Nicole Scherzinger Reflects on Time with Pussycat Dolls: 'I Only Wish Them the Best' (Exclusive)

The singer and actress says she's "very proud" of her time with pop girl group Pussycat Dolls, who disbanded in 2010 but reunited 10 years later to release their single "React"

<p>MJ Kim/Getty</p> Nicole Scherzinger and the Pussycat Dolls in 2003

MJ Kim/Getty

Nicole Scherzinger and the Pussycat Dolls in 2003

Nicole Scherzinger is looking back on her time with the Pussycat Dolls.

The pop star rose to global fame in 2005 with the release of the girl group's debut single "Don't Cha." Two albums (PCD and Doll Domination) and eight Top 40 singles (including "Buttons" and "When I Grow Up") followed, but the dance-pop troupe disbanded in 2010.

The group begin as a burlesque act before founder-choreographer Robin Antin negotiated a record deal, bringing in Scherzinger to front the band, which was rounded out by dancer-performers Kimberly Wyatt, Melody Thornton, Jessica Sutta, Ashley Roberts and Carmit Bachar.

"Our group was never set up like the Spice Girls. Our group was set up where I would be the quarterback, and I would lead us," Scherzinger, 45, recalls of their singular set-up. "The girls are extremely strong, talented dancers, and I had to work hard to be able to stand next to them."

Related: Nicole Scherzinger Is 'Still Proving Myself,' Hopes 'Sunset Boulevard' Shows 'What I Have to Give' (Exclusive)

<p>Dymond/Thames/Syco/Shutterstock</p> Nicole Scherzinger with Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell on 'The X Factor' in 2017


Nicole Scherzinger with Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell on 'The X Factor' in 2017

Despite the group's ups and downs over the years, Scherzinger — who has said she recorded the majority of the vocals on the albums — says she looks back on her time with the Pussycat Dolls fondly.

"I always used to be made to feel like . . . I don’t know, not ashamed, but . . . I’m very proud that the albums are my music. I put the work in after all these years, and that's OK that I have the credit because everybody has their own strengths. And this is what I bring to the table," she says. "Those were world-class pop records that had many No. 1s around the world. And I love my girls, and I’ll always have love for them — I only wish them the best."

The Pussycat Dolls reunited in 2020 to release their single "React" and to embark on a tour. The tour was delayed by the pandemic and later scrapped amid a lawsuit between Scherzinger and Antin.

<p>FOX via Getty</p> 'The Masked Singer' judges Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong and Nicole Scherzinger in 2022

FOX via Getty

'The Masked Singer' judges Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong and Nicole Scherzinger in 2022

Related: Nicole Scherzinger Reveals She's 'Moved to London' After Engagement to Thom Evans: 'UK Girl Era'

After the Dolls disbanded, Scherzinger took several reality competition judging gigs, from The X Factor (she put together One Direction!) to The Masked Singer, where she works with Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy and Ken Jeong.

"I really appreciate the family within the show — the camaraderie, the chemistry that we have. It’s not every day you can go to work and genuinely love the people," says Scherzinger, who just returned for her tenth season of the show. "They make it not feel like work. We get to just play and have fun and be ourselves — and I think we bring out the best in each other."

<p>BACKGRID</p> Nicole Scherzinger in 'Sunset Boulevard'


Nicole Scherzinger in 'Sunset Boulevard'

However, Scherzinger will be stepping away from The Masked Singer to star in the West End revival of Sunset Boulevard in London. Despite her pop career, Scherzinger feels her talents have "absolutely" been underestimated.

"That’s why I’m making moves now. It’s hard when people don’t see you for who you truly are. But if you don’t show it to them, they will never know; so that’s why I’ve taken this," says Scherzinger, who got engaged to former Scottish rugby player Thom Evans, 38, this summer. "If I’m honest with you, I had to actually choose between The Masked Singer season 11 and Sunset Boulevard. I chose Sunset Boulevard. This is where my talents truly lie. I’m still proving myself."

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