Sheryl Lee Ralph Reveals The Shocking Shade Diana Ross Gave Her In Public

Posted On : May 9, 2017
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)

Although Dreamgirls made a significant comeback with its film adaptation in 2006, starring Beyonce,’ Jennifer Hudson, and Anika Noni Rose, we can never forget about the three legendary women who actually started it all in the 1980’s- Loretta Devine, Jennifer Holliday, and Sheryl Lee Ralph. The three beautiful women are still associated with the classic Broadway hit, but one of them revealed everything wasn’t all good behind the scenes. Despite their success, there was one singer who was said t be unimpressed with their work: Diana Ross. In fact, Diana Ross’ shade reportedly left Sheryl Lee Ralph with a long-lasting impression about the soul music diva for many years.

By now, most fans know Sheryl Lee Ralph portrayed ‘Deena Jones,’ depicted as the strikingly beautiful singer with the seemingly less powerful voice, who managed to captivate fans and take the world by storm. ‘Deena’s’ physical beauty overshadowed the power of ‘Effie White’s’ voice and ‘Deena’ ultimately stole the spotlight. Unfortunately, for Diana Ross the character was loosely based off her. So, of course, she wasn’t exactly a fan of the hit Broadway production. Therefore, when the ‘the boss, Ms. Ross’ had the opportunity to meet Sheryl, she wasn’t too thrilled and wasted no time throwin’ shade.

For nearly 30 years, the rumors continued to fester. But, Sheryl Lee Ralph finally decided to address the situation when she appeared on Oprah: Where Are They Now.  During the segment, she spoke candidly about her first encounter with Diana Ross and it was everything you could probably imagine. Since Ralph basically portrayed Ross in the production, the singer definitely made her disdain evident.

Diana Ross
Diana Ross

“He cast specifically, but he was always very clear: He said, ‘If you play Diana Ross, they will sue us,’” Ralph recalled. “There was a rumor that she would come in — shrouded, dark glasses — and sat in the back… And wasn’t happy,” Ralph said. “Who breezes in like a warm breeze of summer in the middle of winter? Diana Ross. I say, ‘Miss Ross… I’m Sheryl Lee—‘ and she says, ‘Ralph. I know who you are,’” Ralph deadpanned. Then she says Diana dryly, “turned around, as quick as she had turned around and was GONE!”

However, things turned out a bit different the second time around. Since both women remained in the spotlight for many years after their first awkward meeting, of course, their paths crossed again years later. Ralph revealed things were a lot better. “Years later, I would see her again,” Ralph says. “We talked about our children, we talked about life and that was that. I was very happy.”

Luckily, the two women have been able to move forward and remain amicable nowadays. There’s nothing like a timeless Diana diva story though…we love her, but they’re always entertaining.