‘I’m in awe of my wife’: Pharrell Williams on fatherhood, ageing and #MeToo

Lizzie Edmonds, Suprateek Chatterjee
In awe: Pharrell Williams with his wife Helen Lasichanh: Ethan Miller/Getty

Pharrell Williams has spoken out about how fatherhood has changed him — and why he feels a “responsibility to the universe” to help new stars.

The artist and producer, who will be 45 next month, has four children with his wife, model and designer Helen Lasichanh, 37. She had their first son, Rocket, in 2008 and gave birth to triplets in January last year. Williams told ES Magazine: “I’m in awe of women and my wife. To carry another heartbeat inside your body for nine months — in my wife’s case she had four heartbeats — is beyond anything a man can give back to the universe.

“To give life. That’s something that has changed me, just the infinite amount of respect and gratitude I’m blessed with.”

Williams, one half of producer duo The Neptunes and frontman of band N*E*R*D, has won 10 Grammys and is behind some of the best known pop hits of the past two decades, including Happy, Get Lucky — and Robin Thicke’s 2013 track Blurred Lines, which became notorious for its provocative lyrics and video, starring a near-naked Emily Ratajkowski.

Stage presence: Singer Pharrell Williams (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

Williams distanced himself from the song, saying he was a different version of himself now and he couldn’t “be that person any more”.

He also commented on the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, saying he had “always been a huge advocate for women and for women having a voice and I hope that as a result of this conversation there is a real shift in due process and industries across the board.”

Asked if he felt he needed to change as he grew older he said: “It’s not out of pressure as much as it is out of responsibility that I feel to the universe. The universe has given me so much.” He added: “You know, I’m going to be 45 in April, this is what I’m supposed to do. When you’re young, you think that everything is because of you; you think that all those great things are happening because of you.

“And when you get older you realise that there were so many people that the universe used and that conspired to get you to that place. And so, you have to return that favour. You have to stand in line and help, you know, recognise or help people acknowledge themselves and recognise that they’re stars and if they stand in the right place, they can be part of the greater constellation. That’s my job.”