Usher’s divorce filing not a shock for fans
From the beginning it seemed like sentiments were against the marriage between Usher Raymond and Tameka Foster Raymond.
She was older than the 20-something-year-old singing sensation whose career has catapulted him into the realm of first name only fame. She was also married at the time they met and already the mother of three children.
Fans didn’t care for her, and word was his mother, Jonnetta Patton, didn’t approve of the relationship either — a fact that seemed for many to be confirmed when Usher replaced Patton as his longtime manager soon after the wedding.
So news that Usher had filed for divorce from his wife of less than two years has been met with a collective “I told you so” from fans and industry watchers alike.
“A lot of people did not like them together from the very beginning,” said Natasha Eubanks, creator of The Young Black & Fabulous, a popular black celebrity gossip blog. “People didn’t know a lot about her so they wondered if she was some golddigger and where did she come from.”
Speculation that the couple was on the rocks had stirred for months.
“No one I’ve spoken to is surprised,” a source close to the couple told People magazine. (Like CNN, People is a unit of Time Warner.) “As bad as this is gonna sound, it was never a matter of ‘I wonder if they’ll divorce,’ but more like ‘I wonder when they’ll divorce.'”
Usher was often seen in the company of either or both of the couple’s two sons, Usher Raymond V, 18 months, and Naviyd, 6 months, but the pair’s appearances together seemed to dwindle.
Eubanks reported on her site in May 2008 that the couple was soon to split and said she was lambasted for it — including by Usher, who Eubanks said denounced her report during a television interview.
· People.com: Usher files for divorce
“Now that the divorce papers have been filed, even E! Online confirmed that the papers say they have been separated since July 2008,” Eubanks said.
In May 2008, Usher appeared on MTV’s TRL show to dispel talk that there was discord.
“I love my wife very, very much,” he said. “There was a little rumor earlier this week about us separating. It ain’t true. We in love.”
Ian Drew, senior editor of music at Us Weekly magazine, said his publication was aware of the marital woes and held off on reporting until the singer filed for divorce.
“It’s been going on for almost a year,” Drew said. “They have been separated, there has been a lot of chatter and they were even dispelling it at first. But we knew this wedding was a mistake from the beginning.”
Drew said many questioned early on whether the marriage would survive.
Their original, and reportedly lavish, wedding was canceled abruptly prior to them marrying more quietly in August 2007.
Female fans bemoaned the fact that the handsome singer with the six-pack abs was off the market. See People’s coverage of the most eligible bachelors
Since bursting onto the music scene in the early 1990s as an artist on LaFace Records and a teen protégé of Sean “Diddy” Combs, fans have followed Usher’s love life almost as closely as they followed his platinum-selling albums.
An earlier relationship with TLC group member Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas set tongues wagging when fans interpreted his 2004 album “Confessions” and the title single to have been spurred by his infidelity and their ensuing breakup.
The singer, who has also acted in television shows and appeared in films including “She’s All That,” was first publicly linked with Foster Raymond, a stylist, in 2006 after photos of them together on a beach appeared.
The pair initially seemed happy and the newlyweds were featured on the cover of Essence magazine with Usher gazing into the camera while his wife lovingly nuzzled him.
In an article in the magazine, Foster Raymond shot back at critics who questioned the singer’s choice of her as his wife.
“There are worse things to be mad about,” she said. “There are women getting raped in Darfur, young girls being turned out every single day right here in Atlanta. We have bigger issues to worry about than two people in love with each other.”
In February, Usher canceled a performance at music impresario Clive Davis’ famed pre-Grammy Awards party to be at his wife’s bedside in Brazil after she reportedly suffered complications during surgery.
Neither side in the divorce has spoken publicly yet.
Foster Raymond’s attorney, Randall M. Kessler, declined to discuss the case. “At this time we are issuing no statements and trying to keep it a private matter,” Kessler said in an e-mail to CNN.
The Atlanta-based divorce attorney told People.com earlier that he and his client planned on responding to the divorce filing in a “timely manner.”
“We were hoping this case would be resolved privately, but since Usher filed it publicly we will have to respond,” he said.
Over on Eubanks’ site, theybf.com, some posting comments responded with enthusiasm that Usher had filed for divorce.
“Finally, Ursher (sic) does something that make sense!!,” wrote commenter PinkDeJaVu. “This little experiment should have never happened.”