It’s hard not to be even more enamored with the EGOT winner as he talks about his new single, fatherhood, homeschooling, and racial unrest.

By Adrienne Farr
September 08, 2020
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Joe Pugliese

Being the dad of two beautiful children—Luna, 4, and Miles, 2,—fatherhood for John Legend is not a new thing. But what a wow the world got when he and wife, supermodel Chrissy Teigen, made the baby announcement for their third child. The news was revealed in Legend’s gorgeous new video “Wild,” which features Grammy Award-winning guitarist Gary Clark Jr. The passionate, modern-day love story was shot in Mexico during the pandemic and is the first video off of Legend’s seventh album, “Bigger Love.” A full-circle moment for Legend is the fact that Nabil Elderkin, who directed “Wild,” actually cast Teigen as a model in “Stereo, one of Legend’s first videos back in 2006. Legend says he wouldn’t have met his now-wife without him. The beautiful visual narrative ends with a shot of the pair cradling the baby bump—literally one of the sweetest video moments, like ever.

Finding out he was a dad for the third time was shocking, to say the least, because Legend and Teigen had fertility problems in the past. He never thought they’d be able to get pregnant the old-fashioned way. Fate had a trick up her sleeve. “It was a surprise,” Legend explains to Janine Rubenstein, senior editor of People magazine during a recent BLACKPRINT Meredith panel. "We've talked openly about having fertility struggles before—both of our first two babies were the result of IVF. We just didn't think we could have a baby the old-fashioned way, honestly. Other than the actual act of doing what one does to procreate, we weren't trying to have a baby at that time. We just were in quarantine, and spending a lot more time together. I believed that there would be a quarantine baby boom, with all these couples spending more time together. I would joke about it but I figured it wouldn't happen to us. [But] it happened to us too!”

Nabil Elderkin

The couple shot the video fairly early in the pregnancy and were prepared to nix the reveal if it turned out that the pregnancy was not viable. They decided to “just shoot it.” Says Legend, who is also a coach for The Voice, “by the time the video would be edited we could decide whether or not to use that scene. The tests came back great so we were comfortable saying to the world that we were pregnant.”

With a baby on the way, Legend, who is the reigning Sexiest Man Alive, marvels at how adeptly Teigen manages their kids during COVID times. The 11-time Grammy winner explains, “I knew she had it in her, but she's been an extremely creative mom during this time. Every day she's trying to figure out a new craft or a new activity with the kids. She tells me now that one of the things she wanted to be when she was younger was a preschool teacher. And I'm definitely seeing that aspect of her.”

Legend, who was homeschooled along with his three siblings when they were young, now sees how difficult it must’ve been for his mom. “We've had to essentially homeschool and entertain them. Every parent has been trying to figure that out. And it's hard, especially with toddlers, because there's no such thing as independent study. So I have even more appreciation for what my mother did when we were kids, seeing what we're doing now.”

Learning at home will continue for Legend and Teigen as they have signed on to a do a homeschooling pod with a couple of kids from Luna’s preschool. “We’re not going back to school. Everybody is getting their tests this weekend. We’re going to start in the next week.”

Although the baby announcement, new single and album release are bright spots for Legend, he is undeniably affected by the current racial climate. “I've had a lot of moments this summer and this year where I've just been angry and frustrated. It's interesting because my personality is so optimistic and hopeful. I'm a generally just kind of a calm, content person. I have a great life, and nothing to complain about. But when you watch the news, it can truly make you angry and extremely frustrated. It just feels like we're having the same conversations over and over, and we're not fixing any of these problems that we've been dealing with for so long."

"I think the existence of these videotapes is interesting because, on one hand, it proves what we've been saying all along. That we aren't treated equally, particularly in interactions with law enforcement and the criminal justice system," he continues. "That proof has been helpful in telling our story [because] Dr. King and John Lewis would go out and invite getting jailed, invite getting beaten by the cops because they wanted America to see what was happening.”

But Legend also says watching the videos has been so hard that he's stopped watching many.

“But it also has this side effect of getting us so used to seeing Black people dehumanized," he says. "I appreciate the evidentiary value of having these phones and the footage. But I do not like the idea that so many people are watching this torture porn, this murder porn.”

Legend is clear that voting is the way to begin to shift this current racial uprising in the right direction. “It is a critical moment in the history of this nation. Whether we decide that we want to have justice, equality, democracy, or some other regime that's authoritarian, proto-fascist," he says. "We need to decide what side of history we're going to be on and not just be at home, shaking our head. Take your family to vote, be proactive. I'm going to join the phone banks this year to encourage other people to get out and vote in swing states. Get out there.”

However, Legend says, “As much as I’m frustrated, I also have hope.” He is currently reading Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, which covers of the terrorist regime of Jim Crow. “My grandmother, who's still alive now, was born in 1930. She experienced all of that," says Legend. "She appreciates the fact that things have really changed and the country has made progress. I really do believe that it’s going to get better.”

With all that’s going on, Legend’s “Bigger Love” album is a much-needed distraction, with love songs like Teigen’s favorites “Wild” and “U Move, I Move.” Until he can tour again, which he misses greatly, Legend will be connecting with extended family via Zoom, enjoying Teigen’s “incredible”sour cream cheese pie and cruising in the new car he sings about in the first line of “Wild.” Could the nostalgic “punch buggy” that whisks he and Teigen through Mexico be the vehicle he’s referring to? Nope. Says Legend, “I just bought a new Chrysler minivan!”

Charly Palmer

Legend interview courtesy :BLACKPRINT Meredith

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