John Legend has revealed how he had to forgive his mother—after RadarOnline.com exclusively exposed her crack and prostitution arrests.
The "All of Me" singer, who has been named PEOPLE magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" for 2019, told the publication how he and mom Phyllis Stephens have gotten closer since he became a dad with wife Chrissy Teigen, 33.
"My mom spends a lot of time with the kids," Legend, 40, said about Stephens and his daughter Luna, 3, and son Miles, 18 months, "and she loves coming to visit me at The Voice too. We're really close now partially because of the kids."
He added, "But you have to do some forgiving too, when you're older. We're in a really good place now."
Legend, who now advocates for prison reform, was referring to Stephens' jailbird past that Radar reported in 2016.
Readers learned that Legend suffered through a tumultuous childhood as his mother was in and out of jail for charges stemming from her drug addiction.
Stephens was arrested at least four times throughout her son’s childhood for charges ranging from theft to drug abuse and soliciting, legal docs obtained by Radar showed.
She was first arrested and placed in jail for theft on December 23, 1997. The Springfield County, Ohio, arrest report stated that she stole a pack of cigarettes worth $1.97 from a store.
“Upon arrival, witness #1 stated he heard the theft alarm sound off and saw def running out the front doors,” the report obtained by Radar read. “Wit #1 stated def was the only person at the doors. Wit #1 stated he chased def outside and saw her throw the above listed cigarettes in the bushes out front.”
It continued, “Wit #2 stated he is an off duty Cedarville OH police officer who saw the incident and assisted wit #1,” the report continued. “Def told officers upon arrival, ‘I stole the cigarettes and I’m sorry.’ Def was read her Miranda Rights…def was arrested by officers for theft and placed into Clark County jail.”
Legend's mother was arraigned three days later on December 26, 1997 — putting a damper on Christmas for then 19-year-old Legend.
Just weeks later, Stephens was arrested and charged with soliciting a plain-clothes officer for sex.
The report obtained by Radar stated that Stephens approached an officer on assignment for street prostitution on the corner he was working. She got in his car and the officer asked her “what def had in mind.”
“Def put her right hand between her legs and moved it back and forth,” the report read. “Off. asked ‘what’s that?’ and def. said ‘blowjob.'”
“Off. asked how much that would cost and def said ’20 dollars.’ Def. then said, ‘if you want both, it’s 30 dollars.’ Off asked, ‘what’s both?’ and def said ‘sex.'”
The cop proceeded to drive Stephens, who “got down on the floor” and said, “if I’m going down on you, just act normal.” Then, when she stated she “usually gets paid first” the officer arrested her.
She later spent five days in jail in regards to the case.
Then Stephens was charged with tampering with evidence, receiving stolen property, and drug abuse on September 11, 1998. The arrest report indicated that she and a male were caught with crack cocaine in a stolen car.
The report stated she attempted to hide the drugs from the officers by swallowing them, but eventually spit them out for the cops. The case against her was later dismissed.
Finally, she was arrested for theft again a year later on November 22, 1999 — the year Legend graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.
“Defendant took items by deception from the Family Dollar Store,” the report read, noting that she told the arresting officers that she stole the three items for a friend who was out of work. When asked if she intended to pay for the goods, she “stated she had money, but it was not hers.”
Despite his mother's problems, Legend went on to become an acclaimed songwriter and musician.
But he never forgot Stephen's past, writing an essay for Time in support of prison reform, in which he noted, “Those of us who have seen these diseases up-close understand that what a sick person needs is treatment, not punishment. As a teenager growing up in Ohio, I watched my mother disappear into more than a decade of drugs and despair after my maternal grandmother—a person who filled our whole family with love—passed away.”
Legend continued, “My mother’s addiction didn’t just tear her life apart; it tore me and the rest of our family apart, too. Drug addiction, for anyone who doubts it, is a serious problem, and our society is right to want to tackle it. But we’ve been going about it wrong. My mother didn’t need punishment; she needed help. Criminalizing drug abuse only further shatters people and families that are already in pieces.”
Legend has created his own happy family. The star told PEOPLE as he's hailed as the sexiest male celebrity this year that he and wife model Teigen, "have great chemistry. She makes me laugh all the time. She's a wonderful mother and she's my best friend."
But Teigen is facing her own heartbreak as her father Ron just filed for divorce from her mother Vilailuck on Nov. 5.
Chrissy told Us Weekly in 2018 that Vilailuck lives with her and Legend, while Ron lives in his own house, 10 minutes away.
Vilailuck and the singer's mother Stephens were front and center at his recent star-studded James Bond Casino Royale-themed 40th birthday party.
Stephens wore a striking white headpiece as she proudly posed in photos with Legend at the event.