Motown legend Smokey Robinson has joined the growing list of Black male celebrities engaging in pillow talk.
The 82-year-old singer appeared on VLAD TV on January 16. During the interview, Smokey, born William Robinson Jr., revealed that he knew Motown’s Diana Ross when they were children and disclosed that they had an affair. At the same time, he was married to his first wife of 27 years– Claudette Rogers Robinson.
At the 1:45 mark of the video, host Vlad asked the songwriting extraordinaire about The Supreme’s lead singer. Smokey, who was older than Diana by four years, shared that the “Where Did Our Love Go?” singer stayed four houses down from him in their hometown– Detroit, Michigan.
Vlad asked the 82-year-old icon if Diana could sing, to which he responded, “I didn’t even know she could sing. When I found out she could sing when–she moved away from the Block. She moved to a place called the Brewster projects, and after we started Motown, she called me one day, and she said, ‘Smoke, I got this group, you know, and I want you to hear us so you can sign us up at Motown.’ So I said, ‘OK. I didn’t know she was a singer till then.”
The host segued into his next question by referencing that 78-year-old Diana had written in her memoir that she and Smokey had dated.
“Yes,” the green-eyed singer confirmed.
“Did that last long, or was it just kind of brief ?”
Smokey laughed, “Well, it lasted probably longer than it should have ’cause I was married at the time.”
Vlad chuckled and asked, “So this happened later?”
“Yeah. It happened later after I got married. After I got them signed up at Motown. That’s when that started,” he concluded. Although Smokey spilled the piping hot tea, he did not divulge the sordid details of their affair.
The irony of the affair between Diana and Smokey was– the Supremes’ lead singer also dated and had a daughter with Smokey’s “best friend” and mentor, Berry Gordy. The men have been like brothers for almost seven decades.
“The Boss” began her relationship with Berry, her boss, in 1965. She finally ended their relationship in 1971 and married her manager, Robert Ellis Silberstein. The 92-year-old Motown Records founder fathered Rhonda Ross during the 70s and told the girl that she was his uncle until her teen years.
Smokey married Claudette in 1959, and she was affectionately known as the “First Lady of Motown.”
The 80-year-old diva was the only female member of Smokey’s group– The Miracles. The pair divorced in 1986. Smokey remarried in 2002.