Canadian superstar The Weeknd will perform at the Super Bowl Halftime show. Here is what you need to know about his parents and family, as well as the people he has close ties with.
1. The Weeknd’s Parents Are No Longer Together
The Sun reports that the Weeknd’s parents, Samra and Makkonen Tesfaye, split shortly after the birth of their son in 1990. E! Online notes that the couple were never married, and were originally from Ethiopia.
“I didn’t have a father figure in the house,” The Weeknd told the Guardian about his relationship with his father, adding: “No boys around. Just me and my mom.”
In a cover story for V Man, the Weeknd told reporters that his Ethiopian heritage is an influence on the music he creates.
“You hear it mostly in my voice,” he told the publication. “Ethiopian music was the music I grew up on, artists like Tilahun Gessesse, Aster Aweke, and Mahmoud Ahmed. These are my subconscious inspirations. The Hills was the first time you actually heard the Ethiopian language in my music.”
2. The Weeknd Was Raised by His Mother & Grandmother
According to MTV, who based their reporting on a Reddit AMA hosted by the Weeknd, the young Abel Tesfaye was raised by his mother and grandmother. His grandmother was particularly important in his life before age five, as that was a time when Tesfaye’s mother was working long hours to provide for the family.
Esquire notes that the Weeknd lived with his mother for a time in the Scarborough area of Toronto.
In an interview with Variety, the Weeknd recalled that the first movie he ever went to see in a theatre was The Mask with Jim Carrey.
3. The Weeknd Does Not Have Siblings, But Wanted A Brother
i realize i do it all for the fans. new or old, you're all family. xo…
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) February 16, 2015
In the same interview with the Guardian, the Weeknd recalled how he grew up without siblings, but wanted a bigger family…but he had a very specific request in mind. As he put it, “I didn’t want a sister, I wanted a brother. And then…You realize you can’t have that.”
However, the Weeknd seems to have found “brotherhood” of another kind in his adult life, through the people he works with. In an interview with Billboard, Tesfaye revealed that he has an exceptionally close working relationship with the men of XO Records, who he counts among his friends. Billboard notes that the group of men are especially tight-knit, possibly due to their backgrounds. Billboard notes that the XO Records crew they interviewed were “all immigrants or sons of immigrants to Canada”.
“[What we’ve created] wouldn’t have happened without every single one of us in this room,” the Weeknd told Billboard. “All of the decisions I make, I don’t make without these three people here,” he added, referring to XO Records insiders Amir “Cash” Esmailian, Wassim “Sal” Slaiby, and La Mar C. Taylor. In the case of Taylor, his friendship with the Weeknd dates back to high school.
4. The Weeknd Owns Dogs
we don’t deserve dogs.
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) November 17, 2018
For many people, pets can feel like part of the family. In a 2018 interview with TIME, the Weeknd revealed he owned two Doberman pinscher puppies. They were named Caesar and Julius.
People speculated that the Weeknd purchased at least one dog to help provide emotional support after his breakup with Selena Gomez. While the pair was still involved, Hello Giggles spotted the couple looking at puppies together. The two appeared to share custody of a dog named Charlie before they split.
5. The Weeknd Is Not Married (But He Dated Bella Hadid)
The Weeknd is not married, and is not engaged at this time. The artist has been romantically linked to several women over the years, including Bella Hadid and Selena Gomez.
In the case of the latter, Elle spoke with The Weeknd about whether tracks from My Dear Melancholy were about Gomez. The Weeknd had little to say, beyond noting the “cathartic” feelings of writing and recording it.
In the lead up to the Super Bowl, The Weeknd was rumored to be involved with Spanish singer Rosalía. The duo collaborated on a remix of Blinding Lights, but the Weeknd is notoriously tight-lipped about his personal life in interviews.
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