LAST YEAR, KELLY ROWLAND BECAME A WIFE AND MOTHER. THEN THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENED: SHE LOST HER OWN MOM. BUT WITH THE SUPPORT OF HER HUSBAND, FAMILY AND FRIENDS, SHE HAS FOUND THE GRACE TO GO ON
Kelly Rowland is surrounded by love. She breezes into the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills pushing a carriage and looking like the picture of bliss. She peeks in on her little one. Titan Jewell Weatherspoon. before slipping into her seat and discussing the immense changes she has undergone over the past year. There are no entourages, glam squads or hangers-on in tow. There isn’t a team of assistants, handlers or managers policing her every word. On this sunny day in Los Angeles, it’s just Rowland, her husband Tim Weatherspoon, and their little bundle of joy.
“I just love looking at him,” she gushes, beaming from ear to ear. “This is such an important time for a baby and I just don’t want to miss anything.”
Weatherspoon chimes in, ably expanding on just how the couple feel about their son. “It’s like a different kind of love,” he says. “Yeah, I love my sneakers, I love my car. but that’s not a good comparison. I think it’s beyond what you can explain.”
In 2014, Rowland and Weatherspoon found themselves coping with the full spectrum of human emotions. They jumped the broom in May and welcomed Titan in November. Then, in December, Rowland’s mother, Doris Rowland Garrison, died unexpectedly of cardiac arrest at age 66. While many would be reeling from having to deal with such life-altering events in the span of seven months, Rowland remains positive. Why? Love is on her side.
“When you lose a parent, you’re always getting over it, because you’ve spent so long with somebody and then they’re no longer there,” she explains, her voice cracking with emotion. “I woke up the other morning and I was on my way to the gym. I picked up my phone to call her and I was like, Oh, my God, I can’t talk to my mom.”
Instead Rowland reached out to her huge extended family for support. “I called my mom’s best friend, Aunt Viv. The next day I called my mom’s other best friend. Auntie Bev. Their spirits feel like her, so it helps me get through.
“I have such a wonderful family,” Rowland continues. “Mama T [Tina Knowles], Bey [Beyoncé], Angie [Beyoncé and Solange’s cousin] and Solange. I’m so grateful to be surrounded with so much love. Nobody wants me to miss out on any of that.”
Though she’s still struggling with the loss of her mother. Rowland’s joy in her current situation is palpable. Whenever she talks about the changes her son has gone through in his first few months of life, or her Saturday trips to the movies with her husband, Rowland’s flawless brown face is transformed by an infectious smile.
“My road to my happiness hasn’t been an easy one. It hasn’t been peachy all the time, but I am so. so happy,” she says, grinning again.
Rowland’s good mood has a lot to do with her husband. According to the singer, Weatherspoon-who’s also her manager-had a thing for her for years before they finally decided to date.
“I was his celebrity girl crush,” the 34-year-old songstress remembers, giggling. Though the details of the story differ slightly depending on whom you ask, Rowland and Weatherspoon agree that their connection was undeniable from the beginning.
“I’ve known Michelle [Williams] since she was 7,” Weatherspoon says, explaining that he met Rowland through her Destiny’s Child bandmate nearly 15 years ago. Completely enamored with his future wife, Weatherspoon. now 41, asked Williams for the hookup. “I didn’t think anything of Tim having a crush on Kelly because [back then] my friends had their favorites. Some of my male friends were crushing on Bey, some were crushing on Kelly,” Williams says of her childhood friend. Although Weatherspoon would frequently drop hints about his affection for Rowland, Williams didn’t expect their friendship to blossom into anything more. “It took some years for me to put two and two together, but they fell in love, and it was real love,” she says. “Tim has Kelly’s back no matter what.”
But Rowland and Weatherspoon’s intense bond was almost too overwhelming for the star.
“He scared me.” she says plainly. “I was in this crazy relationship and I called him crying. I was like, Tm not going to get into a relationship for at least a year. Then after that, I’ll wait until God sends me a man.’ “
Rowland wasn’t prepared for what came next, however. “He said. ‘What if you took that time and at the end of that year God sends you a dude, and that dude is me?’ “
Her first response? Run.
“She hung up on me.” Weatherspoon says. “She didn’t talk to me for a whole month.”
Soon, though. Rowland began to long reconsider their severed connection, and when she got over her fear, she realized she was finally ready for her soul mate. “I missed him every day,” she recounts, gazing at her husband with unabashed tenderness.
