Usher Sounds Off About Marriage, His Mom And The Challenge Of Being A Superstar Dad

'The challenge is having it all,' singer tells Vibe.

In the July issue of Vibe, which hits newsstands nationwide next week, Usher expanded on some comments he made during his heated appearance on “TRL” late last month .

Usher’s mom and former manager, Jonnetta Patton, figures heavily in the article: The singer addresses the circumstances under which she ceased to be his manager, scoffing at suggestions that he fired the woman he describes as “the total package” and “my everything.”

“I love my mother — she’s the only one I have,” he said, pausing for a moment before continuing. “I decided to not fire, not get rid of, but to give [my mother] the ultimate compliment — to retire her to be a full-time grandmother. My mother and I decided to change her situation, together. There was a conversation. I didn’t write her a letter or pink-slip her.”

For her part, Patton noted in the article that she’s still a very active executive. “I’m managing Natasha, an artist on Jive Records, a guy group called Kwiet Storm, and a solo artist, Dante,” she said. “I started my own record label — JPat Records. I also manage [my younger son], producer JLack — he’s signed to Usher’s production company.”

Of course, the public family battles surrounding Usher’s marriage to his former stylist Tameka Foster last year — which took many by surprise when he announced his engagement almost offhandedly to MTV News in March , followed by a head-spinning on/off status before finally tying the knot early in August — also came up during the conversation. His mother apparently opposed the marriage.

“I hurt more than anything over these last two years when I felt my mother didn’t really embrace my situation,” he told Vibe. “That really hurt me.”

“My mother is an aggressive person,” he said. “She makes hard decisions, and she caused me to make a hard decision as well.”

In the months since the wedding was first announced, gossip spiraled that Usher is being overly influenced by Foster. The rumors led him to send an open letter to People in which he said he was “happy, excited, completely clear and independent on [his] direction, feelings, decisions, and … NOT BEING LED.”

Usher said he now feels the letter may not have been the best move. “If for some reason, I [wasn't] dealing with a situation properly, it’s not because I’m not applying the knowledge that you assume I have. It’s because I’m just learning. The one thing [my mother] taught me to do is keep my mouth shut. I probably should’ve just never [wrote the open letter]. It was never intended to be retaliatory, I just felt like I needed
to say something. If I could go back, [I'd] just weather the storm.”

As he did on “TRL,” Usher took the opportunity to sound off on skeptics commenting on his marriage.

“Am I so much of a bad guy because I decided to get married? Am I so much of a bad guy [because once I got in the situation], I decided to stand for something, build a foundation, and think about my future?” he asked. “As a man, you would respect me for not turning my back on it. … It can never be bad to have a foundation as a man — a black man — in a time when women are dying for men. Women have started to become lovers of each other as a result of not having enough men. Are you not studying the stories? Wake up! Black love is a good thing.”

He also said he values the realness his wife brings to his life. “[Foster] will tell me. If something doesn’t look right or she feels like it could look better, she’ll say something.

“The swagger I possess now definitely comes from my wife,” he continued. “And my son completes me. He changes my perspective on what life is, and what matters.”

Usher also addressed married life in “Best Thing,” a song he performed with fellow newlywed Jay-Z on his new LP, Here I Stand , which debuted at #1 on the Billboard albums chart earlier this month.

The Vibe article concludes with Usher addressing the challenge of being both a superstar and a new father. “It’s not easy for anyone to create hit after hit,” he said. “It gets harder because I don’t want to be [in the studio]. I want to be in the house. These are the days of my son’s life, these first three years. I want to be there.

“The challenge is having it all.”