Eric Benet Jordan has been a around for a while now. The 45-year-old crooner has always made good music, but his profile grew even higher with his 2001 marriage to Halle Berry. At first, it looked like a match that would go the distance, but a few years into the marriage, it was discovered that Eric was stepping out on the Oscar-winning beauty. Sex addiction was the rumored cause, since denied by Benet, but it’s no question infidelity was one of the root causes of their 2005 divorce.
After taking the public hit, Benet made a few fantastic heartbreak songs then rebounded with Prince’s ex-wife Manuela Testolini, who he married and had a baby with last year. While we wonder whether Halle and Prince ever had a smoothie together and dished on their exes, we’ll consider all the things that we learned about love from Benet, who released his latest CD, “The One,” last week. (A hat tip to the blog What Would A Man Do, www.wwmdonline.com who gave us the idea.)
SOMETIMES MEN CRY
After his breakup with Berry, Benet didn’t go around talking smack about her in interviews or wifing up someone else six months later. He didn’t act all hard and angry about the loss, he just broke it all down musically. His third album “Hurricane” was released the year their divorce was final and it included the songs “Hurricane,” “I Wanna Be Loved” and “Man Enough to Cry,” surely hinting at the emotionally fragile state of a man who had love and then lost it. But it was his 2010 single “Sometimes I Cry” that was an honest take on a man’s emotions when he can’t get over that one woman he truly loves. Men do cry and they have emotions and yes, they too feel heartbreak. Thanks for reminding all of us of that, Eric.
FIND LOVE WITH SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS
We don’t know how they met, but if anyone could understand Eric’s breakup with a celebrity rumored to have some emotional issues, it’s Prince’s ex-wife. As much as we love Prince, can you imagine being married to a guy who not only might steal your eyeliner, but who’s going to get out of your bed at 3 a.m. because he’s got a song he needs to record right now? (We love you Prince, we don’t know if that’s what happened, but c’mon, it could have.) You can imagine that Benet and Testolini must have bonded somewhat over the quirks of their more famous exes and at some point they obviously realized they had even more in common. We’re all for using the pain of the past to find a happier present and Benet and his now wife must have done just that.
SEX ADDICTION IS REAL
Whether Benet’s cheating was as a result of sex addiction or not, his time in treatment for it made it a national conversation given whom he was married to. Some people thought it was just an excuse, but there were many therapists and people who were having problems controlling compulsive sexual behaviors that knew differently. Sex addiction is a real problem and there are 12-step programs, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, that help people combat it. For some, Benet’s troubles signaled the first time that someone was putting it out in the open as a real condition.
LIFE MOVES ON
Halle swore she’d never get married again, but is now engaged to French actor Olivier Martinez and is the mother of a 4-year-old, Nahla, with her ex Gabriel Aubry. Benet took a lot of grief for being the man who cheated on one of the most beautiful women in the world, but he’s happy now with his new wife and baby daughter. It may have been hurtful at the time, but the two have obviously healed and are happier with their new mates than they were with each other. It’s proof positive that if you are open to it and you can let go of any bitterness and resentment towards your former mate, you can find love again.
STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF
Eric Benet once recorded a song called “True to Myself” and 20 years later, he’s pretty much making the same kind of soulful, romantic R&B that made him popular in the first place. At that time, radio programmers were doubtful that his brand of music would work, but Benet is now viewed as one of R&B’s last men standing and is probably more popular than ever before.
His new album “The One” doesn’t have hip-hop guest artists, he’s not making music about anal sex or how a woman’s vagina works. He’s just doing what he’s always done and he’s still in the game. We can appreciate a man who has enough strength to be himself who is eventually rewarded for it. It reminds us of Prince’s career, actually. Just kidding, Eric.