“Each relationship I went through, I feel like I took a brick from it and put it into my house.”
When it comes to love, Kehlani has a lot to say about the sexy highs (“Honey”), devastating lows (“Toxic”), and messy, sentimental in-betweens (“Nights Like This”). Listening to her music can feel like hanging out with a friend who has infinite wisdom from the other side of pain, heartbreak, and healing — and even though Kehlani’s relationship history has had some ups and downs, they’ve learned a lot of these important lessons from their past partners.
“Each relationship I went through, I feel like I took a brick from it and put it into my house,” the singer, who uses both she and they pronouns, told Teen Vogue in May 2020. “If I did not learn those lessons, no matter how hard they were, I wouldn’t be the person that I am right now.”
In the past, Kehlani has dated people of all genders and described herself as queer and pansexual. “I think I was always just, like, you have to be gay or you have to be straight — that those were conflicting,” she told The Fader in a 2015 cover story. “I learned that there’s really no wrong or right, that it was cool to like everything.” More recently, she confirmed in an April 22 TikTok that she realized she’s a lesbian, a revelation that wasn’t surprising to anyone close to her.
Kehlani has had a number of both high-profile and low-key relationships since dropping their first mixtape in 2014. From Kyrie Irving to YG, here’s a rundown of everyone Kehlani’s dated, in their own words.
Kehlani’s relationship with Irving was short-lived, but she told ILY Magazine in February 2016 they’d been friends for a while before things turned romantic. “I think this is the first time that I’ve ever been able to really be myself at all times,” Kehlani said. “In the sense of being incredibly goofy with someone and being based on a best friendship.” They added that it was “very early” to say they loved him, but he “definitely makes me very happy.”
It’s unknown when or why they split, but Irving emphasized in March 2016 that he was “not dating” Kehlani at the time of Party’s Instagram post. Years later, in 2018, he wrote a “long overdue” message to the trolls who continued to harass Kehlani, even at their concerts. “I'm hearing about what people are doing to try and intentionally hurt her on my behalf is bullsh*t,” Irving wrote on Instagram. “The lack of understanding of what we went through has bred a lot of unwarranted things happening and I want my supporters to really let her be the great soul I know she is whole heartedly.” No matter how things ended between these two, they seem to be on great terms now.
Kehlani dated Shaina Negrón, a painter and tattoo artist, for several months in 2017. They mostly kept out of the public eye, but went live on Instagram numerous times and were photographed together at the 2017 Soul Train Awards. Negrón is rumored to be the subject of her sweet, sultry track “Honey,” released in October 2017. “This song was inspired by an androgynous woman,” Kehlani wrote on Instagram. When it came to the “Honey” music video, she “wanted to find someone who fell in line with that, who was ‘hard’ yet so so soft (yes, like a bee)… I knew I wanted to honor the inspiration.”
It’s unclear when they broke up, but they were last photographed together in November 2017. Kehlani referenced the relationship in a 2018 interview on Nicki Minaj’s podcast Queen Radio. “We’ve been just friends since then… That relationship actually wasn’t very long,” she said. “But me and her are super cool now.”
News of Kehlani’s relationship with her guitarist, Javaughn Young-White, came out around the same time she announced her pregnancy in 2018. When asked about the father of their baby during a Queen Radio appearance, she offered some insight into why Young-White was such a perfect match. “I started dating women before I ever dated men. Then, I was lucky to find a partner who was a bisexual male,” Kehlani said. “And he really understands my queerness and my fluidity, and I really understand his. It’s very awesome to be understood.”
Although they broke up, she told British Vogue in 2020 that she and Young-White are still close friends and co-parents. She explained why their choice to have a child together made so much sense: “I have someone that I definitely want to have a child with,” Kehlani recalled. “They want a child just as much as me, like, we might as well just do it.”
Kehlani and rapper YG first went public with their relationship when they walked hand-in-hand into a September 2019 New York Fashion Week show. What followed, she said, was a whirlwind relationship full of multiple breakups. They split for good on Valentine’s Day in 2020 — the same day they dropped their collaboration, “Konclusions.” In her subsequent single, “Valentine’s Day (Shameful),” Kehlani sang about a relationship souring when she checked her boyfriend’s phone and discovered he was cheating. When asked about the breakup during a May 2020 appearance on The Breakfast Club, she said the song was “very literal,” “word for word.”
But there aren’t any hard feelings. “We’re not on any type of bad terms,” she said. “I wish him the best, he wishes me the best, it’s nothing but love.”
According to British Vogue, Kehlani’s 2020 album, It Was Good Until It Wasn’t, traces the highlights and heartbreaks of her relationship with YG. “It’s hard to separate how you feel about somebody versus what everybody else feels because they’re also a public figure,” she told Vogue in May 2020. “How do I shut that out and focus on how I feel? And then how do I articulate that to people that are watching in a way that’s not too much letting them in?”
It can’t be easy to focus on your own feelings when going through such public breakups, but dozens of singles, albums, and collabs later, Kehlani has proven herself unmatched in expressing herself — and the state of her love life — through her honest, visceral, and deeply sexy music.