The Real Reason These '00s Bands Broke Up

Ah, the early 2000s. The Noughties. The heyday of older Millennials, Lindsay Lohan, and boy bands. It was a great time for music, which seems to be a pattern during times when the country finds itself suddenly at war. While the U.S. watched in horror on September 11, invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, and fought the endless (and unwinnable) War on Terror during the second Bush administration, it was doing it to a background of Destiny's Child, NSYNC, and The Pussycat Dolls. The tunes were catchy and fun and helped everyone feel a little less bad when the world economy imploded in 2008.

But because we cannot have nice things, even these bands didn't last forever. After supporting the nation – and the world – through such difficult times, many of the biggest bands realized that they didn't want to make music as a group anymore and called it quits. Sometimes it was ego, or conflicting personalities, while other times it was completely amicable and the group had just run its course. And in some cases, the breakup wouldn't mean the end of the band; the members would eventually get the time and space they needed to come back together as a group and start performing again. For other groups though, any chance of a reunion concert is improbably or even impossible.

At least we still have all the music they made while they were together, regardless of what happened after. Here are the real reasons these '00 bands broke up.

Destiny's Child

Before Beyoncé took over the world as a solo artist, she was in the chart-topping group Destiny's Child with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. Hits like "Bills, Bills, Bills," "Survivor," and "Independent Women (Part I)" made them household names. But all good things must come to an end. In 2005, the group released a statement (via Today) saying, "We have been working together as Destiny's Child since we were 9, and touring together since we were 14. After a lot of discussion and some deep soul-searching, we realized that our current tour has given us the opportunity to leave Destiny's Child on a high note."

Of course, the fact Beyoncé had already released a Grammy-winning solo album two years previously meant no one was surprised, and the reasons given for the breakup were to be expected: "After all these wonderful years working together, we realized that now is the time to pursue our personal goals and solo efforts in earnest." And while it is impossible for anyone to compare themselves to the level of success Beyoncé went on to achieve, both Kelly and Michelle were very successful as solo artists as well.

Even though there hasn't been a real reunion other than a couple of one-off performances together, at the time, the members did believe another DC album was a possibility. "If in three years, five years, 10 years, whenever we decide we wanna do another Destiny's Child record, then we will do it," Beyoncé told the AP (via Today).

The White Stripes

The White Stripes were a quirky band, starting with the fact the members, Jack and Meg White, misled fans about how they were related to each other. Instead of siblings, in reality, the pair had been married from 1996 to 2000. But after hits like "Seven Nation Army" and "Fell in Love with a Girl," it wasn't their long-ago divorce that led to the end of the band.

According to the BBC, the White Stripes announced their split in 2011, 13 years after they formed. However, at that point, they hadn't released an album in four years, and had canceled part of a planned tour in 2009. Their statement said that they would "make no further new recordings or perform live" as a band for a "myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band." Apparently, Meg's anxiety had become too much, and she could not handle performing anymore.

If you're hoping that one day down the line the pair might take to the stage and the studio again, Jack crushed that dream, telling a reporter from the NME (via The Toronto Sun) there was "Absolutely no chance ... I mean, if we went to all the trouble of telling people we're done, we meant it, you know?" That didn't mean it was something he was thrilled about though, telling The New York Times, "I'd make a White Stripes record right now. I'd be in the White Stripes for the rest of my life."


When reporters asked the five members of the boy band NSYNC why they broke up in 2002, they got five different answers. As the unofficial frontman of the group, Justin Timberlake attempted to avoid the breakup being laid at the feet of his solo ambitions. In 2020, he did an interview with DJ Zane Lowe (via Bustle) where he claimed that everyone wanted to go solo: "At that time, everyone had aspirations of doing other things, and we had talked about it." In 2107, however, he told The Hollywood Reporter that, at the time, he "cared more about the music than some of the other people in the group."

In 2019, JC Chasez, who also pursued a solo career, basically backed JT up, telling The Huffington Post, "At that time, we just felt like we had exhausted every kind of idea for what we were doing and we just felt like 'OK, let's do something different.' So, that's what we did."

The other guys have a different story. Joey Fatone told the same reporter, "It was, OK, after [Justin] does his thing, blah, blah, blah, we'll get back together and move forward and do what we got to do. And then it was like, nope." Way back in 2004, Lance Bass wrote a book where he explained, "We're definitely broken up. It's not a hiatus. Justin made it clear that he wouldn't be interested in discussing another album any time soon." As for Chris Kirkpatrick? "I don't know if I was ready for it to end," he said (via HuffPo).

