A little over 25 years ago, an R&B ballad was released by still newcomer Brandy off her self-titled debut album called “Brokenhearted” as the fourth and final single. While the original version of the song that appears on the album only includes vocals from the singer, the remix version which featured Wanya Morris of Boyz II Men was re-recorded as a duet while on tour together. The song became Brandy’s third top 10 hit in the US as well as an international hit.
MTV News interviewed both artists while behind the scenes of the song’s music video and they shared how the duet came about. “I went on tour with Boyz II Men, and we always talked about doing a duet,” Brandy said, while Wanya shared, “I was on the airplane on the way to another city and Brandy was there. I was listening to her album on the plane and I was like, ‘Yo, we should do a duet of ‘Brokenhearted.’”
Around the time of the song’s release, rumors began to circulate that the two had been involved in a secret relationship, although being six years apart in age. Brandy, being 15 at the time, felt scared to reveal to the quartet member that she had begun to develop strong emotions for him. “I’m just in love with somebody but can’t tell them. Too young to tell him. I can’t really tell my mom because she’ll have a heart attack as a mother and manager. What will I do?” the “I Wanna Be Down” singer said during an episode of VH1’s Behind The Music.
Eventually, the singer says that she couldn’t hold it in anymore and found the strength to make the revelation to her future boyfriend. “One day I got the courage to tell Wanya how I felt,” she added. “I just told him that I loved him and thanked him for making me feel the way I feel because I had never felt that way before. He was just like, ‘Wow.’ The relationship took a transition, and we became a couple. I was on a high. It was love. It was real love.”
Due to her budding career, the couple was forced to keep their love affair a secret. “Immediately everything was about my career,” Brandy explained. “What are you teaching young girls? Do they fall in love at a young age? Is that wrong? Is that a sin? It just made me feel like I was all by myself and that whatever I’m feeling personally is going to have to be put to the side.”
The couple dated for 2 years, with Brandy claiming Morris as her “first love”. However, Wanya would break it off with the “Borderline” singer reportedly a month shy of her 19th birthday. “He fell in love with someone else,” she revealed. The worst feeling is to be in love all by yourself. That feels f****d up, honestly. It does and that’s the only way I can really put it. It felt like somebody had completely taken my heart out of my body and just crushed it.” The “someone else” that she is referring to would eventually be revealed as singer Adina Howard, best known for her hit “Freak Like Me”.
Years later, the Boyz II Men crooner wants to clear the air and dispel rumors that the two dated when she was underage. “Brandy and I were friends in the beginning. Her mother reached out to me as well as my manager reached out to Brandy because Brandy was a big fan of mine,” he explained in an Instagram Live video. “I was like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing,’ because this young lady was pretty cool. I was young at the time. I wasn’t thirty-nothing. Don’t get it twisted. So what happened is, she became kind of like my little protege. I’m actually the one who introduced her to Vida Spears and Ralph Farquhar. They came to us to actually do a TV show on the UPN network and I said, ‘Well you know, Brandy’s down the hallway and she’s basically, she was on the Thea show.’ Okay, cool. Introduced her to that. The show came to fruition. My mom and I wrote the theme song to the Brandy show, so Brandy and I were really, really close.”
Morris then claims that despite everyone believing they were romantically involved when she was a young teenager, they became a couple when she was of age. “Once she turned of age, we had been hanging around each other so much that there came to be some sort of connection. An intimate connection. We actually fell in love,” he admits. “Now, we were young. That’s what happens. You’re young and you fall in love. Especially when you have the ability to be around somebody a lot. You begin to know things about them. And they know things about you. Now when you’re young, you make decisions based on your youth. You don’t make decisions, moral decisions that put you in a whole position where you know that this is what’s going to be for the rest of your life. You’re learning through everything. And Brandy and I learned through a lot.”
His revelations didn’t stop there, as he also confessed that the two were a couple when she was famously accompanied by the late NBA legend, Kobe Bryant. “When it came time for Brandy to introduce herself to the world,” states Morris. “I’m the one who actually put her on the Boyz II Men tour. So she was with me. She was my friend, and we became intimate in a relationship. There’s no lie going on here. You can ask Brandy and she will tell you the same story.”
He added: “Whoever is there saying all kinds of crazy things like they know, regardless of anything, my age, her mother and father was a part of our relationship. They allowed me to guide Brandy and to help her through her career. They understood that we had grown close and that’s what it was.”