Chilli Had 'Chemistry' with Usher and Reveals How They Were Finally Able to 'Get Over' One Another (Exclusive)

The TLC singer says ending her years-long on-and-off relationship with the R&B star helped prepare her for love and stability with Matthew Lawrence

<p>Evan Agostini/ImageDirect</p> Chilli and Usher in 2002

Evan Agostini/ImageDirect

Chilli and Usher in 2002

Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas couldn't be happier in life and in love these days. 

"I have never experienced anything like this," she tells PEOPLE in this week's issue, opening up about her happy life now with boyfriend Matthew Lawrence, 43, ahead of the premiere of Lifetime's new documentary TLC Forever

It is the first high-profile relationship the singer, 52, has had since famously dating Usher from 2001-2004. "We definitely had some chemistry," she says, when asked about her time with the R&B star. "But working chemistry does not mean it works in your personal life. If we were working, it was great. But outside of that, we're so different."

Dayo x Chilli Chilli
Dayo x Chilli Chilli

Noting how fans rooted for them as a couple, she says, "It looked great, but in real life ... he knew he had to be a certain way with me and he couldn't."

While she denies rumors that his hit breakup album Confessions is about her ("I was with him at the studio that whole time"), the couple still wasn't meant to be, she says due to differing values and trust issues. Still, they remained off and on for years, reconnecting when they weren't in other relationships. "I love hard," says Chilli. "I was like, 'God, why can't I get over this?’ He couldn't either." 

Leaning on her Christian faith, she eventually cut off contact for good in 2019 "to focus on myself," she says. "I even stopped dating. Because before that I thought if I met the right guy during that time that I wasn't over [Usher] it wouldn't work. I would never want to straddle the fence."

<p>Randy Shropshire/Getty</p> Matthew Lawrence and Chilli

Randy Shropshire/Getty

Matthew Lawrence and Chilli

When it comes to her ex, "I have no hard feelings," she tells PEOPLE. It all helped prepare her for Lawrence, the love of her life. "He wants to be the best guy he can be and who God wants him to be," she says. "God-willing one day we'll get married."

For more on Chilli's TLC journey and life now, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday. 

TLC Forever airs June 3 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.