Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Usher's now ex-wife Tameka finally broke her silence and came clean with Vibe Magazine about Usher, their marriage, the 911 call, and more! Below is the cover story/interview Vibe Magazine did with Tameka.

The blogs cheered when Usher divorced his wife of two years, Tameka Raymond. Out of all his industry pickings, the 39-year-old was the only pelted with insults. Too old. Too dark. Too much. But seven months following her much publicized divorce, the mother of five has found her security and autonomy. Here, she finally clears the air about her past, present and post-Usher life. —Tracy Garraud

VIBE: Since your divorce from Usher last November, you haven’t done many interviews. How difficult is it to keep quiet about rumors you’re dying to clarify?Tameka Raymond: 
You know its funny because I love Twitter, but I get so many crazy people [who] say the most heinous things to me. I ignore a lot of it now. When I first started dating Usher, I used to pay attention to what they'd say, but he gave me good advice. He said you're going to have to toughen up and drink a lot of milk. 
It’s a joke because he says you have to develop thick skin and a tough stomach to handle the things people say. I’ve come to a point where I don't read the blogs. I tell my friends, associates, employees not [to] bring me that garbage.
Were you ever skeptical about even dating such a big star?
We didn't even get a chance to settle into marriage. First of all when he proposed, I became pregnant a few months later and then I had the baby [shortly] after our wedding. We did in one year what couples do in five. We bought a house, we were combining families with stepchildren and we were promoting Here I Stand after he hadn't had an album for four years. So there were nerves with that and it was so much pressure. Then not having the public support… that didn't help. And you kind of have peer pressure to go to the clubs to prove that you're cool. It was just nuts.

That sounds like a list of reasons for why…It didn't work?
Yeah.Clearly. There was no lack of love on either sides. We loved each other very much. I dare to say we love each other very much. [The divorce] had nothing to do with us as people, [but] all the circumstances. 

Do you personally believe in divorce?
I do not believe in divorce. Both times I got divorced, it was because I was filed on. [Laughs] I didn't fight for my first marriage the way I should have. I think once you’re married it’s a commitment [even] through all your tough times.

Did you fight harder for Usher than your last marriage?
I definitely fought harder, but its just timing. You never know what life has for you. Maybe God has another man [for me] that's more settled or older.

Many people believe Usher lost his sex appeal as a result of marriage. Do you see the reasoning behind that?
I think it’s ludicrous. Committed men are sexy as hell. I think I married someone that grew up in the public eye as a playboy with a lot of not serious girlfriends. [So] when he got serious, people got nervous like ‘Who is this woman?’
True. How did it feel to have Here I Stand dedicated to you?
I felt very flattered. I feel like there’s been two albums dedicated to me.
Raymond vs Raymond? I did wonder that…[Laughs]

Speaking of that album, were you surprised with the threesome talk on “Lil Freak”?

When I heard that song, I was appalled. But I felt like ‘Am I being prudish?’ I feel not cool because [threesomes] are what everyone’s doing now or whatever. I wasn’t a big fan, but the track is ridiculous… The devil makes bad things sound good [laughs]. I had many, many conversations with him about that [song].

How’d those go?
I was just like ‘What are you doing, kid? These are our sons, you can’t be talking that.’ He’s like. ‘My album is a dichotomy.’ [Laughs] [But] I love “OMG,” I have a video of [my kids] dancing to it, it’s so cute. 

Aww, how is he with his sons?
He’s a good father, very attentive and very affectionate. They play in the yard, they hang out. They have a very normal childhood. He’s not a superstar coming into the house with his glasses on.
Some months back rumors surfaced that Usher had a pregnant fiancé. Do you know if there’s truth to that?
Not that I know. 

Do you think he would tell you before announcing it?
I’m sure he would tell me, but it has never been mentioned.

Would you be surprised if it were confirmed?
Yeah, I would, but I would congratulate him. 

With that song about threesomes, I don’t it’s happening soon [laughs].
Unless she’s an open bisexual then it could.

Perhaps showcasing that salacious side was an attempt to recharge his sex appeal?
Maybe it’s life imitating art. Maybe that’s what he was doing or does, I don’t know. But it’s not something I’m into.

Another thing most question is your last name. Any special reason for keeping it Raymond?
[Laughs] I don’t think because a relationship doesn’t work, you have to change your name back. It’s an asinine question. Why not? Prior to getting married I kept my ex-husband’s last name. People have such a short expectancy for marriage that when they divorce it’s ‘Why does she still have his name?’ Dude, I was supposed to keep his name until I die. I wasn’t supposed to get a divorce [laughs].

If Usher got his shit together, do you think the love could be easily rekindled?
No, I don’t know. I’m not anticipating it. I’m not working toward it. But it’s [also] not a closed chapter. I’m not saying that I’m not open for discussion on it, but it’s not something I’m working on.

If he came back tomorrow, would you take him back?
I don’t know. I’ve closed the chapter of having Usher as my mate. Now am I willing to reopen it? I can’t say. Do I still love him? I love him very much and you marry someone with the intent of sitting in a rocker with the person. I have sons that look just like him, so I have to deal with him pretty much every day.

Have you dated since the divorce?
I’ve gone on a date or two. But I’m not dating anyone right now. 

Because this is your second divorce, have you ever been tempted to say ‘Man, fuck Black men’?
No. I still like those guys [laughs]. They still do something for me. 

Ha! Just to clear up a rumor you’ve dodged in the past – did you key Usher’s car last October?
No! From what I heard, there is supposed to be a truck that he had and the truck was registered to me. It was my truck, but the truck didn’t get keyed. I don’t know what happened with that. That’s why he didn’t sound very considered in the [911] phone call. I’m not saying his car didn’t get keyed, I’m just saying I don’t know who did it.

He mentioned your name on that call.
[Laughs] He sure did, didn’t he? That was just one of our angry-with-each-other moments. 

So he called 911 just to piss you off?
I don’t know what that was about. I laughed at him so hard when I heard [the audio] and said ‘You sound so crazy.’ He’s embarrassed by it. That was a low point I should say. Trust me, he wasn’t happy about it.
He also told the operator you wouldn’t leave his property…
Oh Lord… I think we were still married at the time. It was just a domestic argument, like couples have. One thing that I don’t think people realize is celebrities have arguments, not physical fights, but things happen.

Moving past your ex, you started a children’s foundation last year. How is that going?
It’s some of the most gratifying work I do. My Lost Ones foundation is catered towards girls between 12 and 18. We mentor them, I do two retreats a year where for a week we try to show them a different slice of life. We give them full makeovers and we have career coaching and we speak to them about education and abstinence training and fitness. 

And you recently opened your first store, Estella?
That’s been a baby dream for like 20 years. It’s like an upscale Urban Outfitters [in Georgia]. I have a mixture of high-end vintage clothing. My [own] designs aren’t in the store yet, but they will be very soon.

For all of those who still label you as just the ex-wife of Usher. Who is Tameka Raymond in 2010?
[I’m an] independent woman, not trying to get any spotlight from [Usher]. Tameka Raymond is satisfied. She is a mom first, I’m an entrepreneur, I have goals. I want to leave behind a legacy of things that are beyond [my sons’] father.

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