I was in a huge 90s girl band and sold 10m records but when we split I bagged my dream job – as a top lawyer

ETERNAL was considered the UK’s answer to US R&B and pop powerhouses En Vogue – but after the group’s split, founding member Vernie Bennett took on a new life as a lawyer.

She went back to university to complete her law degree with the South London singer becoming a qualified lawyer.

Vernie became a practicing lawyer after her

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Vernie became a practicing lawyer after herCredit: Instagram
The Glory Days: Vernie pictured with his Eternal band mates, Easther and Kéllé in 1998 at Capital FM's Party In The Park in Hyde Park.

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The Glory Days: Vernie pictured with his Eternal band mates, Easther and Kéllé in 1998 at Capital FM’s Party In The Park in Hyde Park.Credit: Alamy

With all of the success, the woman voted once one of the top 50 sexiest women in FHM, harbored desires for a much quieter life, away from the limelight, trading chart success for courts proceedings.

After the band split she completed the law degree that she’d put on hold and went on to pass the bar exam.

Eternal won a plethora of awards during their seven year run, including Best Single at the 1997 MOBO Awards.

As we approach this year’s 26th MOBO Awards, taking place Wednesday 7th February at Sheffield’s Utilita Arena, here’s a look back at one of the prolific award show’s most impactful winners.

Having accumulated 15 top 20 singles, Eternal are one of the UK’s most successful girl groups.

Eternal’s original line-up consisted of Louise Nurding, better known today as Louise Redknapp, Kéllé Bryan, and sisters Easther and Vernie.

Easther and Vernie grow up singing in church, while Kéllé and Louise cut them teeth performing and training at London’s Prestigious Italia Conti School of Performance and Art.

After signing a record deal with EMI in 1992, the group released their debut single, Stay in September 1993.

The song elevated the group to success, with Stay reaching number four on the UK Singles Chart, and their debut album, Always & Forever reaching number two in the UK Albums Chart.

The album sold over one million copies in the United Kingdom, and was later certified 4x Platinum. The album broke records for being the first to sell over one million copies in the UK by a female group.

The group were also nominated for four Brit Awards, and went on to sing the soundtrack for the Disney film The Hunchbacks of Notre Dame.

In 1995, Louise split from the group to embark on a successful solo career. She once told a press conference that she left because she was “miserable and homesick”.

Eternal achieved their first ever UK number one in 1997, a duet with American Gospel Singer BeBe Winans, I Wanna Be the Only One, which became the second most played song on UK Radio in 1997, and stayed at the top spot for one week.

The groups final top-10 single Angel Of Mine, from their equally successful Greatest Hits album released in October 1997, would be covered a year later by American Grammy award-winning multi-platinum artist, Monica.

The Greatest Hits album peaked at number two on the UK Album Charts, and included 14 of their top 10 singles. An unprecedented feat at the time for girl group’s.

Kéllé told the press: “Some of our most successful times were after Louise. It was pretty miserable, not even a hello or good morning. I don’t think their behavior was kind and that was challenging.”

The Bennett sisters then responded publicly, claiming that Kéllé failed to show up to recording sessions and chose to record her vocals by herself, away from the sisters.

Kéllé left the girl group in 1998, and cited a “breakdown of professional relations” as the reason for her departure.

She claimed that she was isolated within the group, bullied by the Bennett sisters, and found out about the termination of her contract with a fax message.

The Loose Women panellist was also diagnosed with an auto-immune disease which made her abandon plans of becoming a solo artist. Easther and Vernie would eventually split in 2000, after selling 10 million records worldwide.

Vernie and her husband Bryan have two children, a son named Phoenix and a daughter named Avery. She keeps relatively away from the limelight, and in recent years only embarked on a handful of presenting duties, including Gala Bingo and Songs of Praise.

With the exception of Louise, the original Eternal line-up have largely pivoted away from their music careers. In 2018, Kéllé joined the cast of Hollyoaks as Martine Devereux, and in May 2019, she became a regular panellist on ITV’s Loose Women.

Easther revealed during the groups brief reunion in 2014, on ITV show The Big Reunion, that she had been working at a top London hotel spa, as a beauty therapist. Sharing a similar sentiment to her sister Vernie, she said she also needed normality and a more structured routine than the fame originally afforded her.

The 26th Annual MOBO Awards will be presented by TV personality and presenter, Indiyah Polack and British comedian and writer, Babatunde Aléshé. DJ Spoony, Byron Messia and influential UK music collective, Soul II Soul, will be performing.

The MOBO Awards will be available to watch on BBC One on Friday 9th February at 11:30pm.

The MOBO Awards will be available to watch on BBC One on Friday 9th February at 11:30pm

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Sisters Vernie and Easther arriving at a film premiere in London in 2000

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Sisters Vernie and Easther arriving at a film premiere in London in 2000Credit: Alamy
All smiles: Vernie is the happiest he's ever been since leaving showbusiness

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All smiles: Vernie is the happiest he’s ever been since leaving showbusinessCredit: Instagram

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