John Legend Clarifies His Comments About Strained Relationship with Kanye West

·3 min read
john legend and kanye west
john legend and kanye west

Bruce Glikas/WireImage; Brad Barket/Getty John Legend (L), Kanye West

John Legend is addressing where he stands with Kanye West.

In an interview with The New Yorker published Sunday, the "All of Me" singer, 43, referenced a recent interview in which he said his friendship with West, 45, ended because of their political differences.

"Yeah, what it got described as was, we stopped being friends because he supported [Donald] Trump, which was a mischaracterization of what I said," Legend explained. "That was kind of the Rupert Murdoch version of the story — it was all over the New York Post and Fox News."

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He went on to clarify, "What I was saying was that he was very upset with me that I didn't support him running for President, and that was the real impetus for us having a strain in our friendship."

"I don't know what will happen in the future, but he was very upset with me that I didn't support him and I supported Joe Biden. It's up to him whether he can get past that."

Legend said that although he doesn't think political views "should be everything in your relationship," he does "believe that certain things you believe in are indicators of your character, and obviously that will affect your friendships."


Matthew Simmons/WireImage John Legend and Kanye West

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"I don't want to live a life that's so consumed by politics that it's the sole determinant of who can be my friend and who can't. But values matter and character matters and moral compass matters," said the EGOT winner.

During the conversation, Legend also opened up about West posting screenshots of their text conversation on Twitter in 2018, when Legend spoke to West about supporting Trump.

"Everyone saw how I talked to him about it. I talked to him with love and with empathy, and tried to help him see another way of looking at things. And obviously he went the way he went with it," Legend said.

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"The most frustrating thing about [West's 2020] run for the Presidency for me was how much it was an operation run by the Trump campaign. I don't know how aware he was of the fact that there was so much Trump personnel throughout his campaign, raising money for him, getting petitions signed for him, getting him on the ballot," said Legend.

"I saw their work on his behalf as a clear scam and an operation to try to siphon Black votes away from Biden, so there was no way I was going to support it. Kanye was upset with that, and we haven't been friends since, really."

A representative for West did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Last month, Legend spoke about his relationship with the 24-time Grammy winner, telling The Axe Files podcast with CNN's David Axelrod, "We aren't friends as much as we used to be."

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"I honestly think because we publicly disagreed on his running for office, his supporting Trump. I think it became too much for us to sustain our friendship," Legend said at the time.

Legend and West used to be close, and even worked on several songs over the years, with West producing for Legend as well as them both doing fully featured collaborations including 2005's "Number One" and 2008's "It's Over."