Ne-Yo is one of the judges on the new season of NBC’s World of Dance. He returns alongside Jennifer Lopez and Derek Hough as a pop superstar who scores the contestants and determines which one will advance to the next round.
Given his role as judge, some fans may be curious as to whether Ne-Yo, born Shaffer Chimere Smith, is married and whether he has any children. Learn more about the singer and his family below.
1. He’s Currently Married to Model & TV Personality Crystal Renay
Renay was born Crystal Renay Williams on September 18, 1989. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in modeling, and met Ne-Yo when when she was cast to appear in a music video. They quickly struck up a relationship, and they got tattoos to commemorate their love within a few weeks.
“I initially met Crystal on what initially was supposed to be a music video,” he recalled to Vibe. “I wanted to shoot a little video for the album I was putting out at the time. I was going to cast her, but in the process of us talking and getting to know each other, there was a click, there was a connection.”
“Initially, it was just friendly stuff. Talking on the phone here and there,” Ne-Yo added. “Then I finally realized that I’m really, really liking this girl and I’m kind of thinking she’s liking me. So that’s what led to the first date and that’s when I decided, ‘Okay, if I’m going to do this, I’m not going to come into this like I have gone into every other relationship that I ever been in. And if it’s going to work it’s going to work and if it ain’t, it ain’t.”
Renay told Heightline that they were in a hotel room together when Ne-Yo popped the question. He did not have a ring with him at the time. They were eventually wed on February 20, 2016.
2. He Has 2 Sons, Shaffer Jr. & Roman, With His Wife Crystal
Ne-Yo and Renay have two sons together: Shaffer Smith, Jr. and Roman Alexander-Raj Smith. The singer reflected on fatherhood and how its caused him to change his creative process in an interview with In Touch.
“It’s made me more cautious about the words I use in my music,” he said. “Children turn into little tape recorders, and even though things sound cuter coming from them, you don’t want your four-year-old running around shouting [bad] words. It’s up to parents to make sure their child isn’t a terror.”
Ne-Yo also explained that his marriage to Renay helped him figure out who he was. “I started looking back, back, back, back and realized, ‘Damn almost every long-term relationship I have been in has been on the back of another one.’ Like right off the back of it,” he told Vibe.
“I never gave myself time to be single. I never gave myself time to figure out who the hell I am… I’ve learned to be more present, just in the realm of love,” he added. I’ve learned that loving somebody and liking somebody are two different things.”
3. He Was Previously Engaged to Girlfriend Monyetta Shaw
Prior to marrying Renay, Ne-Yo was in a long-term relationship with girlfriend Monyetta Shaw. They met at a concert in 2010 and got engaged three years later. “He asked me out several times before I said yes and then I fell for him fast,” Shaw recalled. “He had such a good heart, and that’s what attracted me to him.” They eventually called off their wedding in August 2013.
In an interview with BET, the latter revealed that Ne-Yo was still living with her when he announced his relationship with Renay. “It was going into a year, but I think what confused everybody, we were still co-habitating,” she said. “We still lived in the same house even though he was on the road a lot, so we didn’t really feel it. So, I think the world got confused about that.”
Renay, who appeared alongside Shaw, explained that the public’s perception that she was Ne-Yo’s mistress was not accurate. “I think it was the timing. [Shaw] was on a show,” she explained. “Her show had just came out around the time we just got together. So, the confusion was around the timing. So, for me, it was like, it hurt. I have morals, I have standards, and I would never do anything like that. So, it hurt, but at the same time, you fight for love, and you do what you have to do.”
4. Shaw Claims That Ne-Yo Urged Her to ‘Tubes Tied’ After Having His Kids Madilyn & Mason
Ne-Yo has two additional children with Shaw: Madilyn Grace Smith and Mason Evan Smith. In an interview with the New York Post, Shaw revealed that she got her tubes tied after Mason’s birth, and was under the impression that Ne-Yo had gotten a vasectomy so that they would not have any more children.
“Immediately after [Mason’s birth], the doctor performed the sterilization procedure. I had no regrets,” she said. “I was so busy caring for two young children, I just assumed Ne-Yo had followed through and had gotten the vasectomy. I trusted him so much that it never even crossed my mind that he hadn’t gone through with it.”
Shaw went on detail the pain she felt after Ne-Yo left her and started a family with Crystal Renay. “Adding to the pain is knowing that if I find another man to love, I may not be able to start a family with him,” she explained. “I’m too scared to go to a doctor to find out if there’s anything they can do about it. Because I do want to get married someday, and if my future husband does not have kids, I will want to have his children.”
5. He Admits to Making Mistakes During His Past Relationships
In his interview with Vibe, Ne-Yo admits that he made mistakes during his time with Shaw, and if given the opportunity, he would’ve done things differently. My two oldest children are with Monyetta Shaw, who I was in a relationship with before this one,” he said. “I realized one of the many things I did wrong in my relationship with Monyetta was not get over the relationship I was in before I got with her.”
“I never gave myself time to be single,” he added. “I never gave myself time to figure out who the hell I am. So when me and Mo broke up, I took a whole year of being single doing all the sick and disgusting things that single men do. I’m not proud of a lot of it. I not proud of most of it.” Ne-Yo went on to tell that his biggest focus now is making sure he raises all four of his children properly.
“At one point you know [I’m] chasing women around and bottles in clubs and all of that stuff. And trying to prove to the world how much money you got,” he told D.L. Hughley. That was important at one point in my life and now it’s not,” expressed Ne-Yo. “Now it’s about making sure my kids are straight. Making sure my wife is happy. Making sure I’m setting a good example for my sons.”