“After much reflection, I’d like to express my deepest apologies to anyone that I may have hurt with my comments on parenting and gender identity,” Ne-Yo (real name Shaffer Chimere Smith), 43, wrote in a statement via X on Sunday, August 6. “I’ve always been an advocate for love and inclusivity in the LGBTQ+ community, so I understand how my comments could’ve been interpreted as insensitive and offensive.”
He continued: “Gender identity is nuanced and I can honestly admit that I plan to better educate myself on the topic, so I can approach future conversations with more empathy. At the end of the day, I lead with love and support everyone’s freedom of expression and pursuit of happiness.”
One day prior, the singer raised eyebrows when he discussed whether parents should interfere with their kids exploring their gender identity, comparing the situation to a child wanting candy.
“It’s like, OK, if your little boy comes to you and says, ‘Daddy, I want to be a girl,’ and you just let him rock with that, you just let … he’s 5. If you let this 5-year-old boy decide to eat candy all day, he’s gonna do that,” he told VladTV on Saturday, August 5. “When did it become a good idea to let a 5-year-old, let a 6-year-old, let a 12-year-old make a life-changing decision for themselves? When did that happen? Like, I don’t understand that.”
Earlier in the interview, Ne-Yo noted that he came “from an era where a man was a man and a woman was a woman,” adding, “You could identify as a goldfish if you feel like, I don’t care. That ain’t my business. It becomes my business when you try to make me play the game with you. I’m not gonna call you a goldfish. But if you wanna be a goldfish, you go be a goldfish.”
In addition to his X (formerly known as Twitter) statement, Ne-Yo shut down claims that he “condemns” parents for allowing their kids to express their gender identity in the comments of a Hollywood Unlocked Instagram post of the story.
“Who am I to condemn anybody? Your life, your kids, your choice,” he wrote on Sunday. “I was asked a question and I answered it. My opinion is mine. I’m not asking anybody to agree with me nor am I telling you what you can and cannot do with your children. I stated my opinion on a matter and that’s that.”
He concluded his Instagram apology by writing, “I love everybody. Don’t agree with some of y’all’s ideals … but love you no less.”
The pair — who share kids Shaffer Chimere Jr., 7, Roman Alexander-Raj, 5, and Isabella Rose, 2 — previously separated in March 2020, though Ne-Yo later withdrew the petition.
“8 years of life and deception. 8 years of unknowingly sharing my life and husband with numerous women who sell their bodies to him unprotected … every last one of them,” Renay, 37, wrote in a since-deleted July 2022 Instagram statement. “To say I’m heartbroken and disgusted is [an] understatement. To ask me to stay and accept it is absolutely insane. The mentality of a narcissist.”
At the time, Ne-Yo tweeted that “for the sake of our children, my family and I will work through our challenges behind closed doors,” adding, “Personal matters are not meant to be addressed and dissected in public forums. I simply ask that you please respect me and my family’s privacy at this time.”