Sunday, 11 August 2013
Usher's Ex-Wife Loses Custody Battle For Sons After Pool Accident
Usher and his ex-wife appeared make peace in court on Friday after a bitter custody war over their two sons. The singer gave tearful Tameka Foster Raymond a consoling hug moments after she lost her bid to get temporary primary custody of Usher V, five, and Naviyd, four, in a hearing in Atlanta. She sought legal action after the pair's older child got caught in a pool drain while in the care of the Grammy winner's aunt on Monday. She alleged the children were in a 'dangerous environment'.
But the judge described the incident as an 'awful accident' and dismissed the case.
The courtroom showdown between the former couple took a surprising turn, with Usher extending the proverbial olive branch to a distraught Raymond by embracing her. The 34-year-old RnB star tentatively approached, before placing his hand on her shoulder.
The story continues after the photos
Raymond - whose 11-year-old son Kile, from a previous relationship, tragically died in a jetski accident last year - pulled her in for an embrace of apparent sympathy after what has been a very stressful week for the two parents.
Before dismissing the case, Fulton County Superior Court Judge John Goger said he wasn't certain anyone really could have done anything to prevent the accident. But he also advised Usher to keep his ex-wife well advised of his whereabouts and who's taking care of the children.
The pair's boy fell to the bottom of the pool and became stuck in the drain on Monday, according to an Atlanta police report. A housekeeper tried unsuccessfully to free him. A contractor doing work at the home pulled the boy from the pool and performed CPR. The boy was 'conscious, alert and breathing' when emergency medical workers arrived, police said. He was still in the hospital Friday.
'They're just assessing him,' Raymond told reporters outside the courthouse after the hearing. 'There is a lot we don't know. I mean you can't - it's only been a few days so we're very thankful that he's obviously alive but we still have to observe him and make sure that everything is OK.'
The filing had said the boy 'suffered a near-death accident' while left unsupervised at Usher's home when the singer was out of town. Contrary to what Raymond claimed, Usher's aunt was poolside watching the children when the older child became stuck in the drain, and Usher was at a music studio one highway exit away, said the singer's lawyer John Mayoue.
Raymond used the episode to revisit the custody battle and gain publicity, Mayoue said.
Raymond, who is a hair and wardrobe stylist, was emotional during her testimony, at one point sobbing so hard that she had to step down from the witness stand to regain her composure.
'He doesn't confer with me regarding anything,' Raymond said, explaining that she never knows where Usher is, where the children are and who's taking care of them.
Usher travels frequently and uses caregivers, including his aunt, who aren't trained and qualified to care for young children, Raymond said.
'I don't know where my children are, and I don't know who they are with,' said Raymond as she took the stand. 'The caregivers he introduced to me, I didn't know they had quit,' she said. 'Usher doesn't answer the phone, he doesn't answer emails.'
Usher refuted the claims when he took the stand, claiming he sends her a weekly email detailing the children's plans for the upcoming week.
'Every Sunday I send her a weekly activities, any doctor's visits... summer camp, any information that's pertinent to their activities,' he said. 'She can contact the children at any moment and any of the people who will be with them at this time.'
Raymond's lawyer Angela Kinley also attacked Usher for not calling his ex-wife to alert her of the accident until about 45 minutes after it happened. Usher testified that he wanted to try to get information about how serious it was and his son's injuries before calling her.
'I have always loved and appreciated my sons but tragedies and close calls make this even more evident,' continued the stylist. Referring to her late son, she added: 'URV had an angel named Kile Ishmael and our Lord and true savior to look after him. Words cannot express the relief and how thankful to God I truly am. Thank you Jehovah God, Jesus and Kile... Also, the AV worker that saved my son is my hero! Period.'
She also wrote earlier in the day: 'I'm very happy this morning, my son is resting well... we had a SpongeBob marathon ALLL night, he wouldn't go to sleep! Thank you for the prayers.'
Usher and Raymond married in 2007 and divorced two years later. They went through a lengthy child custody battle, and Usher last year was awarded primary custody of the boys.