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IN THIS FEATURE:

Sean Combs on...
Jennifer Lopez
"she's somebody I'll always love"
"we'll meet again"
his children and the trial
"you couldn't escape from it"
what happened that night
"it was on and poppin'"
"I have to have true fans"
"I ain't untouchable"
the most touching fan gesture
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Sway: You had family members in the courtroom. I saw your mother there all the time. Russell Simmons, Heavy D, different celebrities ... did any thoughts of not being able to be with those people and your children again go through your mind?

Combs: Yeah, all that. This was one of the worst times of my life; straight up, one of the worst times of my life. I've had a couple of real bad times. There was just so much going on personally and also with the trial situation. It was just a lot. I know it was not something special. I know there are millions of people out there that can relate ... and to those people, just keep your faith in God. You can get through it.

But those things run through your mind. The trial was a big deal, especially in New York, and my kids knew the play-by-play. My kids were going to school and would call and be like, "Good luck today in court." And they would know what happened that day. They'd be like, "I heard someone got on the stand and lied, Daddy," and "What happens now?" "Did they have a verdict?" They became educated with the judicial system, being that it was in the papers every day, on MTV, on BET. You couldn't escape from it. So I had to deal with that with them and that, personally, was really heartrending.

Sway: One of the reasons it must have been frustrating, I would imagine, is that you had a gag order [placed on you], so you couldn't really respond to what was written in the press. A lot of the public didn't get a chance to hear your version of what happened that night, even when you testified. I happened to be in the courtroom [when you testified], but now that you can talk about things openly, walk us through what happened that night.

Combs: I still really can't give you an exact play-by-play, because of the different lawsuits that are out there, but I can give you an overview of it. Basically me and Jennifer, we were supposed to go to St. Bart's. We were supposed to go on vacation [there] the next day. We were gonna bring in New Year's there together, being that we were gettin' real busy. Then I get this bright idea [laughs] like, "Come on, baby, let's go dancin', let's go listen to some music, stay up all night, then we gonna go get on the plane the next day." The plane is on the runway.

Going to the club, we're having a good time. We leave the club, there's a commotion; next thing you hear, you hear some gunfire. We get pushed out of there. Next thing, they're pulling our car over. Next thing, we're in handcuffs. Next thing you know, [I'm saying] "What are y'all doing? Y'all know, you know I didn't have a gun, you know Jen didn't have a gun." You know, "What are we doing here? C'mon, can we talk about this?"

There was really no talking about it. There were news cameras outside, and it was on and poppin' from there. It was like [I was] guilty before [proven] innocent.




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