Ne-Yo is a pretty cheesy guy. We don’t mean in the comical sense. At the mention of his wife Crystal Renay Smith, the singer’s pearly whites shine brightly. At the time of his visit to the VIBE offices, the couple were nearing their two year wedding anniversary and passing the fourth year of their relationship. While it may seem like nothing to some, it’s a vast feat for the R&B veteran whose love stories always came to a screeching halt at the four-year mark.
“I started looking back, back, back, back and realized, ‘Damn almost every long-term relationship I have been in has been on the back of another one.’ Like right off the back of it,” he says. The singer-songwriter teetered on the persona of a bachelor but also a loved being in a relationship. This led him to jump into the boyfriend role without meeting most of the requirements. “I never gave myself time to be single. I never gave myself time to figure out who the hell I am.”
Part of what changed for Mr. Smith was his intent with love. His past has been well documented on some of his biggest hits like “So Sick,” “Because of You,” “Mad” as well as his much-publicized marriage to ex-wife Monyetta Shaw. With so many lessons learned, his love journey connected him to Smith, a former model and businesswoman.
And it clicked.
For their first date, the two decided to overshare every detail of their past. This included their not so proudest moments and what they wanted in the future. Brutal honesty became the key to unlock this new terra of love the singer never experienced. It also became the blueprint to his latest album, Good Man.
“I’ve learned to be more present, just in the realm of love,” he says. “I’ve learned that loving somebody and liking somebody are two different things.”
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