John Legend explains relationship with Kanye West

Grammy and Oscar winner John Legend says he and Kanye West made amends after their public falling out but aren’t as close as they used to be.

That’s because of the fiery artist who legally changed his name to Ye, endorsed former President Donald Trump, and then ran his own White House run in the 2020 election, Legend said on CNN’s The Ax Files With David Axelrod podcast.

“We’re not as many friends as we used to be because I honestly believe because we disagreed publicly that he’s running for office and supporting Trump. I think it got to be too much for us to honestly maintain our friendship,” said Legend, whose real name is John Stephens.

“He was upset that I didn’t support his candidacy for the presidency of the United States – for understandable reasons,” he added. “I wasn’t alone in that. But you know, he wasn’t happy about it. And since then we really haven’t been close.”

Ultimately, West, who appeared on the ballots in a dozen states as an independent after launching a last-minute campaign this summer, trailed President Joe Biden and Trump by tens of millions of votes. But in his admission, Ye announced plans to run again.

The acclaimed EGOT artist, 43, also spoke on the podcast about his formative relationship with West, 45, explaining how they became peers in the music industry in the early years. Ye was a rising hip hop star and producer and Legend played instruments, produced and wrote songs for other artists. The two worked on each other’s early recordings, including Legend’s debut demo album Get Lifted and Yes’s College Dropout, both released in 2004.

Legend, who is expecting another child with wife, TV personality and model Chrissy Teigen, notably performed his hit song “All of Me” at West’s 2014 wedding to reality star Kim Kardashian. Then, in 2018, Legend and Yes went public when West leaked text messages between them highlighting their conflicting political views.

The “Glory” and “Higher” musician appeared to initiate the now-infamous lyric exchange, telling Ye he’s weary of his Trump endorsement and what it means for fans and people of color. Ye posted the screenshots online to make the private conversation public and mark the end of the friendship.

Ye has had a tumultuous year, punctuated by abrupt departures from performing (Coachella and the Grammy Awards), and has faded from public view amid heightened concerns about his mental health. In March, Ye was suspended from Instagram for making racist remarks about The Daily Show host Trevor Noah during his own divorce proceedings with Kardashian and her relationship with Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson. (Legend and Teigen are still close with Kardashian.)

Axelrod also asked Legend what people don’t understand about Ye, who has increasingly become a mystery.

“Well I think people get a lot from him. I think he’s been very open about himself and his struggles with mental health. And he’s very real, honestly,” Legend explained. “So I don’t think there’s a lot about him that people don’t understand. Like he’s been pretty open about his opinions, his struggles, all the things he’s involved with.

“And I think what you see with him is pretty much what you get. I don’t feel like he’s a completely different person in private than he is in public. I think you’re pretty much seeing the real Kanye out in public,” he added.

Legend still had kind words for his friend, saying that it was useful for him to see Ye succeed about a year before his break in the music industry.

“It was almost like an apprenticeship where I was allowed to see everything that was coming my way like a year in advance. And it helped, I think, to prepare myself mentally and to know how to move in this world before I was the center of attention,” he said. John Legend explains relationship with Kanye West

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