WASHINGTON • Rap mogul Jay-Z was strikingly candid about his family in an interview with late-night host David Letterman that dropped on Netflix last Friday.
Jay-Z, who admitted last year he had cheated on pop star Beyonce, told Letterman he did not have the emotional tools required for marriage, but is working towards them through therapy.
"Men in general, we don't have emotional cues from when we were young," Jay-Z said. "Our emotional cue is 'Be a man. Don't cry.'"
He said his song Song Cry was "my way of saying I want to cry, I want to be open, I want to have the emotional tools that it takes to keep my family together".
He and Beyonce "did the hard work of going to therapy", he added. "We love each other, so we really put in the work for years."
Because of that, he said: "I like to believe we're in a better place today. I'm proud of the father and the husband that I am today."
He said he was sharing his story in case someone watching who has lost hope in a relationship relates to it and thinks, "Let me stick with this and come through the other side. I see how that looks".
"We didn't see that," he told Letterman. "We just see people give up. The divorce rate is 50 per cent. We never see people (who say) 'Okay, let's work through this. I love you; I love my family.'"
Smile, a song on his 2017 album 4:44, reveals that his mother Gloria Carter is gay.
He told Letterman he had long known that his mother is a lesbian, but they had not spoken about it until he was recording that album.
"For her to sit in front of me and tell me, 'I think I love someone.' I mean, I really cried," he said. "I cried because I was so happy for her, that she was free."
His father, Adnis Reeves, abandoned Carter, Jay-Z and his three siblings when he was 11. Reeves' brother was killed in a low-income housing project and finding the murderer became something of an obsession for him.
A young Jay-Z felt furious with his father. But now, he said, "I have compassion for what he went through, which was anger".