John Legend recently sat with political analyst and former White House official David Axelrod for the 500th episode of The Axe Files. The 43-year-old musician, who holds the distinction of being the first Black male to achieve EGOT status, told Axelrod how political differences with Kanye West have strained the duo’s relationship.
“Well, you know, we aren’t friends as much as we used to be, because I honestly think because we publicly disagreed on his running for office, his supporting Trump, I think it became too much for us to sustain our friendship, honestly,” Legend shared. “He was upset that I didn’t support his run for presidency of the United States of America for understandable reasons… he was not happy about that. And we really haven’t been close since then.”
Legend’s revelation is quite the change in tune from what he told the UK’s Sunday Times two years ago. He and West have been longtime friends and collaborators since 2001, with the former signing on as one of the original artists on the latter’s G.O.O.D. Music label in 2004.
But Legend’s last album, Bigger Love, was the first one released since the end of his contract with G.O.O.D. Music. “I just think we’re doing our own thing… We’ve both got growing families and I no longer have a formal business relationship with him as an artist, so I think it’s just part of the natural cycle of life,” Legend stated in his May 2020 interview with The Times. He also told the publication that politics was “never” part of his relationship with Ye and that he didn’t believe he and West were “less friends because of the Trump thing.”
Aside from politics, Legend addressed his feelings about the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the effects of his mother’s years-long absence from the family because of her addictions.
“You know, I think part of the way I coped with it, honestly, was through music. It was through finding other outlets and finding ways to connect with people through music,” Legend said. “And part of it was I just wanted to stay busy so that I didn’t have to go home and, you know, kind of think about the fact that we didn’t have our mom there.” Listen to this complete episode of The Axe Files with David Axelrod by clicking here.