back to the room and say, “You gotta be on line in two minutes. Get up! Get up!” She was the only one who would run back to the room and make sure I was on line.
Jamie: Would there be any punishment if you weren’t?
LeftEye: Yeah. They’d write me up and I would have to do two extra hours of cleaning. It was a four month program. Without any write ups you could get out in three months.
Jamie: What did you do when you got out?
LeftEye: I went straight to work. As soon as I got out, we did the“Waterfalls” video.
Jamie: What did people say? Welcome back, or what?
LeftEye: When I got out, L.A. [Reid from LaFace] was like, “Dag, I’m glad that’s over with.” I was looking at him like, “This is just the beginning. Now that I’m out, I can get into trouble. I’m still on probation. It’s over with for you guys, but it’s just the beginning for me.”
Jamie: How long are you on probation?
LeftEye: Five years.
Jamie: So how many years have passed?
Jamie: So when you did that magazine cover with TLC in firemen suits, did that affect you at all?
LeftEye: It affected me.
Jamie: Why did you do it? Weren’t you thinking about what the implications were or anything?
LeftEye: No, we weren’t thinking. I just know so much more today then I did back then. We didn’t know the press would take the story, twist it around and put a headline on it to sell some magazines. The three of us didn’t know. We were kind of naive. When they brought their stylists in and they had all these different outfits, we put them all on. And one of them was the fireman outfits. They just said, “We have these new outfits. It’s a new hip-hop clothing line of all professions.” We put on nursing outfits, fireman outfits, every different profession there was. We weren’t thinking.
Jamie: Why did you all show you breasts at that time? Because you all were known for not showing nothing.
LeftEye: I don’t know. Sometimes we get in that mood and we act real silly and giggly: “Hey, you want to show you breasts?” And we were like,“Yeah, yeah.” It was just spur of the moment. It was not something we planned. We were just having fun.
Jamie: How did it affect you?
LeftEye: That part didn’t affect me. That part affected Tionne the most. Dalvin [Tionne’s boyfriend] really got on Tionne. They went through a lot of problems because of that.
Jamie: Well, how did it affect you with the judge?
LeftEye: It pissed the judge off. The judge felt like we were making fun of the incident. He felt like I wasn’t being serious and that I felt like it was a big joke.
Jamie: He didn’t make it harder for you, did he?
LeftEye: No. It was a woman. She really didn’t make it that hard.
Jamie: How did you get the name “Left Eye”?
LeftEye: When I first met Pebbles, I met this guy and I ran into him in the mall and he just said, “Wow! It’s you left eye.” I was like, “What?” He said, “It’s your left eye, man. It’s something about it.” I said, “You picked an eye?” Usually they say you have pretty eyes. He picked one of them. He said, “It’s prettier than the right one. It’s more slanted.” So from there on, Bille [Woodruff, the top video producer who directed TLC’s “Waterfalls” video] was teasing me and calling me “Left Eye” and it kind of stuck. I never told anybody who that guy was.
Jamie: Who was it?
LeftEye: Micheal Bivins [of New Edition].
LeftEye: Yep. All these years, people have been asking me that and I’ve never told anybody.
Jamie: Micheal is sweet. I haven’t seen him in a while. Let me just ask a couple of other things. You know people are saying that you got married to Andre in the Spring. That they went to your wedding.
LeftEye: Oh goodness.
Jamie: Is that true or not?
Jamie: Would you all get married?
LeftEye: Oh I do still have feelings for him. So it’s a possibility. It’s all up to him.
Jamie: He’s not still married, is he?
LeftEye: Who, Andre? Oh no.
Jamie: Have you made up with his family?
LeftEye: Unh unh.
Jamie: Did Andre help you pay the $700,000 plus you had to pay for the fire?
LeftEye: No ma’am.
Jamie: Did you ask him to?
LeftEye: Oh, he owes me about 400,000 dollars.
Jamie: Why does he owe you that much?
LeftEye: Because he gave me his word that he would pay half.
Jamie: And then he just reneged on that. Well tell him we’re mad at him.
Jamie: Did you hear Andre say that he doesn’t know where his Super Bowl ring is on Fox NFL?
LeftEye: No I didn’t hear it, but somebody told me.
Jamie: Did you laugh, knowing that you have it?
Jamie: Why did you scratch the word “hate” into your arm?
LeftEye: It used to say, “I love Dre.”
Jamie: Didn’t it hurt when you scratched that into your arm?
LeftEye: No, because my emotions were too high.
Jamie: Do you and Andre talk?
LeftEye: We talk once or twice a week.
Jamie: You were going to marry him at one point.
LeftEye: I know. Actually, when I said yes, I wasn’t ready, but I thought I would be ready by the time the wedding rolled up.
Jamie: When was it that you all were going to marry?
LeftEye: That was four years ago; the first time we were going to get married. We were always going to get married, we just never did.
Jamie: All right, baby.
LeftEye: All right, bye-bye.