On the evening he filed for divorce, Usher didn't look like a man who had just split from his wife. "He was smiley and supermellow," says a clubgoer who saw him at L.A.'s MyHouse June 12. Perhaps even more surprising? A pal who spoke two days later to his ex, stylist Tameka Foster Raymond, says, "She wasn't crying or emotional. She seemed normal, like she had accepted this part of her life was ending."
The filing was the final blow to a marriage that had been crumbling for months. In February, when Tameka nearly died as she was being sedated for liposuction in Brazil, Usher rushed to her side—but didn't accompany her home. Since then, say sources close to Usher, 30, and Tameka, 38, they have been living separate lives. "He cares about her, but that's because she's the mother of his children," says an Usher source, adding that the pair (who have two sons, Usher Raymond V, 18 months, and Naviyd, 6 months) have lived apart since the fall. (The singer's rep couldn't be reached for comment.)
In truth, the relationship seemed troubled from the start. They infamously canceled their nuptials in July 2007, only to tie the knot a week later, reportedly in his lawyer's office. Even then, says a Tameka pal, the union quickly began heading downhill. "He acted like he was still single, going out and leaving her at home with the kids." And home wasn't always happy, says a source who knows both: "Tameka was controlling and insecure." Adds the Tameka pal: "Their problems aren't new. He just finally made it official."
It's unclear what happens next, but given that Usher owns two homes in the Atlanta area and is worth in the neighborhood of $80 million, a lot is at stake. Sources tell PEOPLE the couple have a prenup, but a lawyer for Usher could not be reached. Tameka's lawyer Randall Kessler says only that his client "has been faithful in their marriage. Her primary concern is the children." Putting their sons first is one thing the exes agree upon. "They don't hate each other—they're just not compatible," says Tameka's friend. "He'd give his life for those boys, and she loved being married to a man who loves his kids like that." So how will she cope now? "Tameka will take it day by day," says her pal, "and just be there for her boys."
- Tiffany McGee/Atlanta,
- Linda Marx/Miami,
- Hitha Prabhakar/New York City,
- Steve Helling/Orlando.