Since the mid-nineties, Usher has been a household name.
He’s had countless hits, earned eight Grammy Awards, starred on The Voice, traveled the globe and yet, fans still don’t know much about the 38-year-old’s personal life.
That’s precisely how Usher Raymond IV wants things to be, it seems, as he’s done his best to keep his family life as far out of the public eye as possible.
Through marriages and divorces, highly publicized love and heartbreak, happy times and truly tragic ordeals, the R&B super star has chosen to separate his home life from his onstage persona in recent years—and for good reason.
But what may have sparked the hit-maker’s decision to shield his family from the limelight? Let’s have a look at what may have contributed to Usher’s secrecy as of late.
In 2009, after two years of wedded bliss, Usher and wife Tameka Foster revealed that they were divorcing.
The two hadn’t shied away from putting their love (or marriage) on public display—but neither could’ve predicted the stormy times ahead.
Fast forward to July 2012 when Usher’s stepson Kile Glover was declared brain dead after being hit by a jet ski on Lake Lanier in Atlanta.
One day later, the 11-year-old passed away after being taken off of life support.
At the time, Usher and Tameka had been in the midst of a contentious custody battle over their two sons, Usher Raymond V and Naviyd, but they set aside their differences to support one another after the horrific accident.
However, even the painful loss couldn’t keep the exes on good terms.
“It hurts me to hear people speculating that I wasn’t at the funeral. I absolutely was at the funeral. I was at the burial as well,” he told the TV mogul.
“I miss Kile. We cooked together, we laughed, we sang. He loved to sing and dance. He loved to tell jokes.”
Just today, Usher paid tribute to Kile on what would have been his 16th birthday.
“Though you’re gone you still live in my mind. The only thing we ran out of is time. Since you left I ain’t been quite the same. I wonder if you miss me, do I make you proud. Know you’re watching me, I feel your spirit. I keep you right by my side.”
He added, “Happy 16th birthday, Kile. We miss you.”
Usher also spoke candidly to Oprah about his ex’s allegations that he is an absentee father during their custody battle.
“Absentee from the aspect of having to go and work, that probably would be her version or idea of what absentee would be. But no, I’m not an absentee father at all. I was born to do what I’m doing as a dad. I realized that once I had a child. When I had them, that was when they became a priority,” he explained.
Ultimately, he says, the two just “don’t see eye-to-eye” anymore.
“The friend that I was to Tameka, I don’t know that I could ever be again, because I really felt like we were friends. She made us enemies in a way that I never could have understood.”
And as if things weren’t difficult enough in the separate Raymond and Foster households, on August 5, 2013, the former couple’s eldest son was rushed to the ICU after a scary swimming pool accident.
According to police reports at the time, Usher V was trapped in a drain at his pool at his famous father’s home.
Less than a day later, Foster filed a request for emergency custody after her son’s “near-death” experience.
She claimed that there was a lack of supervision of the children while they were swimming in the pool and sought temporary primary custody.
After the two went to court, the case was ultimately dismissed and the Grammy-winner continued to have primary custody of both of their kids.
Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Samsung
In a February 2007 interview with O magazine, Usher said that “getting married at 28” was “best mistake.”
Over the course of the next few years, Usher maintained a very private life and shielded his children from the public eye.
In January 2015, however, news broke that he had proposed to his longtime manager and girlfriend, Grace Miguel.
The two eloped nine months later and word got out only because Usher posted an Instagram shot from his travels that showed him wearing a gold band.
Fans immediately caught wind of the new jewelry and began speculating that the two had become husband and wife—and boy, were they right.
“You know what’s funny,” he said while pointing to the Instagram photo that hinted at the elopement.
“We put this picture up and we were actually just in Cuba on a cultural exchange and people were like, ‘Hey, they got married.’ But you know, the ring is on the other finger, you guys. But we had a great time. She’s a wonderful woman.”
As of today, there’s so little we know about Usher’s current private life. We haven’t seen photos from his wedding, gotten any new details about how married life is now treating him, or even caught a glimpse at his children as they grow up.
And all things considered, that’s quite alright. After all, Usher likes it his way.