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Fergie Played Matchmaker for This Bravo Star and Her Husband
#TGTM mama Stefanie Fair recalls her Wild Orchid days and being pals and bandmates with the Dutchess herself.
If anyone feels like they've seen There Goes the Motherhood's Stefanie Fair (nee Ridel) before, they aren't wrong. The There Goes the Motherhood star and mama of four was already a household name back in the '90s, thanks to her girl group, Wild Orchid. As one-third of the all-female pop act, Stefanie found fame alongside Renee Sandstrom and Stacy Ferguson, who you probably know these days as Fergie. They reigned during a golden era for girl groups, when the likes of the Spice Girls and All Saints all ruled the charts. Formed in 1992 before disbanding in 2003, Wild Orchid released four albums and even hosted their own kid-friendly, lip sync-themed series Great Pretenders on Fox Family (how ahead of their time). It's been 13 years since they called it a day, Stefanie proudly waves her Wild Orchid flag high, even if it took some time for her to come to grips with the group's legacy.
"I think that initially when we broke up, which, you know we were all needing to break up, it was hard. There were a handful of years where I think all of us were kind of like — it was hard to talk about," Stefanie told The Daily Dish. "We were disappointed and we all wanted to go our separate ways. Now it's like this '90s nostalgia fabulousness and I am so proud of what we created, what we did."
Still, the wounds were raw when the group parted ways. "At the time, all I wanted was to be famous and have a No. 1 song and be recognized," Stefanie said. "We were all craving that; you work so hard. But now I realize that having a No. 1 single, or whatever I made in my mind, doesn’t mean it wasn’t great because we didn’t have that. And I really appreciate it and it’s so fun to look at it all see all the hard work we did."
Stefanie also feels nostalgic for the good 'ol days, pre social media. "This was at a really beautiful time in the music industry, and in entertainment. There was no paparazzi. We didn’t even have stylists! It was really such an innocent, great time and I cherish it," she said. "And I actually have treasures and treasure chests of videos and photos. I can’t wait. I’ve working on my website, it’s almost done and I want to put stuff on there and it’s great. I love when people come up to me and they’re like, 'I saw you on tour with Cher. I saw you open up for *NSYNC. Or, I watched Great Pretenders.' And I kind of forgot about it, so it’s fun. And my kids love it; they think it’s hilarious."
To this day, Stefanie remains friends with Fergie and Renee. She even wrote two tracks that appeared on Fergie's 2005 debut album, The Dutchess. "We live very close to each other. Her son, Axl, is a year younger than Rocky. I just saw Renee. Well, first of all, me and Fergie lived together for four years [back in the day]. We moved out, we had an apartment together and then we were a band, the three of us, together for 11 years, so in those [integral] years of teenage to late 20s, we will always be connected in a way. We shared just the amazing memories," she said. "Yeah, we’re forever bonded, whether we like it or not."
In fact, she has Fergie to thank for matching her up with her husband, famed music producer and record executive Ron Fair. "Back in the day, when Ron was just [Wild Orchid's] A&R guy, there was nothing romantic between us but there was this connection," Stefanie recalled. "You know when you just click with somebody? I’m sure with people in your life [it's happened], and whether they remain friends or it becomes something more later you just kind of go, 'We connect.' And so we had this connection, we always did, a really great friendship and then fast forward to 12 years later and we’re both in different circumstances. And Fergie is like a little sister to me, family, and she was working on a Black Eyed Peas record at the time with Ron. And Ron asked her, 'How’s Stefanie doing?' and Fergie knew that I was getting a divorce and she kinda said she was kinda annoyed. She was like, 'Oh my god, Ron, stop asking me about her just call her. Like if you want to know about her, just call her.'”
And as the legend goes he did, and the rest is history. "I hadn’t seen him in many years so, you know, we had kind of seen each other at events but we hadn’t seen each other," she continued. "So he got my number and after that session he called me and we went out to dinner the next day. I think the next day and then started a friendship. He actually called me on the phone. Isn’t that interesting? And we had a conversation; actually a very long conversation and then we went out to dinner. There was no swiping. So that’s how it happened."
Check out what's to come for Stefanie this season on TGTM, which airs Wednesdays at 10/9c.