NE-YO Opens Up About Renewing His Vows with Wife Crystal After 'the Darker Point' They Went Through

"Marriage requires effort every single day and that's kind of what that is. And if the person is worth it, then the workload ain't that heavy," said NE-YO

Crystal Smith and Ne-Yo attend the 2022 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Crystal Smith and NE-YO. Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty

NE-YO is opening up about overcoming hardship in his marriage and learning to "slow down in the moment."

To mark the release of NE-YO's eighth studio album, Self Explanatory, on Friday, the "So Sick" singer sat down with People Everyday podcast host Janine Rubenstein to discuss his new music, the pandemic and renewing his vows with wife Crystal Smith.

Of the album's inspiration, Ne-Yo, 42, tells the host that a few songs speak to "the darker point" he and his wife went through — and the work that was put in to pull themselves out.

"I can honestly say we're better now than we were before it happened. We've learned to genuinely listen to each other, we've learned to slow down in a moment and really figure out whether or not the emotion that we're trying to jump to is the emotion that should be placed in that situation," he said. "These are things that require effort every single day. It's not easy."

Ne-Yo and Crystal Smith attend Sean "Diddy" Combs celebrates BET Lifetime Achievement after party powered by Meta, Ciroc Premium Vodka and DeLeon Tequila on June 26, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Ne-Yo and Crystal Smith. Kevin Mazur/Getty

He continued, "It's very easy to fall back into bad habits, but with that being said, marriage requires effort every single day and that's kind of what that is. And if the person is worth it, then the workload ain't that heavy."

The couple — who share 12-month-old daughter Isabella Rose, and sons Roman Alexander-Raj, 4, and Shaffer Chimere Jr., 6 — renewed their wedding vows in April in a red-themed Las Vegas soirée after originally tying the knot in 2016. After the ceremony, the couple shared numerous photos and videos from the big day on Instagram.

Parts of NE-YO's vows were captured on video by a guest and shared on Smith's Instagram Story, and featured the star praising not only her "beauty," but her quirks, too.

"Where some might see a smart-ass mouth, what I saw was a mouth that has no problem letting it be known what's on the lady's mind, thus making it easier for a worldly man to understand her," he said of Smith. "Where some would see attitude, I saw confidence. A woman with knowledge of self-worth, absolutely refusing to accept anything less."

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Discussing Self Explanatory — which comes four years after his previous record, Good Man — Ne-Yo said the last four years were an "emotional rollercoaster."

"My relationship with my kids, my relationship with my wife, my relationship with my close friends, these things suffered because I was working so much," he said. "So when the quarantine happened, we were all kind of forced to sit still."

RELATED VIDEO: NE-YO and Wife Crystal Renay Reconcile 4 Months After Announcing Split: 'We're Stronger Now'

He continued, "It allowed me to first and foremost, make the realization that I had been neglecting these relationships and then go ahead and rectify that."

And once he did, he began reevaluating: "I'm looking at the industry. The sound has changed. The look has changed. There's two whole generations coming up behind me and I kind of fell into a, 'Does NE-YO even fit into this situation' type of mind state. And it took me a little second to get out of that. I won't deny that while everybody else was finding a hustle during the quarantine, I was definitely sitting still."

Then, when he realized "music is not something that I do, [it] is something that I am," the music just "poured out."

Self Explanatory is out now.

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