Eric Benét details life of struggle, loss in Allblk docuseries ‘A Closer Look’
Grammy-nominated singer gets candid about the music business, early life as a single parent and more
Eric Benét had all the makings to become a star: the voice, handsome looks and songwriting skills.
While he has enjoyed success as a musician for the past two decades with 10 Top 40 R&B singles and several movie and television appearances, a new docuseries will uncover the pain and obstacles he encountered in his journey.
Benét is the subject of an episode of A Closer Look, a documentary series on the Allblk streaming service. The trailer reveals that the episode will chronicle Benét’s rise to fame as a singer, the pitfalls of being in the spotlight and coping with personal anguish and death that plagued him.
While Benét, 54, has amassed beloved R&B hits in his career, such as “Spend My Life With You,” “You’re The Only One,” and “Sometimes I Cry,” the four-time Grammy nominee has never been so open about his life away from show business. However, as he told People, Benét says: “I feel really comfortable talking about my journey now.”
“I spent a lot of time in my career keeping details of my life close to the vest to keep it about the music,” Benét said. “But with this newfound maturity and wisdom, I look back at the mosaic of my life and I’m proud of the man I’ve evolved into.”
In the episode, Benét will address the challenges of becoming a single parent in his mid-20s after his long-time girlfriend, Tami Stauff, was killed in a car crash. Their daughter, India, was only 16 months old at the time.
“So, I needed to learn how to be mother and father,” he said in a clip from the episode.
Up to that point, Benét admits being preoccupied with his music career, having a record deal with his sister, Lisa. However, not long after India was born, Benét says, “we were dropped from that record deal.”
The Milwaukee native would sign a solo debut with Warner Brothers in the mid-1990s. He released his first three albums with the label. He would also find himself thrust heavily into the celebrity life after marrying Hollywood actress Halle Berry in 2001.
In the doc, Benét says such a lifestyle was never a big deal to him.
“I’ve never been overly impressed with the celebrity of somebody or even being a celebrity,” Benét said. He wasn’t caught up in the hoopla of Berry’s intention, but wasn’t prepared for all the media attention he would be subjected to.
“For me, it was just I’m in this relationship with this artistic person who is in a lot of ways is weird like me, and that’s cool. But no one can prepare for what happens when you’re trying deal with each other and trying to maneuver through your relationship when you are living in this fishbowl with this huge spotlight on it,” he said.
Benét and Berry would later divorce in 2005 after only four years of marriage. However, he is now enjoying his life with Manuela Testolini, his wife of 10 years with who he shares two daughters with. Like Benét, Testolini was also in a previous high-profile marriage, being the wife of late superstar musician Prince from 2001 to 2007.
“It made us understand each other a little more,” Benét told People. “She got to know me for me and I got to know her for her. We’re both very confident people, so I never felt intimidated by a past relationship. I think she felt the same.”
Benét’s episode of A Closer Look is available on Allblk, the video on demand service formed by BET founder Robert L. Johnson and operated by AMC Networks. Allblk was formerly known as UMC.
In previous episodes, the docuseries has chronicled the lives of New Edition frontman Ralph Tresvant and 16-time Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Brian McKnight.
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