Tragic Details About Kehlani

The following references a suicide attempt.

R&B singer-songwriter Kehlani began their music career with the teen pop band Poplyfe. If you are an "America's Got Talent" fan, there is a chance you're already familiar with this musical group because they not only competed on the long-running talent show, but placed fourth overall on the sixth season. The group eventually split, allowing Kehlani to explore their potential as a solo artist. The musician's first body of work, "Cloud 19," was an independent SoundCloud release, and the success of this debut eventually resulted in a deal with Atlantic Records.

Kehlani, who uses the pronouns she/they, has gone on a journey to fame that has been anything but typical. The star opened up about the tumultuous ride in an interview with NME. "It's been crazy," Kehlani said of the progression of their career. "I think we deal with [a similar thing] on a small scale just being in high school, so [being in the public eye] feels like high school never really ended. I try not to put the crazy thought on it that I used to, though – like, 'Why me? This is so crazy, this is so intense.' I just try and take it easy."

The tragic details of Kehlani's story will show you just how much she has overcome to get where she is today.

Kehlani had a difficult upbringing

Kehlani had a challenging childhood. As the musician told Fader in 2015, both of her parents struggled with drug use, and her mom was in and out of jail. Kehlani's father died when the future star was a toddler, and she was raised by an aunt. Kehlani spent her childhood helping her aunt with her other two little ones in their Oakland, California, home. The R&B hitmaker also shared that the family grew up in poverty, recalling to Fader, "We lived in this little duplex until everything started breaking. It was getting really cold, and the heater broke, and then the sink broke, then the washing machine stopped working." Still, Kehlani said they tried to make the most of their situation.

Although Kehlani's childhood is now behind her, she still occasionally opens up about her father's passing. In 2021, the star took to Instagram to share a touching story about how she sensed the presence of her late father when she got a vintage car in 2021. "When i was little, i was 100% positive for many many years that my dad got eaten by a shark," they wrote on Instagram. "Lmao. when i went to go pick up this car i fell in love with, the previous owner handed me a set of keys with a shark on it. my daddy would love this car, matter of fact he's probably the one who put it in my path."

Management tried to exploit their pop group

As previously mentioned, Kehlani got their start in Poplyfe, the teen pop group that gained recognition on "America's Got Talent." The group seemed to be destined to become a global sensation. Kehlani told Complex that the band only remained together for half a year after they left the show. As she recalled, the music industry professionals were not doing right by the group's young and inexperienced members. The "Nights Like This" singer told Complex, "The fact that we were 16—getting robbed and getting taken advantage of—was not OK."

Poplyfe's management team was likely shocked when they discovered that Kehlani was aware of their tactics and willing to fight for creative control as an artist. She told Complex that she called a meeting with the management to address issues regarding their contracts and so on, but they couldn't see eye to eye. "I approached them with everything that was wrong on a list and said, 'This is not happening, this is not happening, and if this doesn't happen, I'm out of here.' They weren't willing to just be appropriate and professional," Kehlani recalled. And that was that.

Kehlani wasn't the only future star affiliated with the outfit. In 2021, H.E.R. revealed on "The Carlos Watson Show" that she and Zendaya were also involved with the band for a stint.

The musician experienced homelessness as a teen

When Poplyfe split, Kehlani no longer had a way to support herself. The teen, who grew up in poverty, became unhoused after leaving her hometown to pursue her dreams on "America's Got Talent." They reminisced on this experience in an interview with XXL magazine. "You know, I went from broke and homeless sleeping on couches. Couldn't even figure out what I was doing in Los Angeles," the star began. "Now, I'm paying my own bills, I'm about to move my mama in with me at 19."

While this time in Kehlani's life was undeniably tragic, it led her to become an incredibly successful solo artist in a very unlikely way. "America's Got Talent" host Nick Cannon revealed to VladTV that he helped the young musician get her life and career back on track after hearing about their living situation at the time. "My heart bled," Cannon shared. "I was like 'I gotta go find her' ... I just want to make sure she's okay, found her, ended up having a conversation with her guardian at the time because her mom wasn't doing so well." He then made a deal with Kehlani, explaining that as long as she graduated high school, he would provide her with an apartment and access to a recording studio. The musician held up her end of the deal and it definitely paid off.

The singer was hospitalized after a suicide attempt

In March 2016, TMZ reported that Kehlani had been hospitalized after a suicide attempt. This news was revealed shortly after rumors surfaced about the star supposedly cheating on then-boyfriend Kyrie Irving with PartyNextDoor. The rapper had shared a photo where it sure looked like he was holding hands with Kehlani, which initiated the rumor. As a result, many believed that there was a connection between the star's suicide attempt and the cheating claims. Kehlani later stated that she'd been loyal to Irving and maintained that her hospitalization was unrelated to the gossip.

The since-deleted post included a photo of Kehlani in a hospital bed with an IV in their arm. The musician wrote in the caption (via the Los Angeles Times), "Don't believe the blogs you read .. No one was cheated on and I'm not a bad person... everyone is hurt and everyone is in a place of misunderstanding.. But as of today, I had no single wish to see tomorrow. But God saved me for a reason and for that... I must be grateful.. Cuz I'm not in heaven right now for a reason." At a show the following month, she encouraged her fans to look out for loved ones who might be struggling. 

The musician makes mental health a priority. As they shared in their 2022 "blue water road trip" video series, "I can tell how far I've come mentally and emotionally from the place that I was in on my other projects." 

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

The R&B singer dealt with prenatal depression

In 2019, Kehlani welcomed a baby girl with her guitarist, Javie Young-White. Before the new addition arrived, Kehlani revealed they were going through prenatal depression, a condition that shares many symptoms with postpartum depression but happens during pregnancy. "2 days away from the 3rd trimester and this has been the hardest thing ever," they said of their experience in a since-deleted Instagram post (via AP). The singer said they were struggling with their mental health and didn't have much of an appetite.

Kehlani faced another obstacle shortly after they announced their pregnancy. In a 2018 interview with Nylon, they shared that their sexuality was called into question after fans found out they conceived a child with Young-White. "I've gotten everything from 'I thought she was a lesbian' to 'she was using queerness to promote her career, then went and betrayed us with a man' to 'her baby father is just a sperm donor.'" 

Kehlani and Young-White eventually split up and moved into co-parenting roles. When Kehlani, who has long identified as queer, came out as a lesbian in 2021, Young-White embraced the news. As the musician said on an episode of Facebook Watch's "Pride On! Kehlani & Larray's Excellent Pride Ride" (via Complex), "We just focus on being a team, honestly, and when I was able to tell him, like, I've come to newer terms with my sexuality and he's super super super supportive."

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.