John Legend, loving husband of our internet mom Chrissy Teigen, is getting honest about his past. And as much as it pains us to hear the good name of 2019’s Sexiest Man Alive besmirched, it takes a big person to face their mistakes, own up to what they did wrong, and prove with their actions that they’re committed to doing better. It seems that’s what crooner Legend has been determined to do in the 14-odd years since he met wife Teigen, before which he admits he was a serial cheater and frequently unfaithful to the women he was dating. And while many are quick to claim that meeting Teigen changed him on the spot, there are some issues with that line of thinking — and anyway, that’s not exactly the reason that Legend gave for giving up his cheating past.
Legend got into detail about his dating history on Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, addressing it head-on when host Shepard admitted he’d often thought that Legend had “good cheating songs.” Legend is painfully honest about everything: what purpose cheating served for him, how he kept it up, and what it was that finally made him stop.
“I did have a history with it, especially in my 20s,” Legend admitted. “I was like the ‘two years younger kid than everybody’ in high school and college, and so I just didn’t get a lot of girls when I was younger. When I started to get that attention, I loved it. I just ate it up.”
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For Father's Day, my queen made me feel like a king. She knows how I love to get dressed up and go out on a date. We haven't been able to do it for months so she planned a special dinner for us in our backyard. I love you, @chrissyteigen. I'm so grateful to be the father of your children. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
When John Legend started becoming John Legend, that attention only grew — and for many years, Legend felt no more inclined to turn away that attention.
“I escaped ‘technically cheating’ by keeping my relationship ill-defined. But it was really cheating,” he told Shepard. “I definitely was dishonest and selfish and just enjoyed this new attention I was getting. It was happening before I was famous but when I was kind of on my way.”
Ultimately, it was the stress of the constant lying and looking over his shoulder that got to him. He was tired, and didn’t want to keep working so hard.
“It’s so much easier. Your whole life is lighter,” he describes of his post-cheating life. “When you’re able to be honest with a person and you aren’t hiding texts …your mind is freer.”
“You just realize that you’re happier being honest,” he added. “You’re happier being faithful and being in love with one person…At a certain point, I just decided that person was Chrissy. I decided I wasn’t gonna mess with somebody else anymore.”
As I mentioned earlier, there’s a reason that the storyline of Legend changing his ways upon meeting Teigen is dangerous. This kind of thinking once again places blame on women for men’s actions, and implies that the women men do cheat on are somehow inferior, or have an inferior relationship with that individual.
Legend owns his cheating as his own behavior, and part of his own past. He doesn’t say that Teigen made him a changed man, or imply that he cheated because his earlier relationships were lacking. While I’m not crazy sympathetic about how tiring it must have been to hide text messages, I do applaud Legend for recognizing that he was chasing attention, nothing more.
With the fan base he currently has, hopefully Legend will now have enough attention to last him a lifetime.
Click here to see all the sweetest photos of Chrissy, John, and kids Luna and Miles.