Semi-recently, while having a conversation with a couple of my clients, the wife loudly sighed when I asked her and her husband what their holiday plans were. When I asked her to translate that sound effect for me, she said, "I hate to say this but when it comes to trying to run things, I honestly don't know which side of our family is worse. I love my relatives, but I hate this time of year because there's always some sort of drama that goes down."
Y'all, between some of my own DNA that I can take a hard pass on, the non-stop stories that I hear from people about their issues with their family folks, and articles like "Americans Hate Their Parents….Is That a Good Thing?", while it might be unfortunate, it is indeed a reality that many of us don't find the idea of slicing turkey and drinking eggnog with our relatives something to look forward to. And while there are probably a billion different reasons why that is the case, what I tend to hear some variation of, quite a bit, is folks feel like their family likes to gaslight them and they don't quite know how to handle it.
If that's you (or someone you know) and so, just the thought of Thanksgiving and/or Christmas approaching is causing you to low-key hyperventilate, I want to share some tips that can make getting through the holiday season with the people who like to "torch you up" so much easier to bear. Promise.
Get That Gaslighting Is ALWAYS a Form of Manipulation
Since it's used so much these days, I'm sure that when you hear the word "gaslight", you've got some sort of idea of what it means (check out "Are You Dating A Gaslighter? Here Are 6 Ways To Tell." and "Gaslighting, Love Bombing & 5 Other Triggers To Call Out In Your Relationships"). Still, just to make sure that we're all on the same page, a really simple way to define gaslighting would be when people try to get you to question your own reality. For instance, your aunt knows that she was verbally abusive to you while growing up, and yet when you mention it, she acts like she doesn't recall. Gaslighting. You tell your mother-in-law that you and your husband aren't interested in having children any time soon and she shows up with Christmas presents in the form of baby clothes anyway. Gaslighting. You ask your sister to not bring her totally disrespectful boyfriend and she shows up with him and says she didn't hear you say that. Gaslighting.
The problem with all of these instances is not only are they totally dismissive of your feelings and needs, but they're also a passive-aggressive form of trying to control you and situations too. What's worse is usually gaslighting is done in such a way that if you snapped, you would be the one who's looking crazy because it's not typically so offensive that it appears to warrant that kind of drastic reaction from the outside perspective of others.
Here's the thing, though — if you feel like you are being gaslit, 8 times outta 10, you probably are and no one enjoys feeling that way. So, the first step that you need to take is validating your own emotions because the main thing that gaslighters want you to do is to ask yourself, "Am I crazy?" so that they can continue to pull their puppet strings.
Be Realistic About What You’re Dealing With
From personal experience, something I know that used to keep me fit-to-be-tied about gaslighters is the fact that, in between the times of having to deal with them, I'd hope — almost to the point of expecting — them to be different the next time I would see them, especially if I had already pulled them aside and set a clear boundary. Oh, but I've got one relative who, it's almost like they must get paid under the table to defy every boundary that I set with them. It's like the more I tell them "no", the more they want to turn it into a "yes". Can there be anything that's more disrespectful? Somehow, I doubt it. And while I'm personally someone who doesn't subscribe to that, "Some folks are too old to change, so you just have to deal with it" line of thinking (because as long as you have breath in your body, you can change), what I have gotten to the place of is, "Your patterns show how you are, so I will stand firm on what I will or will not do, based on said-patterns".
While, on the surface, being like this might read as anger and resentment, it's actually a form of acceptance because since I'm not looking for them to be someone other than what they've revealed themselves to be over and over again, it's harder for me to get frustrated when they show out — over and over again. And when I'm calmer, I can handle things so much easier.
TRY to Deactivate Your Triggers
I think the hardest thing about being around family is there usually is no one who can trigger you quite like they can. Makes sense too when you get that the definition of a trigger is something that sets off a memory or flashback that's tied to some form or level of trauma. For instance, even if I were a holiday observer, I still wouldn't be the biggest fan of caroling because I have a relative who used to basically force us to do it while growing up. I mean, take us in a room and threaten us if we didn't and then come out of the room acting all "holiday cheer-like". So now, when folks try and get me to participate, I emotionally wince, just a bit.
While I'm still a work in progress when it comes to this, knowing that it triggers me and why has been pretty empowering. That's why I recommend you take out a weekend afternoon to pour yourself a glass of wine, pull out a journal, think about the folks in your family who trigger you, and ponder why. If you can get to the root of what causes them to make you "feel some type of way", you can better figure out how to avoid those triggers and how to not let them get to you…at least, at the level that they have in the past (check out "How To Handle Folks Who 'Trigger' You").
Hear. Don’t Always Listen.
