Skip to main content

Usher Speaks Out to Oprah About His Divorce and Custody Battle with His Ex

It's being called "the interview you'll only see on O"...

Usher sat down with Oprah Winfrey at his Atlanta home for an installment of Oprah's Next Chapter that aired Sunday night (September 16). He discussed his career and his recent custody battle with his ex-wife Tameka Foster. 

Usher said he invited Oprah to his home because he wanted her to see his "crib." When arriving at Usher's house, Oprah removed her shoes and he gave her a pair of special "fun socks" to wear while inside.

Oprah wasted no time and as soon as they sat down, she got straight into talking about the custody battle. Usher was recently awarded primary custody of his and Tameka's two children, Usher V, 4, and Naviyd, 3. Tameka has since filed an appeal requesting a new trial. 

RELATED POST: Usher Wins Full Custody of His Sons

Usher has never spoke publicly of the controversy revolving his personal life. He told Oprah he wanted the opportunity to have a voice and made it clear this will be the only and last time he'll discuss the custody battle.

"Some people are happy and other people are surprised because they would normally think the mother would be the primary custodian of the children," Usher said. "We were there because we weren't able to co-parent under our prior agreement."

Usher with Oprah Winfrey
Oprah traveled to Atlanta to interview Usher
Why Did Usher Get Married?

Usher said many people told him not to get married and a ton of people didn't believe in him marrying Tameka. He said he's still kicking himself in the butt for getting married and confessed to not being ready at the time. Usher married Tameka not only out of love but because he impregnated her and thought he was making the right decision at the time.

Usher's mother and former manager, Jonetta Patton, didn't attend their wedding which played a great deal in Usher's hesitation to marry Tameka. He wanted his mother to come to the wedding and show support. Jonetta also told Usher his relationship wouldn't work out. 

"I was very hurt by it," Usher told Oprah.

He said he never fired his mother but he relieved her of her duties as his manager. He explained it became complicated to have her as a manager and also as a mother and grandmother. Usher said relieving his mother as his manager had nothing to do with marrying Tameka.

Here is more of what Usher had to say:

How much was the pressure from the outside and their opinion of your relationship with Tameka?

"I think it played a great deal in the insecurities that any person would have. Do they accept who I've chosen? Do they accept who I am if I were her? Saying am I good enough for him."

Were you affected by many of your fans reaction to you getting married? Because many of them did not want you to marry her.

"Yeah, of course it hurt me. This is supposed to be the light of my life, the person I feel I'm going to share the rest of my life with and nobody is responding the way I wanted them to respond... Unfortunately those opinions probably drove us in the wrong direction."

When did you know the marriage wasn't going to work?

"Before Naviyd was born. When we had Usher V it was by far one of the most incredible moments in my life, I couldn't have been more happy. And after that, I did get a great sense of the insecurities that were there and the fact that she wasn't coping well being in this position, being married with Usher and all that came with that. We tried to talk about it and we had counseling sessions about it."

"It's hard being married and working the way that I work period. It's hard being in that position and wanting to make someone happy and they're not being any way that you ever can because they got their own sh*t they gotta deal with. I didn't know how to balance it. It was obviously too much for me and I didn't want to get to the point where I would cause myself harm or do anything I felt like would be harmful to me, so I couldn't stay in it..."

Usher said he reasoned with Tameka and went to their mutual friends and therapy to talk and the two just couldn't work things out. 

Usher shows Oprah around his Atlanta home
Oprah asks Usher some burning questions. 

One was about the accusation that came from Tameka, saying that Usher slept with one of her bridesmaids.

Usher took a long pause when Oprah asked if he was ever unfaithful to Tameka.

"Towards the end of our marriage I found myself lost and I just wanted out," he answered. "No. I was faithful at heart but not all the way."

Usher confessed he was with another woman sexually while him and Tameka were separated. He said outside of his marriage, their separation and their divorce, he did have "exchanges" with Tameka's bridesmaid whom he said was also a friend.

Usher then talked about his step-son Kyle Glover and his death. 

"I miss Kyle," Usher said as he choked up a bit.

Usher explained the day when Kyle was struck by the jet-ski. He said out of respect, he called Kyle's father, television executive, Ryan Glover and asked him if it was okay to fly Tameka back to Atlanta to be with her son when the accident first happened. Usher said Kyle was a great part of his life and he reminisced on some of the better times they shared together.

Shortly after Kyle died, Usher and Tameka were right back in court for the custody battle. Usher said he wanted to deal with court later and not during their time of grievance.

Usher also spoke out on the rumors that said he wasn't in attendance at Kyle's funeral. He said he was at the funeral and at the burial.

Him and Tameka don't see eye-to eye now, but there is still respect because she's the mother of his kids but Usher said they can never be friends like they used to be.

"She made us enemies in a way that I can never understand," Usher said.

Usher also spoke out about the time he cried on the stand. He felt like he was being attacked when Tameka accused him of using drugs. He said he had to relive what happened while he was on stage in Berlin. Halfway through a concert and in a middle of a song, Usher walked off stage and later blamed it on a sinus affection. As he walked off stage, fans started boo'ing him. Usher said at that moment he was thinking about his boys and the passing of his father and not knowing him for 20+ years.

Usher said he felt like a failure when he walked off stage and he's never, ever been booed before. He thought he would never perform again after that. He cancelled a lot of tour dates afterwards to get himself back together.

Oprah asked Usher more interesting questions:

Are you ready to make your kids the priority?

"I was born to do what I do as a dad. As soon as I had them they became a priority."

Usher said he can handle primary custody along with his career, despite what Tameka says about him not being available enough for his kids.

Have you or do you make love to your own music?

Usher laughed. 

"You caught me. Some would say this would be rather narcissistic. But yea. I think I do a very good job, I'm a very good motivator in the moment."

Usher said he likes to set the mood before he goes there. His playlist starts with a little Teddy Pendergrass, some Luther Vandross and Marvin Gaye and then he gets more modern and plays his music. Usher said he'll play "Climax" towards the end of a "session."

What is Usher's motto? ... You either evolve or you evaporate.

Usher's mom doesn't regret not attending his wedding.

Towards the end of the interview, Usher's mother, Jonetta, came and talked to Oprah and discussed some past issues her and her son had.

She has high standards for the women that Usher dates and she felt like Tameka wasn't good for Usher. She said she couldn't go to their wedding, she didn't embrace it and she doesn't regret not going. Jonetta said Usher owned his wrongs and apologized to her and after his divorced he said he should have listened.

Oprah asked Jonetta her feelings on Usher receiving primary custody of the kids. 

"I was so excited, for him and myself because I know its been really hard and it's a lot of pressure. But for him to receive what he fought so hard for, to see him in that space is so rewarding."

Usher and his mother had their past differences for years. But now, they are at a very good place and she loves the direction that Usher's life is going in and him also being a father.