More than a month after Usher filed for divorce from his wife of nearly two years, Tameka Foster Raymond, her best friend tells Usmagazine.com exclusively what did -- and didn't -- cause their marriage to end.
"It's very, very challenging to have a relationship ... that's sort of 'normal,' but the existence that they had was far from normal and there was just a lot of scrutiny and a lack of support for their marriage for some reason," Nyeisha Dewitt tells Us. "I don't know what role that played in it, but I just know that it's very difficult sometimes when you are in that situation to overlook some of the insanity that's going on outside of the relationship and the pressure that it imposes within the relationship."
Still, rumors circulated that Foster, a stylist, married the Grammy-winning artist for his money. "To say that she's a gold-digger ... that's just not the case," her best friend says. "That just totally discredits her as a professional, as an entrepreneur, as a creative thinker, and it just totally destroys anything that she took her money and time to build."
Usher, 30, and Foster, 38, have two sons together -- Usher Raymond V, 21 months, and Naviyd Ely, who was born last December. Foster also has three sons from a previous relationship.
"People say that she just had a baby so that she could get paid," Dewitt tells Us. "Why can't you just be a regular person who has a wonderful job, a great career, who's well respected for the work that they do, and be happy with that and then just fall in love with someone? Then you turn into a gold-digger? How does that happen?"
She also says the fact that Usher was eight years her junior was overplayed in the media. "A lot of people marry guys that are younger, or a lot of men marry women that are much younger, but it doesn't seem to have the same range of hostility toward it," she says.
In fact, when the couple was first married in August 2007, Dewitt says they were truly in love. "They just seemed to really complement one another in that way and bring out one another's strengths and balance each other out."
"I have never personally witnessed any hard feelings," she says. "I can't say for sure whether his mom is involved in any way. I know that she is a grandmother, and that's good. That's good to have in your life, in your children's lives."
When Usher filed for divorce on June 12, Dewitt says Foster was "blind-sided."
"They had experienced some challenges from March, but she was definitely thinking that they were working through it," she tells Us. "I don't believe that she felt that a divorce was eminent. She was not informed that divorce papers had been filed. She found out probably just like everyone else did."
Now, she says Foster is focusing on her work and her children. Dewitt, who says she loves Usher, believes the two will remain friends. "I really think that they can be friends," she says.
"The essence of their relationship is friendship, and hopefully they can maintain that. That's what it's all about. They are parents. Both of them are wonderful parents, and they both love their children... I hope and pray that they can really recover their friendship after all is said and done."