Alicia Keys is a talented musician and songwriter, but you may not know much about her personal life. She shares two children with her DJ/producer husband, Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean, and is stepmom to his three other children from previous relationships.
The two are co-parents to Kasseem Jr., 11, with Swizz Beatz’s ex-wife, Mashonda Tifrere, often having family dinners and family vacations together. But years ago, the three didn’t always see eye to eye. Tifrere and Dean had a messy divorce, and there was a lot of drama behind the scenes with Keys being called a homewrecker.
During the window that they were separating and moving towards divorce, Swizz Beatz started dating Alicia Keys. That was sometime around 2008, and the new couple welcomed their first child and got married in 2010 – the same year his divorce was finalized.
Tifrere was still hurting from the demise of her relationship and would publicly lash out about her ex and Keys, but she realized she didn’t want to feel that way forever. It was then that she started to move towards healing.
She sought counseling to work on herself and worked with her ex and Keys towards building a better relationship. Tifrere’s 2018 book, Blend: The Secret to Co-Parenting and Creating a Balanced Family details her journey to finding peace and also serves as a guide for other families wanting to improve their co-parenting relationships.
It took this family years to do it, but after some healing, forgiving, and maturing, they love and respect each other. As you watch this video with host Michael Strahan, you’ll hear the three of them speak about how much it mattered for Kasseem to feel loved. That was their catalyst for change.
Last year when Tifrere launched her book, she opened up to O Magazine about the challenges and growing pains – which were welcome – she experienced on the path to this wonderful new bond:
“Alicia is the woman that’s helping me raise my son. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t want to talk to her or get to know her. I mean, she’s putting him to bed at night. Once we got to the point when we were able to communicate with love and peace, everything was easy and everything just flowed. And it still flows.”
One of the most important things was to be an example for her son every day, rather than just talking about their family arrangement:
“We had to really put that in his mind to the point where he would believe it, and we also believe that showing is much stronger than telling. We didn’t talk to him about it, but we also showed him. We did that by spending time together, having dinners, going to the park together, and spending holidays together. It was important for him to see it to believe it. That was really the segue from us having the initial talk to us demonstrating what we were doing as a blended family.”
In this video, the three of them speak on how communication is central to the success of their co-parenting partnership. Tifrere and Keys note that as women, they have an inherent gift in that art. Since they’ve invested time and effort in creating this modern family structure, all of the children benefit.
Hear more about how this family got it together – with help – and their plans for the future. Tifrere also discusses her book that includes a foreword from Alicia Keys and input from therapists.
Are you an Alicia Keys fan? Can you relate to having a blended family? What do you think of how these parents handled their situation?