Hearing and listening are not the same things. Hearing is about paying attention to what someone is saying. Listening is about heeding and/or obeying it; it's a much more intense and intentional form of hearing. And sis, when it comes to gaslighters, they don't even deserve the amount of energy that it takes to listen to them.
Case in point, I've got a friend who can't stand her mother-in-law, and honestly, her mother-in-law has earned it because it's been over a decade of insults, running over boundaries, and dishonoring my friend's living space. For probably the first seven years of her marriage, a lot of what my friend would go off about is replaying nonsensical stuff that her mother-in-law would say, followed by a response along the lines of, "Who does that?" What I and her own mother have encouraged her to do is not listen so deeply to what comes out of her mother-in-law's mouth. Since she's heeded (see how that played out — LOL) that advice, she's able to coexist with her much easier. She still doesn't like her mother-in-law all that much yet she's not as anxious before she arrives or (all that) angry once she leaves.
Some of us struggle in this department because the family members who gaslight us the most are the ones who we had no choice but to listen to while growing up (check out "What If It's Your Parents Who Happen To Be The Narcissists?" and "How To Recover If You Had To 'Raise Your Parents' As A Child"). The good news is you are in a position where you don't have to heed or obey them anymore — even if they try to gaslight you into thinking otherwise. So, you know what, sis? DON'T.
Keep a Safe Place on Tap to Vent
While this one might seem a little bit tricky because the reality is that while you're observing the holidays with your family members, your tribe is probably doing the same when I wrote the article, "Life Taught Me That True Friendships Are 'Inconvenient'," I totally meant it. Just about anyone can be there for you when times are good; true friends are the ones who have your back when times are tough. I've got a few folks in my world who I know, that I know, THAT I KNOW, will pick up the phone, come get me off the side of the road or bail me out of jail (if it came to that), no matter what time of day I need them or what they may be doing at the time when I reach out. And while a good friend certainly doesn't take advantage of knowing this about their peeps, I promise you that if your folks know that the holiday seasons are difficult because you've got family members who live to "light you up", they will be more than willing to be, at least a text away, so you can vent.
By the way, when it comes to this particular point, if you happen to be married and the gaslighters are on your hubby's side, try and designate someone other than him to be your sounding board. Yes, he signed up to love and protect you; at the same time, no one wants to hear "your family is trash" for hours on end, and once everyone leaves, you don't want to have to deal with the aftermath of how he feels as a result of you venting your feelings about his loved ones…to him. While your spouse should be your top relational priority as you are to him, we still have other outlets by design. Using them to get some things off of your chest when you are at your limit is a part of the purpose that your friends serve. Trust me.
Pamper Yourself Once the Holidays Are Over
Personally, I don't get why more people don't follow through on this tip, in general. Because listen, even if you adore your family and everything goes smoothly, whether you're traveling for the holidays or hosting at home, it can still be a little stress-filled. However, if you're someone who has to handle an influx of gaslighters this year, give yourself a pat on the back and something to look forward to by scheduling a pampering appointment to follow the week after everyone leaves (or you come back home). If there is a part of you that's like, "I won't have the money to do it", if you save $20 a paycheck now, you should at least be able to get a mani/pedi, order in your favorite meal or buy a bottle of champagne to toast yourself with. And you will have well earned it.
Always Remember…YOU ARE GROWN NOW
Anyone who tries to belittle the fact that you are now an adult who can say "yes" or "no" to whatever you want to, can address issues that you may have been afraid to in the past and can set boundaries at any point and time you deem necessary…they are someone who is trying to gaslight you.
That said, while there is a certain level of respect that older relatives should receive just for surviving this crazy world for as long as they have, don't you dare let them think that you are not owed — YES OWED — respect because you are now grown. Indeed, one of the biggest gaslights that come from gaslighting relatives is trying to shift you off of the reality that you are no longer the child or teenager who they used to be able to be somewhat dismissive of, purely because of your age.
You know, there is one relative I had who used to maximize how intimidated I was of them, well into my adult years. When I finally told them, "I'm not afraid of you anymore", they didn't know what to do. Exactly.
Gaslighting family can be the absolute most — believe me, I know. Hopefully, this helped to put some things into perspective while also bringing you some peace of mind. Because while you might not be able to avoid gaslighters this year, you can bring them into the reality that you know what they are up to and that it no longer will be able to work…anymore. Give thanks.
Featured image by Giphy
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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Megan Thee Stallion Appears To Have a New Bae! This Is What We Know About Him
Could a new romance be brewing for Megan Thee Stallion?
The rapper's dating life took center stage recently after she was captured on various occasions sharing intimate moments with Belgian soccer player Romelu Lukaku as the pair attended a wedding for his close friend and teammate Lautaro Martinez in Lake Como, Italy.
