“We never broke up,” Watkins, 43, told PEOPLE at the ceremony’s red carpet arrivals in Brooklyn. “We’ve been doing shows overseas every year and have been busy being mommies. Chilli and I see each other all the time.”
The Grammy-winning group has survived two decade of success and heartaches.
“We’ve been through everything together. We’ve got kids, got married, experienced divorces and deaths,” said Watkins. “And when I needed someone, she was always there for me. We will always be together.”
“She’s like my sister and my best friend,” said Thomas, 42. “We have unconditional love for each other and a tight bond that nobody can break. We have the type of relationship where we tell each other everything. Sometimes too much!”
One-third of the reason for the success on the Billboard charts was bandmate Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, who was killed in a 2002 car crash in Honduras. But despite her passing 11 years ago, Lopes is still on their minds.
“She’s always with us,” said Thomas. “There’s never a moment when we don’t think about her, especially when we’re doing performances. I still miss her very much.”
The group’s VH1 original/bio film, “Crazysexycool: The TLC Movie,” debuts Oct. 21.