TheRoot.com, By Stephanie Holland, Posted June 1st 2023
The ‘Tracks of My Tears’ singer had some things to get off his chest in a recent interview.
The internet is a wild place. Sometimes you wake up in the morning, see a headline, and think, “I could have lived my entire life without knowing that.” To that end, I did not have “Smokey Robinson reveals he had an affair with Diana Ross in the early Motown days” on my 2023 Bingo card. That is just not something I expected to hear on a random Friday in April. Yet, here we are. While discussing his career in an interview with The Guardian, Smokey spilled the tea on his long-ago affair with The Supremes singer.
“I was married at the time. We were working together and it just happened. But it was beautiful,” he said. “She’s a beautiful lady, and I love her right til today. She’s one of my closest people.”
The famed singer/songwriter was married to his first wife, Claudette Rogers, at the time, and notes that the relationship with Ross lasted “about a year.”
“She was young and trying to get her career together. I was trying to help her,” Robinson added. “I brought her to Motown, in fact. I wasn’t going after her and she wasn’t going after me. It just happened.”
There’s so much going on here. First of all, stop framing this as one of your love songs Smokey. What you’re saying here is you cheated on your wife. Stop trying to class it up. Secondly, you had more power and influence at Motown than a new singer trying to start her career, so don’t make it sound like “it just happened” and you couldn’t help yourself. All you’ve done with this story is taint your reputation and make fans respect you less. In the end, it was the “Upside Down” singer who broke things off.
“After we’d been seeing each other for a while, Diana said to me she couldn’t do that because she knew Claudette, and she knew I still loved my wife,” the “Tears of a Clown” singer said. “And I did. I loved my wife very much.”
Smokey, I understand that you’re trying to promote your sexy new album GASMS, but I really don’t need you out here revealing secrets that other people may not have wanted the public to know. Did you talk to Diana before you started putting her business in the streets? He went on to explain that he now realizes he was in love with two people at the same time, and you can’t control who you fall in love with. OK, but you can control if you cheat on your wife, so don’t try and romanticize that part of the story.
“You asked me what happened when we get older, and we get wisdom in life. I learned that we are capable of loving more than one person at the same time. And it has been made taboo by us. By people,” he said. “It’s not because one person isn’t worthy or they don’t live up to what you expect—it has to do with feelings. If we could control love, nobody would love anybody. Nobody would take that chance. Why would you put your heart out there for somebody to be able to hurt you like that and make you able to have those feelings?”
To spread the word about his GASMS, Smokey Robinson has traded in his legacy of love songs for a sex sells idea, and honestly, it’s a little sad to watch.