Eric Benet and Halle Berry were the talk of the town in the early 2000s when they got married. But their time together was cut short after Benet had an affair and the two split up just two years after they tied the knot.
In the years that followed, Eric has opened up about how the way their relationship ended has affected him and what he’s learned from that experience.
In a 2005 interview with People, just after the finalization of their divorce, Eric talked about what their relationship was like after it was discovered he was being unfaithful to Berry.
“We all know I cheated. It was out there. It’s a betrayal,” he started.
He continued to explain how he enrolled into a rehab program, but learned that his infidelities were not a result of any such issue within himself.
“I wanted to save my marriage and do anything necessary to do that. I went and heard other people’s stories and realized this is really not my struggle.”
Hoping that this would give their relationship a second life, the two tried to reconcile, but it was to no avail.
“We did get back together after that. We tried to rediscover this groove of feeling comfortable and safe and trustworthy in the relationship,” he said. “I was very much in love with my wife. But I personally could only contribute 50 percent. Ultimately what was the end of us was she just couldn’t trust me anymore. You can’t blame her for that.”
Benet continued to explain how being in the “fishbowl” that is a celebrity relationship – meaning nothing is ever private and everything they do somehow makes it to the tabloids – took its toll on their relationship, especially towards the end when the affair rumors began circulating.
He opened up more about the difficulties of a celebrity relationship more recently in an appearance on ALLBLK’s docuseries A Closer Look in 2021.
“I’ve never really been overly impressed with the celebrity of somebody or even being a celebrity,” he admitted. “So, to have a disposition like that and then, regardless of the fact that you’re in a relationship with Halle Berry, for me, its was just, I’m in a relationship with this artistic person, who’s — in a lot of ways — is weird like me, and that’s cool. But no one can prepare for what happens when you’re trying to still figure out how to deal with each other and maneuver through your relationship when you’re living in this fishbowl with this huge spotlight on it.”
He explained how being involved in such a highly publicized relationship strained his own self-identity, saying, “A lot of my own identity was no longer autonomous to me.”
Eventually, Eric found some support through therapy, his family, and his faith to help him get through the “incredible, tremendous strain” that was the end of their relationship.
“I think many will be able to relate to that lost helpless feeling when something devastating happens and reality as you’ve known it has been swept away…and from this point on your life will never be the same. That for me was a staggeringly fearful place to recover from,” he told People. “It felt like every morning I had to do emotional pushups just to face another day. There were times I felt I could not imagine when I’m gonna smile again. But I couldn’t face my daughter and break down in tears.”
Eric’s daughter, India, whose mother died in a car crash when she was just 15 months old and Berry adopted during their marriage, became the light in Eric’s and his reason to move forward.
“I had to take India to school every morning, so I had to have that brave face on,” he said. “No matter how dark things had gotten for me, I’d wake up, look at her and think: What a perfect reason to be happy. That little girl just keeps on saving my life.”
The R&B singer is now married to Canadian businesswoman and ex-wife to the late Prince, Manuela Testolini, and has been for more than ten years. And although he has said he “doesn’t have any regrets” about how his relationship ended, he learned a lot from their time together and wishes Berry “happiness and love” moving forward.