Rilo Kiley

For fans of Rilo Kiley who followed the news of their breakup and what happened after, it was an emotional roller coaster. In 2010, drummer Jason Boesel told Paste Magazine that the band was on a hiatus. However, a year later, guitarist Blake Sennett had a much different take on where the band was: namely, it wasn't. He told Spinner, "I just felt like there was a lot of deception, disloyalty, greed, and things I don't really want to submit myself to ... so I said, 'F*** that, I can't do this anymore.'" If that wasn't clear enough, the same year, he told Consequence of Sound (via the NME), "I would say that if Rilo Kiley were a human being, he's probably laying on his back in a morgue with a tag on his toe. Now, I see movies where the dead get up and walk. And when they do that, rarely do good things happen."

While these statements seem pretty emphatic and straightforward, apparently Sennett felt like his words were misconstrued somehow. He asked Spinner to print a sort-of clarification of his remarks: "This interview ... somehow became the official announcement of Rilo Kiley's end ... As far as the band being over? We are. Rilo Kiley is officially broken up. It's sad but it happens."

It wasn't totally forever, though. In 2015, Sennett and former Rilo Kiley lead singer Jenny Lewis performed one song together at Coachella, and again in 2021 on Linda Perry's Rock-N-Relief Livestream.

My Chemical Romance

Emo kids of a certain age were devoted to My Chemical Romance, but some adults were worried there might be something darker going on with the band. But the darkest thing fans would experience was My Chemical Romance's breakup in 2013. They released a statement (via Radio X) saying, "Being in this band for the past 12 years has been a true blessing ... And now, like all great things, it has come time for it to end."

Lead singer Gerard Way explained to The Guardian in 2019 that their celebrity and success met making music wasn't fun anymore, since "when you're in a really big band you're actually doing a lot of boring stuff, like being on the road and missing your family. A lot of it is business."

When the reporter for The Guardian asked about a possible reunion (the band had attended – rather than played at – a concert together in 2017, according to the NME), Way seemed to put the kibosh on the idea: "We definitely get offers regularly to reunite ... I miss playing with the guys, but I don't think so ..." Lucky for fans, early-2019 Gerard Way was wrong, because by late 2019, the band played their first show together since the breakup. It went so well they added a few more shows and even planned to start touring ... but then the pandemic hit. However, according to My Chemical Romance's official website, they are finally going back on tour in 2022 and 2023.


O-Town was always the kind of group that was going to be a flash in the pan. During the boy band era of the late '90s/early 2000s, O-Town was assembled on ABC's "Making the Band" in 2000, The Washington Post reports, and they tried to get some of the fame and success of NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, but you could argue they didn't even rise to the level of 98 Degrees.

Sound harsh? It's something they will admit themselves. After just three years and a lackluster second album, they were dropped by their label. Asked if it was difficult when the band broke up in 2003, Trevor Penick told The Daily Beast, "It's not like we were the biggest thing in the world for like 15 years and then we had to go into obscurity. It wasn't that hard for us to just go back and be normal again ... We went through an audition and then we worked for four years and then we each went and did our own individual things."

But the members didn't give up on the dream of ever performing together again. A decade after they broke up, all but one of the original band members decided to give it another go. (The "cute one," Ashley Parker Angel, opted out.) At least longevity-wise, they've been even more successful the second time around. Before the covid-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, they were still touring, having been on the road again for six years by 2019.

Danity Kane

Danity Kane was a manufactured girl group, put together by P. Diddy on MTV's 2005 show "Making the Band 3." But they were successful, as both musicians and as reality show stars, but that didn't stop Diddy from effectively ending the band when he very publicly fired two of the five members, Aubrey O'Day and Wanita "D. Woods" Woodgett. "Diddy broke us up in the height of our fame on national television, on MTV," O'Day told Us Weekly. (The remaining three members would hang on for a few more months before officially disbanding.)

That was a tough way to break up, but even worse was yet to come. The group attempted to get back together in 2014, and even recorded an album. But then things got violent. Billboard reported on a statement from O'Day, who explained that "During a recent group meeting, a business conversation took a turn for the worst when my group member punched me in the back of my head while I was speaking to another associate." While O'Day did not name the person who assaulted her, it had already been reported that it was Dawn Richard.

Richard released her own statement, explaining, "Certain choices were made that I am not proud of ... This could have all been handled privately... I am not justifying my actions. I am saying this was all done before any changes or conversations could even be had." The group broke up again. Since then, they have reunited a couple of times in different iterations.


