Grammy nominated singer Eric Benét says “life is just as it should be.” While he’s no stranger to unflattering headlines after his reported infidelities and failed marriage to Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry, Eric says “life is wonderful” and he’s now found “true love” with his new wife, Manuela Testolini (who was once wed to musician Prince).
The singer/songwriter/actor opened up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about his upcoming independently-released album, his baby-on-the-way due to arrive any day, his 20-year-old daughter India who makes her singing debut on his upcoming album, and the untrue reports that Halle Berry adopted his daughter during their 4-year marriage.
CBS: Tell us about your new single Real Love off your upcoming album The One.
EB: “Real Love is a song about my relationship with my wife Manuela. It’s the first single of my independently-released album which will be released in the Spring. I’ve been a work-in-progress in my career to get to this point where I feel like I’m writing better than I ever have in my life. I’m more creative musically than I’ve ever been.
The album is called The One because all my career I feel I’ve been moving toward this point. I’ve been wanting, hoping and praying to have my own label and to be able to release my album on my own at this stage in my career where I’m writing better than ever. The musicians I’m working with are amazing. This is ‘The One’ – the album I’ve been working toward my whole career.
The One is going to be the best R&B album put out in 2012! It’s going to be the best album I’ve ever done. It feels great to be able to take my career into my own hands.”
CBS: The title of your single and the album also suggests that you’ve found true love; your soul mate.
EB: “Undeniably. My wife is a huge blessing in my life at exactly the right time in my life. Love feels absolutely perfect.”
CBS: Tell us about your 20-year-old daughter India making an appearance on your album.
EB: “When I was growing up, my biggest influences were my older siblings who were always singing around the house. I think that’s where I got my musical prowess from. India grew up pretty much the same way. Except she got it all from me. She is undeniably an extremely talented young lady. She’s a singer and songwriter in her own right. We have a great little funky track that we put together. I think people are going to love her range and the maturity of her talent.”
CBS: Is India pursuing a career in music? Or is she off to college? Or both?
EB: “Both. She’s in her second year of college right now and she’s also spending a lot of time in the studio writing and honing in on her craft. So she’s doing both.”
CBS: You also just appeared in the film Trinity Goodheart. Are you hoping to do more acting in the future?
EB: “Yes, Trinity Goodheart was a project where I felt for the first time that I got something emotionally or spiritually rewarding from the acting process. So I would absolutely like to do more of that.”
CBS: Congratulations on your baby-on-the way! How has the pregnancy been so far?
EB: “Without a hitch! It’s going great. Everything is just healthy and lovely. Manuela is just the biggest trooper. She’s just handled all of it like a soldier. She’s not one to complain and I know she has a lot to complain about! Lots of aches and pains. But she’s just so thrilled – we’re both so thrilled about the whole process – but she’s just fascinated by it all. This is her first child and she’s reading and learning so much.”
CBS: When are you due? Do you know the gender?
EB: “We’re due the end of December. We are going to be surprised.”
CBS: Is India excited to have a little brother or sister? Will she be a built-in babysitter?
EB: “She absolutely is [excited]! She’s in school on campus, but we will absolutely be reaching out for the big sister babysitting duties, no doubt.”
CBS: How does it feel to have a child 20 years after your first child?
EB: “It feels great! When India was a baby, I was grateful and joyful but at the same time I was fearful because I was a single parent. In a lot of ways I was a kid myself. I’ve done a lot of growing and now I have all the joy and all the excitement with a whole lot less fear. It’s great.”
CBS: Do you think you might be less stressed this time around? Maybe even a better parent this time around?
EB: “Yes. When I was younger there was a lot of fear as a single parent. But I’ve grown. And looking back India is incredibly well-rounded, lovely, intelligent, talented young woman now so the fear is gone. I have a lot of joy to look forward to.”
CBS: You were a single parent for years, but then your ex-wife Halle Berry adopted India. Have they kept in touch?
EB: “No there was no adoption. That was never true. And no, she has not stayed in touch. Life is just as it should be.”
CBS: Do you still feel like the world is judging you for the things you’ve done in your past?
EB: “I don’t spend any time worrying about that. I don’t worry about who’s going to judge me.”
CBS: What are your holiday plans? Do you have your bags all packed and ready to go to the hospital?
EB: “Yes, my wife is an extremely prepared person so we have everything we need for the magic hour! India will definitely be home and it will be a holiday season of love and family sitting around the house for a big event to happen.”
Listen to Eric’s first single True Love off his upcoming album The One, set to be released this Spring.