K. Michelle is reminiscing on a love she once had. A very passionate love at that. Although a short-lived entanglement, the “Can’t Raise A Man” singer shared eight months of what may be bliss with actor Idris Elba and has come forward to break her silence on their romance some years later.
The story dates back to 2013 when the former Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta star met the “Hobbs and Shaw” actor at a chance encounter at the 2013 Soul Train Music Awards where she was awarded Best New Artist as well as performed for the ceremony. During a time when she had been heavily hanging out with Meek Mill and with rumors running that the two were together, Kimberly Michelle was actually single.
Michelle spoke with Jason Lee of “Hollywood Unlocked” about the first time they met. “I’m walking off the stage and I hear this accent say, ‘K. Michelle, you’re beautiful,’” the NAACP Image Award-winner said. “I told him to his face, ‘Your jeans too tight and your accent funny.’ I didn’t have no [filter.] I was straight outta Memphis.”
The two separately attended the same afterparty and Elba used his charm on her when he had the DJ dedicate “Poison” to her. With lyrics like “never trust a big butt and a smile” meant to be directed to her, the singer had her bodyguard pass her number to Idris, thus beginning their romance.
Throughout their time together, the singer chose not to publicize that they were in a relationship, for fear of public perception that she was only dating him for clout. “People thought it was such an odd situation,” she said. “We would go out [but] I didn’t talk about [the relationship]. I wanted him to know that I wasn’t trying to pull anything. I never wanted to be that girl. Everyone around me knew; his management, my management. He was so charming, it was like a movie.”
During their relationship, Elba even directed the singer’s Rebellious Soul: Musical project that aired on VH1. Speaking to ET about it, she said “I was sitting around talking to him about it. He said he wanted to do it and I was like, ‘No, you don’t.’ But he was on it the next day. He and I talked about my vision and he completely stepped it up. He didn’t want it to be shot like a regular music video, he wanted it to have a different texture to it.”
After just 8 months of dating, however, they called off their relationship and went their separate ways. The decision to split was reportedly mutual, and publicly amicable. “Out of every relationship I’ve been in or [men] I’ve dated, I learned the most from him,” Michelle admitted. She then continued, diving a bit more into the personal aspect. “It wasn’t volatile or angry. He didn’t bring out [me] cursing him out. He was a gentleman… [and gave] amazing head, I remember that.”
On why they split, the singer added, “he told me he would never be committed to one woman. He said I would be taken care of [and] I would be fine, but he would never commit to one woman.”
Fast forward a few years and the singer doubled down on her experience with the actor in a separate interview on BET’s Raq Rants with host Raquel Harper. “That was the one person who I learned the most from about business. ‘Cause he was like a f—ing dealer and DJ, and he’s a hood Memphis n**ga for real with an accent…behind closed doors.”
After hearing the singer use the last statement, Harper uses the opportunity to get a little steamy in their exchange. She asks Kimberly, “you said that behind closed doors that he ate the b*x… something, what’d you say?” The singer doesn’t hold back, claiming “He’s great. He was very passionate. That was so good.”
Interestingly enough, Elba had an interview with Essence where he, at the time, mirrored what the singer says on his thoughts on commitment. The actor was married twice before his relationship with K. Michelle and has two children. “Am I ever gonna get remarried? I don’t think so. Yeah, I don’t think so,” he says. “Marriage is an institution of sorts. And I’ve done it. It’s not for everybody. It’s not my life’s calling.”
However, Elba went back on his word when he became engaged to his now-wife, model and former Miss Vancouver 2014 winner Sabrina Dhowre Elba, in 2018. When news of the engagement broke, K. Michelle shared that she was taken aback, but she learned a valuable lesson: “Men are different with different women.”