01:48 - Source: CNN
John Legend speaks out over Sean 'Diddy' Combs abuse allegations
CNN  — 

John Legend is speaking publicly for the first time about allegations against Sean “Diddy” Combs, who the former “Voice” coach collaborated with on a song that was released last year.

In an interview released Thursday with CNN International’s Christiane Amanpour to discuss his new podcast “Afghan Star,” Legend said that he was “horrified by the allegations” as well as “by the video evidence that was released after that,” in reference to the hotel surveillance footage obtained and published by CNN earlier this month showing Combs physically assaulting his then-girlfriend Cassie Ventura in a 2016 incident.

“I was horrified by the descriptions that I read before the video evidence came out,” Legend added. “And absolutely it’s something that needs to be brought to light when it happens.”

The 2016 attack was first referenced in a November 2023 lawsuit that Ventura brought against Combs, whom she dated off and on from 2007 to 2018. Combs at the time denied the allegations outlined in Ventura’s lawsuit – which was settled out of court one day after it was filed – months prior to the video’s release.

“My default stance is to believe women when they make these accusations and to make sure that we do whatever we can to support women” making them, Legend said. He added that his hope is “that they’re heard and that any kind of accountability and reparations can be made to make these women whole again.”

Legend also said that what Combs has been accused of is “shameful” and that he only wants “the best” for Ventura and “for all the other victims that have alleged that he’s abused them.”

“It’s quite a shame,” the “All of Me” singer said. “I really just want accountability and hopefully some healing for all of his victims.”

Combs has been named in eight civil lawsuits including Ventura’s now-settled 2023 complaint, all of which contain allegations of sexual assault. Outside of his video apology admitting to the 2016 attack on Ventura, Combs has denied the allegations, and seven of the cases remain active.

Last year, Legend and Babyface collaborated with Combs on a song titled “Kim Porter” – named after Combs’ former partner with whom he shares three children – from Combs’ 2023 album “The Love Album: Off the Grid.” Porter died in 2018 of pneumonia.

Legend also spoke to Amanpour about his new podcast series “Afghan Star,” which tells the inspiring story behind the competition reality show of the same name that searched for talented singers across Afghanistan.

“It’s a beautiful story of the power of music, the power of the people’s resilience, and a really remarkable show that was pretty revolutionary for its time,” he said. “It really captured the attention of the nation… I find the story inspiring, but also it really shows you the power of music and the power of the human spirit.”

“Afghan Star” first hit the airwaves in 2005 and went on to air 15 seasons. Legend credited the series as “quite revolutionary” for the country, saying that instruments were “burned on the street” in Afghanistan during the Taliban’s reign prior to the show’s debut.

The Taliban regained control of Afghanistan’s capital city almost two decades after they were driven from Kabul by US troops.

“Music is not dead in Afghanistan right now, even though the Taliban’s back in charge,” Legend said. “I think the spirit that was awakened and revived in Afghanistan by shows like ‘Afghan Star’ and other connections with music and entertainment, it’s hard to put that back in the bottle.”

CNN’s Sandra Gonzalez and Elizabeth Wagmeister contributed to this report.