Kelly Rowland opened up about the difficult relationship she had with her father, Christopher Lovett, in an emotional interview this week.
“My understanding of where my dad was, as a kid, was that he was not really ready as a father,” Rowland said during the interview. “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,” she said. “That feeling sucked.”
“As the years went on, I didn’t want any connection,” the singer said, explaining that she even had her father barred from coming backstage when he saw her perform with Destiny’s Child. Later in the interview, Rowland said that her dad “must have felt terrible” during those moments, which he spoke about.
“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,” he said. “So when Kelly started performing in certain places, I followed her. And when I did go to a couple of places and everything, I didn’t get a chance to see her because security wouldn’t let me see her. It was very, very ― it was sad, really.”
He added that he wanted to clear up misconceptions and mistruths that his daughter believed.
“I wanted to tell Kelly that I love her and that I never gave her up,” Lovett said.
Rowland later connected with her dad after the birth of her first child and the death of mother.
“He was doing the best he could, with what he had,” Rowland said, adding that her dad said he also grew up with a nonexistent father in his life, as did his father’s father.
“As parents, we have to give our parents grace,” the singer said. “It’s never too late. Forgiveness is always right there.”
Rowland joined the likes of fellow celebrities, including singer Kelly Clarkson and swimmer Ryan Lochte, in being open and honest about family estrangement. Estrangement is a painful experience for many and rarely spoken about, because of the feelings it’s associated with.
“The experience of estrangement for people is layered and complicated,” Barbara Morrison, of Saskatoon’s Broadway Counselling & Therapy, told HuffPost Canada in 2019. “People typically are reluctant to discuss family estrangement because there are feelings of embarrassment and shame associated with this experience.”
Studies have suggested that while estrangement may feel especially isolating, it may be nearly as common as divorce.