A Second Chance: Should Kelly Rowland Let Her Absentee Dad Back In Her Life?

First off, let me just say this: I am a blessed daughter a child who grew up with a dedicated father in our home, who, to this day, takes care of me in ways both tangible and immeasurable. For sure, my father Jimmy is an amazing dad who showed me first-hand the beauty and importance of father/daughter relationships what it means to have in my corner a man who truly loves and wants nothing but the best for his baby girl. His is an example that set the bar for the kind of mate I sought the kind of husband and father that would be best for me.

That said, I’m really torn on this whole Kelly Rowland story floating across the internet the one in which Rowland’s birth father, who disappeared from his daughter’s life almost 30 years ago, is begging for his daughter’s forgiveness and asking her to “let me be your dad again.” Christopher Lovett, 65, admitted to the Sunday Mirror this past weekend that he did Kelly and her mom all-the-way wrong when he lost his job, sank into depression and subjected his wife and daughter to drunken, angry tirades. Said Lovett:

“The failure to provide for my family fuelled an anger that I will be ashamed of until my dying day… No parent should scream and shout in front of their child, and I am sorry to say there were too many times to mention that Kelly heard me screaming abuse at her mother. Sometimes she would run to her bedroom screaming, others she would cling to my trouser leg begging me to stop.

When the family lost its home, Kelly’s mother, Doris, took her daughter and moved in with her sister; Lovett says his lack of a job, money and a car kept him from making it to where Doris and Kelly were staying 20 miles away. And by the time he was able to bum a ride, his wife and daughter had moved to Texas. Doris’ aunt refused, Lovett claims, to tell him where they’d moved.

Of course, as the story goes, Kelly moved to Texas, her mom and she fell on extremely hard times, and Matthew and Tina Knowles, Beyonce’s mama and daddy, took Kelly in while the young ‘uns put in work to form, with two other members, the first incarnation of Destiny’s Child. Lovett claims in the Sunday Mail story that he’s been trying to contact Kelly all these years, and that he even tried passing a note to a security guard at a Destiny’s Child concert in North Carolina.

“It said, ‘Darling I have been looking for you. I am so proud of you and I love you so much and I just long to tell you that in person. Love Dad.’ But no matter how much I begged the guard he would not believe I was her father. Christopher who has framed Destiny's Child posters on the walls of the Atlanta home he shares with his second wife, Gracie says he wants nothing from his daughter.

“I really hoped I would get to make it up to her. Sadly I am still waiting for that day. But I can’t give up hope. That’s why there is a room in my house which I have decorated especially for Kelly, just in case she comes through the front door.”

Of course, the entertainment industry is littered with deep-pocketed celebs whose estranged relatives are constantly using the press to dip their grubby paws in the till. And really, there’s no reason to believe that Rowland’s birth dad, who hasn’t seen his child since she was seven, is any different. I mean, the girl isn’t Beyonce, but she does have some things going for herself, including a new album (I’m not going to get into my disappointment over her single with the pedophile acquitted child molester R. Kelly; that’s another post) and a gig as the host of “The X Factor UK.” All you need is a little teeny, weeny spotlight for folk to try to take advantage trust.

But the daughter in me knows  what it means to have a father in your life and the adult in me knows how important second chances are. I can’t even pretend to put myself in Kelly Rowland’s shoes to know what it must feel like to have your birth father reaching out through a random newspaper to get the attention of the child whose life he walked out of almost three decades ago. What I can say, though, is that this much be a mind-blowing experience for the singer, and an extremely difficult choice to have to make. Should she talk to him and forge a relationship anew? Or ignore him and go on with her life, just like he did 30 years ago?

What would you do?


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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. I think she should agree to meet him for lunch in a cleared out restaurant (like that scene from Cadillac Records). Give him a chance to explain himself. She’s a smart girl, she can judge if he is for real or looking to ride her coattails. If he is just after her fame and money, then she can really move on, otherwise there will always be that nagging question.

  2. If he is sincere, he will continue to work to get to know her…she won’t have to wonder what happened after the first 30 days.

  3. Snoop dogg took an interesting position when his father came back around. He said “hey come on dad, join the ride.” They have a relationship and his father participates in his lifestyle, although his father was not always around.

    I have such a special relationship with my dad that I couldn’t find it in my heart to tell any daughter to nix the chance at such a relationship just because she is rich and famous.

  4. Kelly does have a huge decision to make. I am sure she is thinking about the time lost and the impact his leaving had on her family. Now, he’s remarried and reaching out to her. There’s probably also a part of her that reflects on what her mother went through, getting past the rough times. It is a lot for her at a time when she is busy with her career.

    While I was married my husband just up and left one day. Even today I see the impact it has had on myself and both of my sons. Parents need to realize that when they up and leave and go on with their lives, for whatever reasons, they are leaving broken hearts that are slow to heal and slow to forgive.

