Born Tenitra Michelle Williams on July 23, 1980 in Rockford, Illinois, Michelle Williams is best known as one-third of Destiny’s Child, the R&B girl group that has the honor of being named the best-selling female group of all time. Williams is also a successful songwriter, record producer, and actress.
Williams began singing in her church choir, and later started the group United Harmony with her sister Cameron. She began a degree in criminal justice at Illinois State University, but dropped out after two years after offered a shot to sing backup for R&B artist Monica.
Williams and singer Farrah Franklin, joined Destiny's Child in 2000, replacing former members LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson, who had left the group amidst public controversy. Franklin also left the group just five months later, but Williams continued on with fellow members Beyonc? Knowles and Kelly Rowland, making the core trio that most fans recognize as Destiny’s Child. In 2001, the group released their third studio album, Survivor, which spawned massive hits like “Independent Women,” “Survivor,” and “Bootylicious.” The group took a temporary hiatus to pursue solo projects, and in 2002 Williams released a Billboard #1 Gospel album titled Heart to Yours. The album became the largest-selling gospel album of the year with the help of the single "Heard a Word.” Williams followed with a less successful album, Do You Know, in early 2004. That same year, however, Destiny’s Child reunited for their fourth album, Destiny Fulfilled, which again propelled them to massive commercial success, a world tour, and even a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006.
In early 2006, Destiny’s Child again parted ways, and Williams took a stab at acting.. Michelle made her television debut on UPN’s Half & Half. In April 2007, Williams joined the hit Broadway musical The Color Purple, an Oprah Winfrey production based in Chicago, for a national tour. Williams received high praise for her part in the show of blues singer Shug Avery.