Usher and ex-wife Tameka Foster arrived in a Fulton County, Georgia, court on Friday for an emergency custody hearing regarding their two children. When all was said and done, the 34-year-old R&B singer maintained custody, but received a strict warning from the judge.
Awkward silence filled the courtroom as the two parties sat opposite each other waiting for the judge to enter the chambers and for the hearing to begin. The R&B star was dressed in a gray suit with a crisp white shirt buttoned to the top.
The couple was in court to continue their ongoing custody battle over their two children together, Usher Raymond V, 5, and Naviyd Ely Raymond, 4. On Tuesday, Usher Jr. was involved in an accident in which his arm got caught in a pool drainage pipe. He was rescued by a home contractor who successfully performed CPR on the boy.
While Foster was requesting temporary primary custody of her sons, Usher's attorney John Mayoue asked for a dismissal. "The children are not only better off with Mr. Raymond, they are thriving," he began. "The only new thing is the pool accident. We are asking that this emergency motion be dismissed. This is an effort by Ms. Raymond to gain publicity. … This is her sixth attempt to change custody. By my count she's on her 9th lawyer (in the past year)."
After a lengthy opening statement, the judge instructed Usher's counsel to move on to the emergency hearing at hand, rather than focusing on the larger custody discussion.
Usher's lawyer then gave a detailed description of the accident that occurred on Tuesday. He informed the court that the home where the accident happened was a house that Usher had recently starting renting. Some interesting details included the fact that the pool had just been cleaned earlier that morning and that Usher had thrown two parties for children at the house thus far without incident. He went on to call Usher Raymond V's Aunt Rena "a hero" for her quick actions following the accident.
Usher's counsel also pointed out that Foster's emergency motion claimed that Usher was out of town at the time of the accident, when in fact he was back at the house five minutes after it occurred. He added that Usher has canceled 87 concerts since being awarded full custody of his children last August, having performed live just six times in that period.
When Foster took the stand to testify, the line of questioning quickly turned to her thoughts on Usher's Aunt Rena and whether or not Tameka felt comfortable with her caring for their children.
She pointed out the fact that it took almost a full hour from the time of Usher Raymond V's accident for Usher to call her and that he told her that their son only had a cut on his arm and that's why he was on the way to the hospital. When she arrived at the hospital and learned that her son had suffered much more than just a cut, she said she broke down.
Foster noted that she has no knowledge of who the people are that are caring for her children when they're in her ex-husband's care. She described an incident on Father's Day when Usher Raymond V showed his mom a bad cut, and she claims Usher was unresponsive to her inquiries about how he got it. She also claimed that in the past few days, Usher has not been at the hospital with their son as much as she has.
She broke down and cried on the stand when the court played the 911 call from Aunt Rena on Tuesday. "I don't believe [Aunt Rena] has any control of the kids," she said on the stand at one point. Foster teared up again when describing the chaotic situation she envisioned after hearing the 911 call, and the judge eventually asked her to step down after she lost her composure.
Aunt Rena then took the stand and described the events as she remembered them from Tuesday afternoon. She claimed to know CPR, even though she hasn't been certified since initially learning it and didn't perform CPR on Usher Raymond Jr. following the accident. Foster's lawyer grilled her further on her professional qualifications to take care of children.
Then Foster took the stand again, and noted that Usher has not spent a single night at the hospital with his son this week. Then she was cross-examined by Mr. Mayoue, whose line of questioning focused on whether or not she actually had any first-hand account of the events that transpired on Tuesday. Thankfully, Foster kept her composure this time around.
Usher took the stand next, and was intensely cross-examined about why he didn't call Tameka for more than an hour after the incident occurred. He explained that he didn't call because he was dealing with handling the situation and its immediate aftermath and assessment. There was then significant questioning about Usher's knowledge of pool safety and his emergency contingency plans with his hired help and other family caregivers.
The judge then issued his ruling: "I'm not sure that any one person could have done better in this situation than [Aunt Rena]," he said, before dismissing Foster's case.
Though Usher retained custody of his two sons, the judge did give the R&B singer a warning.
"You would be well-advised to keep your former spouse better informed about your whereabouts … understand?" he asked.
Before exiting the courtroom, however, a very sweet moment occurred. Usher gave Tameka a big hug, which was reciprocated.
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