    I wish the best for Kelly, no matter what decision she makes. She has to create her own destiny.

  5. My was abusive to my mother and bailed on me when I was 10. Before he completely checked out, he’d play head games with me to get me to turn against my mother. He tried to barrage his way back into my life after I was an adult. I was a spokesperson for a campaign and he’d seen me on TV. I think he probably thought I had money (which, if you know anyone who works on a campaign you know that ain’t the truth). He was verbally abusive to my mother over the phone. I finally called him back and let out about 25 years of anger on his ass. He got the message.

    I know how important it is to have a good dad. So I made sure to marry a good man and we have a beautiful daughter who knows how much she is loved by both of us.

    Kelly should follow her gut on this. Whatever it’s telling her – and not let herself get sucked into doing what anyone else wants her to do.

  6. What craziness!

    Somehow we don’t hold PARENTS to the same standards we hold CHILDREN. Children are expected, at all times, to be accepting of their parent’s faults and allow them to rectify what went wrong blah blah….

    BUT when it is the other way around, parents don’t treat children quite the same way.

    Kelly, do what you need to do for your own peace of mind. However, remember that if he has not learned from his mistake, he could make the same mistake again and break your heart a second time.


  7. I think kelly should do what her heart tells her to. I too was a child abandoned by a dad and the pain of not having a father of my own still hurts, but I was also lucky to have wonderful Uncles who took on the job, even though it isn’t the same, not to mention one idiot stepdad who tried to take a step too far.

    I do think it’s not good to hold on to the hurt as there’s nothing you can do about the past. Who knows what her life would have been like and I truly believe everything happens for a reason. I was so angry before that when my dad died I could cry and that made me more angry and sad.

    Kelly needs to ask herself if she would change where her life has lead her to now. If she would have preferred a different life, then she would have her answer.

  8. Great post. I think it is wonderful the relationship you have with your DAD. That is how it should be. Sadly it is not like that for every girl. In this situation, I think Kelly should take time to see this man. She does need to know him. But she does not have to give him a thing no more than a Christmas present and such. People make mistakes and he could have tried to contact her but perhaps her Mom kept her protected. I am not saying anything about her Mom but that’s what we do. Only God can judge a man’s heart. Kelly should at least try.

  9. Naaah, I wouldn’t do it. I would let the dad get his peace about forgiveness, but as in forming a day to day relationship. I believe that ship a has truly sailed. Kelly will just open herself up to more heartache in the future. She’s done this well without, what’s the point now? JM2C

  10. Naaah, I wouldn’t do it. I would let the dad get his peace about forgiveness, but as in forming a day to day relationship. I believe that ship has truly sailed. Kelly will just open herself up to more heartache in the future. She’s done this well without, what’s the point now? JM2C

  11. I grew up in a household of two parents, My father was/has been there for me everyday of my life and I cant imagine my life any different. However I do get the opportunity to see the other side of someone growing up in a one parent household, my husband was raised by a young single mother. He is a grown man and has never met his father. He has absolutely no interest in ever meeting him or having any communication with him. I think people learn to live and adjust to life without a parent and eventually reach a point where you make peace with the situation & the decisions that someone else made where you had little to no control over. I think the decision will depend on how she feels, does she need closure that only her father can provide? or has she moved on w/no desire for contact.

  12. Samantha Morris

    I think she should atleast hear what he has to say then make a decision whether she feel she want him in her life.

  13. I want to go Christian on y’all and say that Kelly should forgive and forget, say that God is love and advise her to turn the other cheek and everything biblical but in this case, ‘homey don’t play that.’ Girl children need their fathers, they are essential, necessary and critical for a growing girls self-esteem and feelings of value and worth. But what happens when all the growing is done and you’re an adult? The part the father has played in a child’s development has already passed. To Kelly he would be like a very expensive friend looking for handouts and a retirement fund.

    30 years is too long for the love of a father for his child. He needs to step and keep on steppin.

    the Super Sistah

  14. She may want to consider doing so for selfish reasons. Whether we like it or not, when a parent leaves us with a broken heart, until we really make peace with that, and accept that they did the best they could, no matter how raggedy they were, our relationships with the opposite sex will suffer. Sometimes we don’t even recognize what real and healthy love looks like, and unconsciously pick people who will end up treating us like what we know as “normal” –in her case abandoned. Forgiving him will unhinge HER and allow her the freedom to see clearly and pick well.

  15. I think she should go for it, my father and mother divorced when I was 2 years and disappeared when I was 5. I have so very often thought of him and wished we had a relationship. I am happily married now with 3 children and for the past year decided to start a family tree but new no one from my fathers side of the family so I started searching and found my father! I am actually going to meet with him in a month, very nervous and not sure how to take it being I have never had a father daughter relationship before. But I have to meet him I feel its just something I need to do. And the family tree I haven’t worked on it since I found him which makes me think I never really wanted one I just wanted my father.

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