The Super Bowl Halftime Show headliner, who’s partnering with Sanofi to spread the word about testing for Type 1 diabetes, opens up about his co-parenting journey
When Usher and ex-wife Tameka Foster found out that one of his children had Type 1 diabetes years ago, it changed everything.
“From the moment that Type 1 diabetes was a conversation, it was a re-acclimation to life. The life that we knew changed,” the Grammy winner, 45, says of the chronic condition in which the pancreas fails to produce sufficient insulin for the body, often requiring insulin injections to help maintain normal blood sugar levels.
“It comes with a great deal of consideration and commitment in itself because we’re all managing to make certain that my child makes the right decisions to have a happy, healthy life,” he explained.
Staying on top of the disease takes teamwork between Raymond and Foster, who divorced in 2009, and the star admits that it’s something they work hard at.
“The breeding ground of disaster is lack of communication,” he says. “You honestly have to find the means and the ability to have mutual parties.” For him and Foster, “our [kid’s] endocrinologist is a mutual ground.”
Still, says the star, “It’s been a task. It is very complicated because kids, by the way, will find a way to work you against each other. You have to be mindful of what you say and that they’re always listening and greater than that. They’re always watching.”
What has worked best for him and Foster, with whom he shares sons Usher Raymond V, 15, and Naviyd Eli Raymond, 14, is trying to have understanding. “Her experience is what it is. My experience is what it is, and if we can find somewhere to meet in the middle to make the right decisions and also to be mindful of each other or at least sensitive to the things that matter to both parties, then that’s hopefully success for everybody.”
Usher recently partnered with Sanofi’s The 1 Pledge Movement, to get the word out about early detection of Type 1 diabetes, something he wished he was aware of years ago. “If I had honestly prepared myself better, I would’ve appreciated it,” he says.
After years of helping his child navigate life with the disorder, he’s made finding normalcy a priority: “It doesn’t have to be a life vacant of fun or experience and the excitement of just being a careless young person.”
And even though Usher is gearing up to headline the 2024 Super Bowl Halftime Show in February, he still faces the same challenge as any parent of teens does.
“Am I cool to them?” the star says with a laugh. “I think I’m really cool to my 2 and 3 year old [Sire Castrello and Sovereign Bo, with longtime girlfriend Jenn Goicoechea]. They don’t know any better. But my almost 16 and almost 15 year olds, they may think I’m not. They’ll say ‘You need to update this’ or ‘You could be doing this.’ I’m trying to make certain I stay cool to them.”
Most importantly, adds Usher, “Dad life is everything. I live for my children. I’ve seen every first step and I’ve missed a few firsts as a result of my commitment to entertainment. But it’s a sacrifice. I just hope that they see me as the dad that I didn’t have. I’m a father that’s 100 percent about my family.”