During the event, which occurred over Memorial Day weekend, Megan and Romelu were spotted getting close and holding hands. Although neither party commented on the recent images, it sent shockwaves on social media as it circulated online because many assumed that the "Her" emcee was still dating her longtime partner Pardison "Pardi" Fontaine.
\u201cFound another video of Lukaku and Megan Thee Stallion at Lautaro's wedding \ud83e\udee1\u201d— Lili \ud83d\udd2e\u2728\ufe0f (@Lili \ud83d\udd2e\u2728\ufe0f) 1685398844
Megan and Pardison have been together for over two years. Rumors about a supposed split arose in early 2023 when the "Savage" lyricist allegedly unfollowed Pardison on Instagram. To date, Megan and Pardison have seemingly wiped all posts of one another on their respective Instagram pages and have yet to confirm their split.
In light of Megan's new alleged romance with Romelu, xoNecole digs deep into the 30-year-old's life and shares a few facts many may not know about the soccer star.
Romelu Is A Belgian Soccer Player, And Megan Was Allegedly Spotted At One of His Games Recently
Romelu, who is Belgian and Congolese, has played soccer professionally since 2009 and is currently a forward for the Belgium national team and Inter Milian.
Earlier this month, Megan appeared to have attended one of his games after uploading a photo dump on Instagram. On May 2, while informing her fans about what she has been up to, including sightseeing and shopping, Megan shared an image of a soccer field.
Romelu Comes From A Family Of Athletes
Romelu's passion for soccer began early on due to his family's background. The star's father, Roger Lukaku, is a former soccer player and participated in numerous Belgium clubs as a forward before retiring in 2007. In addition to his father, Romelu's younger brother Jordan Lukaku and cousin Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo are also professional soccer players.
The last team Jordan played for was SD Ponferradina. At the same time, Boli is a defender for KV Mechelen.
Romelu Was One Of The First Big Premier League Players To Sign To Roc Nation Sports
\u201cJUST IN: Jay Z\u2019s Roc Nation Sports has signed their first big Premier League player: Manchester United\u2019s @RomeluLukaku9. Joins @JB17Official as soccer clients.\u201d— Darren Rovell (@Darren Rovell) 1524139645
Although there are limited details of how Romelu and Megan may have met, many could assume it's due to their Roc Nation connection.
In 2018, the father of two made headlines after signing with Roc Nation Sports. The commotion mainly occurred because Romelu was one of the first big premier league players to sign with the company. A year later, Megan joined the Roc Nation team.
Romelu starred on Reality Television As a Teen
Prior to his success on the soccer field, a teenage Romelu and his classmates starred in a reality television seriesDe School Van Lukaku, for the Dutch Network Eén.
The show followed the students' lives as they dealt with various struggles, including love and friendship, while attending Saint-Guidon Institute in Brussels. During that time, Romelu was playing for the Anderlecht youth team.
Romelu Stands Up For Racism
Over the years, Romelu has showcased he isn't afraid to fight for what is right. In 2021, during an interview withCNN, the star disclosed why he felt taking a knee before the start of the game in protest of police brutality and racism wasn't enough.
Romelu told the news outlet that even with the particular gesture, it wouldn't stop others from treating people like himself or his family poorly. Romelu went on to add that he would continue to fight this battle head-on because it needs to be done to create a change for the future generation.
"I think we can take stronger positions, basically. Yeah, we are taking the knee, but in the end, everybody's clapping but… sometimes after the game, you see another insult. I have to fight, because I'm not fighting only for myself. I'm fighting for my son, for my future kids, for my brother, for all of the other players and their kids, you know, for everybody," he said.
Toward the end of the conversation, Romelu shared that the game of soccer, also known as fútbol in other countries, should be an "enjoyable" experience for all and not a place where people feel unsafe due to the "opinion from some uneducated people."
"At the end of the day, fútbol should be an enjoyable game… You cannot kill the game by discrimination. That should never happen," he stated. "Fútbol is joy, it's happiness, and it shouldn't be a place where you feel unsafe because of the opinion from some uneducated people."
Romelu's Past Relationship With The Mother of His Child
Before dating rumors between Romelu and Megan went rampant online, the soccer star was romantically linked to Belgium model and entrepreneur Sarah Mens.
News outlets are reporting that Romelu and Sarah met in 2016 while she was interning in Miami. Following their brief encounter, the pair would ultimately become a couple. Romelu and Sarah, who share a son Romeo Lukaku, reportedly dated for five years before calling it quits in 2021. Years following their breakup, Romelu would welcome another son Jordan Lukaku with an unidentified woman.
Despite the limited information about Megan and Romelu's alleged new romance, one thing is for sure it will indeed be a hot girl summer for the rapper.
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Feature image by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for CMT