While John Legend and Chrissy Teigen have shared much of their love story in songs and tweets, respectively, the singer said in a recent interview that he was not always the best partner. In an interview on the latest episode of the On Purpose With Jay Shetty podcast, Legend went back to a time in his mid 20s when he was the kind of a bad boyfriend.
“I think I was more selfish then,” Legend, 43, said of the first blush of romance with Teigen, 36, who he married in 2013 after first meeting in 2006 on the set of the video for his “Stereo” single. “I wasn’t a great partner at the beginning of our relationship, even though I was very into her and very excited to be with her. I was still selfish. I was in my mid 20s, still not ready to fully be the committed partner that I am now.”
That obviously changed in the ensuing years, with Legend famously dedicating the Billboard Hot 100-topping 2013 true love anthem “All of Me” to his wife, with whom he shares two children, with a fourth on the way after suffering a pregnancy loss with baby Jack in September 2020. And Legend is still writing about the couple’s endless love on tracks such as this year’s “I Don’t Love You Like I Used To,” which he said was about the evolution of a relationship.
“When we first met, we were like, very attracted to each other, our chemistry was great, but that level of attraction is more like infatuation at the beginning of a relationship,” he said. “And love when it is able to stand the test of time, it has to be deeper and more real than that. We’ve been through enough together where it’s really fortified us and made us stronger.” All those tests have helped the couple grow and made them stronger, Legend said, as they’ve discovered all the things they didn’t know about each other. “And going through all of that, to be able to write and sing a song called ‘I Don’t Love You Like I Used To.’ It’s different now but it’s better.”
Legend said he can write that song now because once you “really figure out that you love someone” and you really want to make it work with that person you have to decide, “‘I’m going to do the things that I need to do to be a good partner in this relationship,'” he told Shetty. “And I’ve just grown as a person because of that too. When you stop being so selfish when you think about not only the joy you get from a situation and the pleasure you get from it, but you also think about your responsibly and your commitment in that situation. I think you just grow, and you mature. I think part of it is it’s just a matter of time. You need time to become that person you want to be.”
And while Teigen is not that interested in getting “in the weeds” of Legend’s music-making, he said she always has thoughts on his live show, his setlist and how he should look, and he’s always happy when she’s proud of his accomplishments. Legend also acknowledged, however, that there are plenty of tough times, including the loss of Jack, which Teigen shared with the world in a cathartic series of posts.
“Like I said with Chrissy, I’ve seen so much growth through our grief and through our tragedy,” he said. “It’s always going to be a part of who we are and I’m fine with that. It’s part of who we are. We carry it with us and it’s OK.” He said you have to commit to the hard work necessary to get through the pain, something the couple are both ready to do.
“Like doing the work that we needed to do to get through it. And I think having, already had two kids together was definitely helpful because they just bring so much joy into our lives and laughter and fun and they’re great focus for our energy,” he said of daughter Luna, 6 and son Miles, 4. “And even when you’re going through deep grief on losing a pregnancy you still have these two beautiful babies that you love, and I think that was certainly helpful.”
Listen to Legend’s interview in the podcast below.