The Truth About Kanye West And John Legend's Friendship

In a May 2020 interview with the Sunday Times, singer John Legend commented on his friendship with the very outspoken Kanye West. The pair were once close enough to spend Easter together (via Vanity Fair), but now? Not so much. Fans have wondered if they've drifted apart because of their different political opinions, with West as an avid Donald Trump supporter while Legend could not be farther from that.

Legend told the Times, "I don't think we're less friends because of the [Donald] Trump thing. I just think we're doing our own thing. He's up in Wyoming [where West owns a $14 million ranch]. I'm here in L.A. We've both got growing families and I no longer have a formal business relationship with him as an artist, so I think it's just part of the natural cycle of life." He added that the two of them actually "never talked about politics before. It was never a part of our interaction. Our interaction was almost always about creativity and music." They're also "in a different place" when it comes to music, with West leaving rap behind in favor of gospel music. 

However, it's not the first time Kanye West and John Legend's close friendship has come into question since Trump's election. Let's take a closer look.

John says he and Kanye were never that close

In 2019, John Legend clarified to Vanity Fair that he and Kanye West were never "the closest of friends," despite once spending Easter together. He also said, "I'm not trying to disown Kanye because I still love him and love everything we've done together creatively."

After those comments made headlines, John Legend provided additional context to explain what he really meant. He tweeted, "I get why people want to make this a thing. But I was explaining to the reporter how I've seen people I love reacting to the deaths of their mothers. I was thinking specifically of my own mom, Chrissy [Teigen]'s mom and others." He continued, "Then she asked me if I was referring to Kanye as well after Dr. West died. And I told her I wasn't really in a position to say because while Kanye [and I] have a long friendship and have a made a lot of great music, we weren't close on the level of confiding in each other about grief." 

Apparently, those words got a bit twisted both during the interview and when it was published. Legend added, "As I said then, I don't want this to sound like I'm trying to disown him now that we've publicly and privately disagreed about politics, etc. It was just clarifying that I had no private knowledge that equipped me to speculate on his grieving process and how that related to mine."

John and Kanye have argued about politics in the past

While John Legend insisted that he was not "disowning" Kanye West, that assumption did not come out of nowhere. In April 2018, West posted screenshots of one of their text conversations about Donald Trump. The tweets have been deleted, but CBS News reported that Legend told West that he hoped he "would reconsider aligning [himself] with Trump." Chrissy Teigen's husband texted, "You're way too powerful and influential to endorse who he is and what he stands for."

"As you know, what you say really means something to your fans," Legend continued. "They are loyal to you and respect your opinion. Many people who love you feel so betrayed right now because they know the harm Trump's policies cause, especially to people of color." Kim Kardashian's husband responded, "I love you John and I appreciate your thoughts. You bringing up my fans is a tactic based on fear used to manipulate my free thoughts." 

At the time, West claimed that he shared those screenshots to "show that there are people around me that disagree with me and voice their opinion. I respect everyone's opinion but I stand my ground." 

John doesn't want to be accountable for Kanye's comments

A few days after Kanye West posted screenshots of his conversation with John Legend in April 2018, People reported West attended Chrissy Teigen's baby shower and shared a selfie with Legend, seemingly indicating that things were all good between them.

In January 2019, Legend addressed West's Twitter activity on Watch What Happens Live. The All of Me singer said, "When I see some of it, I just shake my head." He elaborated, "A lot of people who love Kanye [and] love his music are just like 'I don't agree with a lot of the things he says.'" 

Legend said what he could to distance himself from West's Twitter rants, remarking, "He owns it. He says what he's gonna say and it's on him. It's weird because I get asked about it all the time and I can't be accountable for what he's gonna say, truly."

While it might be easy to assume that Legend and West ended their friendship over their political differences, it seems like they've actually grown apart without animosity. As they captioned their selfie at the baby shower, sometimes you have to "agree to disagree."