Recently Married Usher Says He Went Through a ‘Great Deal of Pain’ After Chilli Turned Down His Proposal

The pair started dating in 2001 and broke up in 2004.

Two people posing at an event, one in a light suit and the other in a dark top and necklace
Steve Granitz via Getty Images
Two people posing at an event, one in a light suit and the other in a dark top and necklace

After tying the knot with Jennifer Goicoechea last week in Las Vegas, Usher revealed that he once proposed to ex-girlfriend Chilli Thomas of TLC but she turned him down.

In a post-Super Bowl Halftime Show interview with People, the singer-songwriter opened up about their romance, which started in 2001. "If I am to be honest, I was her No. 1 fan, and she was my superstar," said Usher, 45. "At the age of eight, I put her poster on my wall and said, ‘Man that girl is so beautiful. One day I’m going to meet her.’"

Chilli, now 53 and seven years his senior, broke up in late 2004 much to the heartbreak of Usher. "I was a young man, and she had very specific rules that didn’t work for me," he said. "We were missing each other. I really did want to have a different type of relationship where she was there with me, and she couldn't be. She didn't believe that I was actually in love with her as much as I was."

At one point, although he didn't say when, he proposed to her. "I wanted to marry her. I proposed and she told me no. I went through a great deal of pain after that, not trusting women or wanting to open up," he revealed. "I hurt her too." Ultimately, he said the experience "broke my heart."

In an interview with People last year, Chilli said that she had a hard time getting over the relationship. She added that there's "no hard feelings" these days, and that they were off-and-on again in years that followed their public split. She also shared that she would like to marry her boyfriend, Boy Meets World actor Matthew Lawrence.

"We were cool with each other, but I was very careful with that," Usher continued. "I really did love that girl, and I was like, I don't want to play with you. Like, 'I can't give you what I gave you. I did everything that I thought you would've wanted me to do, but I guess my good wasn't great enough.'"

He shares her sentiment regarding there being no hard feelings, though. "I'm not hurt over that at all," he said. "We've since become cool with each other, celebrate each other and it's always light when we see each other."

It's been a huge month for Usher. Not only did he drop his acclaimed ninth studio album Coming Home, but he also delivered a star-studded performance at the Super Bowl halftime show. Perhaps most importantly, though, he and Goicoechea, who is SVP of A&R at Epic Records, got married got married in Las Vegas. He recently shared pictures from their drive-thru wedding to celebrate tying the knot.

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