Six years later, the couple did the unimaginable: They pulled off an ultraprivate wedding. “We didn’t even tell the publicist,” Weatherspoon says. When the media realized Rowland’s famous friends had jetted down to Costa Rica for the ceremony, Rowland and Weatherspoon knew the jig was up. “Once the news got out that certain people were there at the same time, they were like, ‘You need to respond.’ “
While many of her industry peers readily exchange vows in lavish productions full of pomp, pageantry and paparazzi, Rowland and Weatherspoon wanted to celebrate their nuptials on their own terms. The couple, along with all their guests, wore white as the pair pledged to love, honor and cherish each other forever.
“It was so intimate. It was the most perfect thing because we didn’t have a care in the world,” Rowland says, another smile playing on her lips.
The two are taking the same discreet approach to their relationship. Despite living in a digital age when celebrities often share every single detail of their personal lives on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, the Weatherspoons want to keep their lives out of the harsh glare of publicity.
“We like it private,” Rowland says, and her husband is quick to echo her sentiments. “I don’t like the spotlight,” Weatherspoon admits. “I work in this business, so I get it. You learn to manage that, and don’t take it personally,” he says of the sometimes vicious comments he and Rowland receive on social media.
One thing the couple does take personally is their relationship. While Rowland is completely in awe of being a mother, she plans to put her marriage to Titan’s daddy first.
“The baby doesn’t change who we are as people. We still like to go have dinner. We do the activities that we do every day. I don’t think that should stop,” Weatherspoon says. “We keep things simple in our relationship. I look at her as my friend and I don’t take that for granted. You find those things that bring you together and you do them. Sometimes they’re going to be with Titan, sometimes they’re going to be without him.”
For Rowland, her identity is clear. She’s a wife first, mother second and an artist third. “My priority is my husband first,” she says, laughing. While some may balk at her choice, for Rowland, the reason is quite simple: “That’s how the baby got there.”
Of course, balancing marriage, motherhood and her career will not be easy, but Rowland looks to the examples of many of her friends who seem to be successfully juggling all three. “They make it took so glamorous and easy, and I’m looking at them trying to figure out how in the hell are you doing this and balancing it all so well and looking so great?” she says with a laugh. “I just follow them and I’m super-appreciative.”
And it seems to be working. The multiplatinum artist began writing and recording some new music during her pregnancy, and is back in the studio now that Titan is here.
“It’s been a challenge,” Rowland admits. “Ultimately, it’s about trying to understand time management, because I definitely want to be a great wife, I want to be a great mommy and I want to make great music.”
Thankfully, Rowland’s dramatic life has served as the perfect muse for her upcoming album, which will feature a mixture of up-tempo songs and heartfelt ballads. “You have no choice but to tap into emotions when you’re in the studio. The same way we’re experiencing those emotions, whether it’s having a child or losing a parent or whatever it might be, everybody is experiencing the same pain or happiness that you’re experiencing as well.” she explains. “As much as it been a roller-coaster ride these past couple of months, it’s been so great, honestly, for what I’m bringing forth in the studio.”
Rowland gave fans a glimpse inside her inspired new sound just days after her son was born with the release of “Mommy’s Little Baby,” a sweet lullaby for Titan. On the melodic track. Rowland opens up to her son, telling him, “I’ve waited all my life to see ya. I’ve been dreaming about you.” The tune perfectly sums up Rowland’s overwhelming love for and devotion to her son, a lesson she learned from her mother.
“One of the things I know about my mom is she just loved me and my brother so much. Her love was so big. She loved so hard, and I always want to be able to pass that to my son,” Rowland says.
Although her mother’s passing was unanticipated, one thing that gives Rowland some solace is that her mom was completely head over heels for her grandson. “All she wanted to do was hold him,” Rowland says fondly. “I was doing something with the baby in the house after we came home from the hospital and she was there with me and she just looked at me and she said, ‘I’m so proud of you.’ I listen to that every day in my head. It makes me very happy.
“That’s been the blessing,” she says, still high on her mother’s love. “My husband’s family is so wonderful. I can’t complain about anything because God still has me surrounded with the most beautiful light of love.”
“MY ROAD TO MY HAPPINESS HASN’T BEEN AN EASY ONE. IT HASN’T BEEN PEACHY ALL THE TIME, BUT I AM SO, SO HAPPY.”
“MY MOM JUST LOVED ME AND MY BROTHER SO MUCH. HER LOVE WAS SO BIG. SHE LOVED SO HARD. I WANT TO PASS THAT TO MY SON.”
Britni Danielle (@BritniDWrites) is a Los Angeles-based writer. She interviewed Erykah Badu, Ledisi and Solange for our May 2014 issue.
Copyright Essence Communications, Inc. Apr 2015
This article was written by Britni Danielle from Essence and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.