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.
"I do not believe in divorce. Both times I got divorced, it was because I was filed on."
That sounds like a list of reasons for why…
It didn't work?
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?