In an interview to promote her role in the new touring production of “Fela!,” Michelle Williams – one third of Destiny’s Child alongside Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland – revealed that she has only recently emerged from years of suffering from moderate depression.

Her dark cloud lifted thanks to exercise, therapy and positive thinking.

“I’ve dealt with depression,” the 32-year-old told The AP during a break in “Fela!” rehearsals. “I had to choose to get out of bed and do whatever I needed to do to be happy.”

Williams says she suffered her first bout of depression at 15 or 16 and has managed to avoid medication. She is speaking out for the first time about her battle to encourage others to seek help.

“We’re taught, ‘Just go to church and pray about it. The Lord is going to heal you.’ Well, in the meantime, I believe God-gifted people, physicians, doctors, therapists – that’s your healing. Take advantage of it,” she said. ”Go see a professional so that they can assess you. It’s OK if you’re going through something. Depression is not OK, but it is OK to go get help.”

Williams will travel with “Fela!” throughout its 16-city tour, starting at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 29. By summer, it will have stopped in Miami, Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle and Nashville.

Also on Jan. 29, Destiny’s Child releases “Love Songs,” a collection of previously released songs as well as a new track co-written by Williams, “Nuclear,” the group’s
first new recording since 2004.

The new song was recorded before Christmas in Los Angeles when all three members were recording their own solo projects. While Williams said the trio isn’t ready to make a new full-length CD right now, the old magic that created songs including “Say My Name” and “Bootylicious” is still there.

“Stacking those harmonies on top (of) each other gave me goose bumps,” she said of recording the new song. “We were like, ‘We still sound good together.’ Duh! The bond will never die. We’re always going to be close. We’re always going to work together.”

“It’s amazing that people are still fascinated by the connection. It’s been about eight years since we released original material and people still ask me, ‘Do you all talk?’ We could take a picture together today and then tomorrow, people would say, ‘Do you all still talk?’”

But Williams was coy about whether she and Rowland will join Beyoncé at the Super Bowl halftime show on Feb. 3. “Who knows?” she said with a smile. “We make sure not to go too long without doing something.”

Williams has her own CD – her fourth – that she’s putting the final touches on, an album of original Christian pop song influenced by her own struggles, which includes being bullied. She laughs and hopes listeners will be inspired, even if that sounds clichéd.

“Sometimes you’re going to wake up on the wrong side of the bed or some situation might have you down in the dumps, but you have to choose to be happy,” she said. “I’m choosing life. And I’m hoping this album makes people want to choose life.”

(Photo: AP)

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