Audioslave was a "supergroup" made up of members of the iconic rock bands Rage Against the Machine and Soundgarden. However, this meant there was a clash of egos and experience, and there were issues there from the very beginning. Drummer Brad Wilk said that breaking up was one of the first things the newly-formed band ever did, blaming frontman Chris Cornell's substance abuse issues. On the "Let There Be Talk" podcast (via Tone Deaf), Wilk said, "Audioslave broke up before the first record even came out. So that was frustrating because we had this record in the can, and then we weren't a band ... But we got it together, he got it together, and we were able to make three records."

But three was the most their issues could stretch to. In 2007, Cornell released a statement (via Reuters) announcing, "Due to irresolvable personality conflicts as well as musical differences, I am permanently leaving the band Audioslave." He'd previously hinted at trouble in the band the year before to the same outlet, saying, "I think the biggest problem with people surviving in a band and getting along and appreciating each other is just the fact that for the most part musicians aren't the kind of people who concentrate or worry about what the other guy thinks."

The band came together for three songs at a concert protesting Donald Trump's inauguration in 2017, but sadly, as Cornell died later that year, there will not be another Audioslave reunion.

The Pussycat Dolls

The Pussycat Dolls started out as a burlesque troupe created by Robin Antin before morphing into a girl group fronted by the talented Nicole Scherzinger. There were several other women in the band as her backup singers/backup dancers/bandmates in a purely technical sense, so the breakup happened over time and involved a lot of "I'm done" announcements.

Carmit Bachar was the first to go, in 2008, according to People. She released a statement saying, "I wanted to be the first to tell you that I'm no longer with the Pussycat Dolls..." A year later, the group went on a hiatus, but member Melody Thornton made clear to MTV News that it wasn't a breakup, saying, "the Pussycat Dolls are on a break. It's actually a much-needed break." 

The group's creator Robin Antin agreed, telling the same outlet a couple of months later, "The Pussycat Dolls are not at all breaking up." However, she did add that not all the members would be coming back. "It's Nicole and a few ... a couple new faces. Some of the girls want to go and do their own thing. We're moving on. We're excited. We're looking at new girls." By early the next year, three other members – Jessica Sutta, Kimberly Wyatt, and Ashley Roberts – had left the group, MTV reported. That was it for Nicole Scherzinger as well, who said (viaDigital Spy), "I wouldn't want to be in a group with other girls – we were like a tight family."


The breakup of boy band B2K in 2004 seemed to come out of nowhere. But according to Omarion, things had been building to a breakup behind the scenes for a while, even though the boys all professed to still love each other. He told MTV, "With the breakup situation, it wasn't something that just sprung up and happened. When we was like, 'The group is over,' it was definitely a series of things ... The breakup wasn't based on anything but us growing up and wanting to go in our own direction."

But in 2019, he was saying something a bit different, telling VladTV (via Capital Xtra) that an argument before a concert got so bad that it almost turned physical. And even in 2004, the story changed quickly, with Vibe reporting that different band members threw out accusations ranging from pay disputes to their then-manager sexually abusing band members.

However, none of this stopped the band from reuniting in 2019, 15 years after their breakup. And they could tell how much it meant to all their fans, many of whom has been blindsided by the group's initial implosion. J-Boog said, "I think back, when we were younger, we really didn't understand how intense the situation was. But meeting [the fans] now, 15 years later and hearing them talk about it and how devastated they were, I kind of get it more as an adult. Like 'damn, that was kind of messed up.'"


No matter how much you loved the Lostprophets in the '00s, it's not something you should mention in polite conversation anymore. The band was forced to break up for the most horrific of reasons, and the members who weren't facing decades in prison had to burn the remnants to the ground to cleanse themselves of their association with the one who was.

Absolutely terrible story short: Frontman Ian Watkins was convicted of the worst kind of crimes – the kind involving children. Even the judge was openly shocked at Watkins' crimes and didn't mince words at his sentencing. "Those who have appeared in these courts over many years, see here, a large number of horrific cases," he said (per the BBC). "This case breaks new ground. Any decent person ... will experience shock, revulsion, and incredulity."

When Watkins pleaded guilty in 2013, the rest of the band wanted the world to know they had no idea what a monster he was. In a statement (via Under the Gun Review), they said, "We knew that Ian was a difficult character. Our personal relationships with him had deteriorated in recent years to a point that working together was a constant, miserable challenge. But despite his battles with drugs, his egotistic behavior, and the resulting fractures and frustrations within our band, we never imagined him capable of behavior of the type he has now admitted." While they officially ended the band and retired the name Lostprophets, the remaining members would go on to play together again as No Devotion.