NE-YO Confirms He and Wife Crystal Renay Are Getting a Divorce: 'I Will Always Respect Her'

The couple have been married since 2016 and share two sons together

NE-YO and Crystal Renay have decided to part ways.

On Saturday’s episode of Private Talk With Alexis Texas, the 40-year-old R&B singer — whose real name is Shaffer Chimere Smith — confirmed that he and his wife have split and are in the process of filing for a divorce.

“It’s slowly but surely becoming public knowledge that myself and my wife have decided to go ahead and get a divorce,” NE-YO said on the podcast. “It’s not a sad thing, it’s more of us realizing — long story short, I’m never gonna talk bad about her. I’m not that person. There’s nothing bad to say about her. She’s a fantastic woman. She’s the mother of my children and she’s always gonna be that and I will always respect her.”

Ne-Yo and Crystal Renay
Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Ne-Yo and Crystal Renay

“Long story short, she’s got demons just like everybody else, just like me,” he continued. “We realize that our demons don’t mesh and until both of us get a hold of our personal demons, it’s gonna be just difficult for us to stay married.”

The World of Dance judge concluded, “With that being said, that’s that, that’s the end of that chapter, not the end of the book. Like I said, that’s the mother of my kids and I love her to death. We’re going to be family forever.”

Ne-Yo and Crystal Renay
Ne-Yo and Crystal Renay in 2017. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Ne-Yo and Crystal Renay

NE-YO and Renay, a model, first met when he was putting together his 2015 album Non-Fiction. The Grammy-winner once previously spoke to PEOPLE about their first encounter.

“Our meeting was initially strictly business, and I had planned on shooting a short film with the album,” he explained in 2016. “We met at a restaurant, but she showed up two hours late. She explained later why that was: She was just trying to get some info on me: who I was, if it was really going to be a business meeting or if I was some creep.”

NE-YO continued, “When she sat down, we got to talking, and we just hit it off, more than I think either one of us expected. It was strictly business initially, but after a couple hours of just hanging out, talking, things got a little more personal: We started getting to know each other.”

The pair began dating two weeks later and then officially tied the knot in February 2016 in an oceanside ceremony just outside of Los Angeles.

One month after their wedding, they welcomed their first son, Shaffer Chimere, Jr., who will be turning 4 years old next month. They welcomed their second son, 20-month-old Roman Alexander-Raj, in 2018.

NE-YO has two children from his previous relationship with Monyetta Shaw: son Mason Evan, 8, and daughter Madilyn Grace, 9.

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