Most people identify Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams for her unique tone and gospel music. But she’s much more than that. In recent years, Williams has become one of the most public advocates for mental health. She’s been honest about how dealing with depression has negatively affected some of her relationships, one of which was with her former fiancé Chad Johnson.
Though Williams and Johnson remain friendly, Williams says she’ll be more private about her love life in the future.
Michelle Williams and Chad Johnson’s relationship was public and difficult
The former couple first met at a spiritual retreat moderated by Johnson in March 2017. Williams went to the retreat to get her spirituality restored amid a bad breakup. “I was in a horrible, dark place,” she told People in a 2018 intervention. “I just needed to go somewhere where I could get a message of hope and restoration, rejuvenation — get connected to God.”
There was an instant connection between the two. Johnson’s friend encouraged him to pursue Williams. They befriended one another on social media and spoke to each other through FaceTime for three months before their first date.
Johnson and Williams debuted their relationship publicly months later. He surprised Williams with a dream proposal, equipped with video footage of a secret trip to Williams’ hometown in Illinois of him asking her family for their blessing. A tearful Williams said yes to Johnson’s 5-carat ring.
He was planning to relocate to LA from Arizona to start their lives together. Their road to the altar was documented on an OWN docuseries, Chad Loves Michelle.
Related: For Those Of You Who Don’t Know, There Are Two Michelle Williams in Hollywood
But the over the moon phase was short-lived as Williams’ depression began seeking in. Amid wedding planning, she began to feel unsure about her life, including marrying Johnson. She later revealed to People that she called off the wedding twice due to depression. Cultural differences also played a role in their issues.
With Johnson’s support, Williams entered a treatment to get her mental health back on track. They reconciled and underwent individual and couple’s counseling. But their reconciliation was also brief.
Williams announced in an Instagram post that her things were over. Reconciliation rumors sparked again after the two were photographed together at the 2019 Kentucky Derby.
Why Michelle Williams says she’s not going public with her love life again
Despite their split, Williams says she and Johnson remain friends and is happy that they are cordial.
“Chad and I, we are friends, all is well” she told the co-hosts of The Real in a recent interview.
But moving forward, Williams says she’ll be mum about her romantic life. “That relationship and that situation, it taught me to hush,” she declares with a laugh. “It taught me to always, y’all know what I said, the spirit of hush…just be quiet”
Related: Michelle Williams Reveals Why She Almost Quit Singing Before Competing on ‘The Masked Singer’
Williams says having the world in your relationship as a public figure adds unnecessary opinions and pressure.
“I’m gon’ hush and I said the next time y’all see me about a relationship, either I’m going to be married or four kids in,” she joked. “The crazy thing is, let’s keep it real. You get into a new relationship and you want the whole world to know. And honestly, nothing is wrong with that. But I just think that there’s got to be a limit on maybe what you share and on what platforms you share it on.”
Williams is currently focused on promoting her new book Checking In: How Getting Real About Depression Saved My Life — and Can Save Yours.
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