Fresh from his breakup with Chilli, Usher is seen around town with supermodel Naomi Campbell (right). In October, Campbell, 34, throws a private bash for Usher's 26th birthday at New York City's Rainbow Room. But Usher's rep insists they're just friends, while Campbell's rep tells PEOPLE that "Naomi and Usher are having fun hanging out together."
Usher makes his Broadway debut as Billy Flynn in the Tony-winning musical Chicago. "I have always admired Broadway actors for their showmanship, dedication and focus that goes into performing live on stage every night," Usher says in a statement. "Being on Broadway allows you to connect to audiences in a whole new way that's different from music and movies." His two-month stint ends with a case of strep throat in October.
At the NAACP Theatre Awards, Usher, 28, wins a Spirit Award. But it's his acceptance speech that makes headlines as he refers to former stylist-turned-girlfriend Tameka Foster, 36, as his "fiancée." In June, Foster (right), who has three children from previous relationships, announces she's pregnant. "Tameka's given me one of the greatest gifts I'll ever have," Usher tells Essence. "With a child, now I have purpose. I understand love."
After canceling their July 28 Hamptons wedding, Usher and Foster tie the knot in the Atlanta office of Usher's lawyer. His mother, Jonetta Patton, is a no-show. On September 1, they have their dream wedding in Atlanta with 200 guests. Afterward, the couple appears on the cover of Essence, where they discuss the negative press surrounding their relationship. "[Getting married] and having a child is something that everyone should celebrate," Usher says. That November, the newlyweds welcome – a son, Usher Raymond V.
With "Love in This Club" reaching No. 1, Usher releases his new album, Here I Stand, where he chronicles the "journey of getting married." "Every word on this album is meaningful," he tells EW. Of his own marriage, he reflects, "I was reading very hurtful things about the person that I chose to love, and I felt like they were taking stabs at me or my choice." But the song's title track is also personal: "I'm saying, 'No matter where I'm at or what I'm doing, you're the person I'm with, so don't have any doubt about it. I stand here.'"
Usher debuts his namesake 9-month-old son on the cover of Essence. "Now I represent what he is to become," Usher says of baby Usher. "He's gonna admire me, he's gonna look up to me. He's gonna say, 'I wanna be' – or he should say – 'I wanna be like my father. I wanna be a man of valor. I wanna possess what my father has as a man.'" In December, the R&B star and his wife welcome their second son, Naviyd Ely Raymond.
Usher files for divorce from his wife Tameka in Atlanta. "He's done his best to keep Tameka away," a source tells PEOPLE of the couple's separate lives. "Usher has not been staying at home with her much lately." They have two sons together, Usher Raymond V, 18 months, and Naviyd, 6 months.
Taking on a role that Diddy once played for him, Usher mentors and signs young YouTube sensation Justin Bieber – who goes on to release two hit albums. "There was an ultimate star quality about him," Usher tells PEOPLE. "I saw that he wanted it. It was the same fire I had. He was so talented, even more than I was at [that age]."
Usher returns to the top of the albums charts (bumping his protégé Justin Bieber's latest release to No. 2) with Raymond v. Raymond, a post-divorce effort that boasts hit singles, "OMG" and "There Goes My Baby". In August, he releases the follow-up Versus, which peaks at No. 4 on the strength of its lead single, "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love".
The R&B singer and Latin star Shakira sign on as replacement coaches for the fourth season of The Voice, when Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera will take a hiatus to pursue other projects. "We are thrilled to welcome Usher and Shakira to The Voice," Robert Greenblatt, the chairman of NBC Entertainment, says in a statement.
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Frank Micelotta/Getty Images; Frank Micelotta/Getty Images; Monica Morgan/WireImage; Rick Mackler/Globe; Charley Gallay/WireImage; Christie Goodwin/Redferns/Getty