Kelly Rowland is sharing her story of forgiveness and empathy involving her family.
The singer co-hosted “TODAY with Hoda & Jenna” with Hoda Kotb on March 15 and spoke on the difficult path to reconciliation with her father.
— TODAY with Hoda & Jenna (@HodaAndJenna) March 15, 2022
“My understanding of where my dad was as a kid was that he was not really ready as a father,” she recalled. “I was angry at him. I was disappointed in him. I had all of those feelings of abandonment. I think, as a kid, you just feel like if they’re not there, they don’t want to be here. So that’s what I felt and that feeling sucked.”
Rowland spent nearly 30 years estranged from her father. She told Vogue Australia in July 2018 the last time she saw him was when she was seven or eight years old.
During her time touring with Destiny’s child, the 41-year-old had her security team bar her father from meeting her.
“I didn’t want to deal with that at the time. And now that I think about it, I’m like, ‘Ugh. That must have felt terrible,’” she said. “Because here he is watching his daughter… and he doesn’t get to be a part of that.”
Her father Christopher Lovett actually appeared on the show to give his side.
“People used to tell me, ‘I saw your daughter,’ and I used to sit there and say, ‘Well, I didn’t,’ and it used to hurt. So when Kelly started performing in certain places, I followed her. And when I did go to a couple of places, I didn’t get a chance to see her because security wouldn’t let me see her. It was sad, really.”
He added, “I wanted to tell Kelly that I love her and that I never gave her up.”
When Rowland welcomed her son Titan into the world in 2014, her attitude shifted towards parental relationships. Her mother had also passed away in the same year.
“I said, ‘I really need to know him. I want to meet him,’” Rowland recalled. “I think I … had these feelings of like, ‘Oh my God, I have no parents.’ And it was like, ‘No, you do, you have one left.’”
It wasn’t until October 2018 that she finally worked up the courage to meet with Lovett at a hotel in Atlanta. The meeting wasn’t the easiest experience for her, and she found herself having to exercise empathy.
“Before I walked in, I had all these thoughts of what I was gonna say. ‘Cause, you know, it was hurt in there, it was disappointment in there, it was curiosity in there. There were so many questions,” she explained.
The story she heard in return was her father’s own complicated relationship with his father.
“He’s telling me about his dynamic with his father, and his father’s father, and it’s non-existent, too,” Rowland said. “So how can one learn how to be something when they weren’t taught? He was doing the best he could with what he had.”
“I wanted her to hear the other side of the story,” Lovett added. “Some of the things that other people said weren’t true. And I couldn’t get a chance to see her… and tell her that I love her.”
“It was four or five years ago when we rekindled our relationship, and it’s never too late,” she said. “Forgiveness is always right there.”
Watch the full interview on “TODAY with Hoda & Jenna”.