Diddy and Kim shared twins Jessie and D'Lila as well as 21-year-old son Christian. They also worked to co-parent each other's children from previous relationships, Diddy's daughter Chance and 25-year-old son, Justin, and Kim's 27-year-old son, Quincy. All six children pose in the magazine with hip-hop mogul.
Diddy describes his ex as having "grace and poise" and being "unforgettable," even gushing that she "changed a room as soon as she entered." Those qualities continued right until her death, up to one of the very last things she said to him.
"That day turned my world upside down," he says of Nov. 15, 2018, the day Kim died. "Three days before she passed, she wasn’t feeling well. She had the flu, and she sent the kids over to my house so they wouldn’t get sick. One night I was checking on her, and she was like, 'Puffy, take care of my babies.' She actually said that to me before she died."
The kids were what bonded Diddy and Kim throughout the years, especially when they called off their 13-year-long on-again, off-again relationship for good in 2007.
"Every time Kim and I talked, it was about the kids. It was what she cared about the most," Diddy explains. "We’d check in as friends, of course, but we never had a conversation that didn’t include the kids. It was like some superhero s**t. I ain’t even gonna lie. On some level I knew she was training me for this. I knew that I had to be ready to do whatever I was supposed to do if something like this ever happened."
"There was screaming and crying when I heard the news, of course, but I had to ask myself, 'What would Kim do?'" he continues. "I was scared, and I was crying out to God -- and to her -- and almost immediately Kim’s voice kicked in, and I could hear her saying, 'Make sure you take care of my babies.'"
Take care of her babies he did, immediately jumping "into mommy mode" in order to shield his children from learning the devastating news from another person or source.
"I sent people in every direction to try to make sure the kids would not hear about it on social media or the news," he recalls. "I had to get to the girls' school and find Quincy, who was onset in Atlanta. Christian was on a plane, and I had his phone disconnected so he wouldn’t read it in the air."
Diddy says he was "a part-time father" before Kim's death, something that changed immediately after the heartbreaking loss.
"My family was always first, but there are countless times when I chose work over everything else," he admits. "But every day I can hear her telling me to go and spend some time with the kids and make sure everybody’s all right, like she would do. I’m just a lot more present, and, most important, now my kids come before anything else in my life."
Despite their tumultuous relationship, Diddy and Kim were beyond proud of the family they raised together and the life they shared.
"Kim was about love, and all of that care she gave to us every day, we just came together. It really made me proud that even though I didn’t get married, Kim and I, along with the other mothers of my children, raised a great family. We have a great family," he says. "The way we’re handling it is together. From Sarah [Chapman, Chance’s mom] to Misa [Hylton-Brim, Justin’s mother] to all of Kim’s friends, the grandparents -- it takes a village."
Though they've managed to come together as a family, Diddy still has worries about his young daughters.
"Of course I worry about the girls," he reveals. "One day I asked them how are they being so strong. They said that, in a weird way, their mother had taught them how to deal with death. About six years ago, Kim’s mother [Sarah Porter] was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and we moved her to L.A. She passed away about a year and a half later, so the girls saw their mother deal with losing her mother. Now, ironically, they are teaching me how to deal with Kim’s passing."
In spite of his own fears and worries, Diddy credits both God and Kim with his family's ability to do "really well" following such a tragedy.
"Her passing has changed us and made us love each other more. I’m happy to say that, because at first I really didn’t know how we’d be doing," he says. "But God is the greatest. And it’s because of Kim we’re doing this well, because of the way she loved us. We wouldn’t be able to love any other way. Her spirit wouldn’t let us."
"... Whenever I was around her, I felt as though God had his hand in it," he adds. "I always felt like God had sent her. Nobody could love me the way she loved me."