After years of trying to get Usher to open up, the R&B superstar finally gave in and invited Oprah to his house in Atlanta for a sit-down interview for “Oprah’s Next Chapter.” He spoke candidly about everything from his custody battle to his divorce from Tameka Foster to why he walked off stage in Berlin (“I felt like I would never perform again”) to being a father to his two sons, Usher Raymond V and Naviyd. During their lengthy conversation, he also admitted to having a relationship with one of his ex-wife’s bridesmaids after the marriage had ended.
Plus, his mother and former manager Jonetta Patton explained why she did not support her son’s marriage and how she felt about being fired. “I’ve been sad for eight years,” she said, referring to his relationship with Foster.
Read highlights from the no-holds-barred interview and watch it in its entirety below.
On winning primary custody of his two sons: “This judge based her verdict off of the facts.”
On his lavish wedding to Tameka Foster: “It’s pretty hard to walk away from a high-ticket marriage. I’m still mad kickin’ myself in the ass behind that one. I always felt like maybe we weren’t ready and maybe this wasn’t the time or the way to do it. Part of that played into the demise of it. I wanted to give her the wedding that she wanted, but I wasn’t quite ready.”
On why he decided to proceed with the marriage: “I really wanted to do things right or at least the perception of what right may be. I impregnated this woman, we were in a relationship, we were in love, so I felt like this is the right way to do things. … I don’t know if I had the best point of reference. My father wasn’t there, so I didn’t want to be like him.”
On whether he was in love with Tameka: “I loved her, yes. I did, I was in love.”
On his mother’s resistance to the marriage: “My mother, she definitely told me that she didn’t think that it was gonna work. She didn’t come to the wedding, which also played a great deal in my hesitation. I was upset that she couldn’t support me through that very difficult point in my life. If I were in her position, I would have come [to the wedding].”
On when he knew the marriage was over: “I really felt the marriage was not gonna work before [youngest son] Naviyd was born. We tried to talk about it. We had counseling sessions about it.”
On whether he was faithful to her: “Towards the end of our marriage, I found myself lost and I just wanted out. I was faithful at heart, but not faithful all the way. Even having conversation with another woman about matters of your relationship is not being faithful.”
On whether he had sexual relations with her bridesmaid: “I did have exchanges with her. We were friends. She was someone who was a part of the children’s lives before and it had always been perceived that we were in a relationship or either had some exchange. It was after the marriage.”
On whether he was an absentee father: “No, I’m not an absentee father at all.”
On the death of his stepson Kile Glover: “I miss Kile and I happened to be in Los Angeles when I received a call from Tameka. She said I need to get back. Something happened with Kile up on Lake Lanier. I didn’t know how real it was, so I reached out to [Kile’s father] Ryan respectfully to get an understanding, and of course, he told me that there had been an accident. I said, ‘I can fly Tameka back, would you like me to do that?’ He said, ‘Yes, get her back here as soon as possible.’ I got her back on the phone, got her a plane, got her here.”
On whether he attended the funeral: “It hurts me to hear people speculating to say that I wasn’t at the funeral because I absolutely was at the funeral. I was at the burial as well.”
On why he cried on the witness stand: “I had to conjure up what I had to live in Berlin because their accusation was that I was on drugs. I said quite the contrary.”
On why he walked off stage in Berlin: “It was because I could not see my boys and right as I’m getting ready to open up my Berlin show, they don’t come and I’m gonna be gone for two months. It was the passing of a father, the demise of a relationship and divorce. … At that moment when [my father] passed, I had just gotten to know him. I was happy and trying to share what I was on.”
On his bedroom soundtrack: “Some guys don’t really take their time. They don’t care to put music on. I like to set the mood before I actually go there. It starts with a little bit of Teddy P., get a little bit of Luther Vandross in there, a little bit of Marvin Gaye, and then your more modern Usher.”