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Ne-Yo on Writing 'Don't Love Me' Amid Potential Divorce From Wife: 'It Was Me Trying to Cop Out' (Exclusive)

ETOnline logo ETOnline 6/25/2022 Miguel A. Melendez‍

Ne-Yo's inching closer to dropping his first full-length album in nearly five years, and while those tracks will give fans all the feels, the 42-year-old singer can't help but reflect on one particular track he wrote years ago that reminds him of a time when he almost gave up on his marriage.

The "Miss Independent" Singer opened up about the significance behind the new single, "Don't Love Me," off his upcoming album Self Explanatory (drops July 15), telling ET's Deny Directo exactly how the track was received by his wife, Crystal, after hearing it. Yes, the public knows it's an open letter to his wife, but Ne-Yo says it took them back to a time when their marriage was on the rocks.

"When she first heard the song it reminded her her of the time we were in when I wrote the song," Ne-Yo explained. "That was kind of a teary moment because the song was written in the throes of us potentially getting a divorce."

Back in April, the three-time GRAMMY winner and Crystal got married for the second time in a lavish Las Vegas wedding ceremony. But it took some time before things finally came up roses for the couple, who share three children. Ne-Yo revealed back in February 2020 that he and Crystal decided to divorce. They reconciled a month later, and he proposed to Crystal again on New Year's Eve 2020.

After all they've been through and a lot of self-reflection, Ne-Yo says he can now be honest about where he stood in the marriage during that tumultuous period.

"I can say this now. I didn't realize it in the moment but I can say this now, that the open letter was me trying to cop out," said Ne-Yo, whose other single, "You Got the Body," is also out now. "It was me trying to tell her that I couldn't be who she deserves. Once I realized what I wanted and who I needed to be for her, [boom] we're in a great place."

Ne-Yo, who will be among the slew of star presenters at Sunday's BET Awards, can now also sincerely offer some sincere advice to couples who are struggling the way he and Crystal once were.

"You know what, I'd say above anything don't lie to yourself," the singer says. "Say what is you want to, know what it is you want to do. If you are in a relationship and you don't want to be in a relationship you're never going to give your all to that relationship. You're never going to be for that person who they need you to be, so don't lie to yourself. Be honest with yourself. If you know that that's not what you want to do, then by all means cut the ties. It's only going to get more and more toxic until you guys eventually start resenting each other and then there's almost no going back from that place."

"And I thank God that we didn’t get to that place," he continued, "because I know it's very hard to come back from there. And, above that, just listen to each other."

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