Usher and his ex-wife Tameka Foster faced off in an Atlanta courtroom on Friday in a renewed custody battle triggered by the near-drowning on Monday of the former couple's five-year-old son Usher Raymond V inside the R&B superstar's pool.
UPDATE: At the conclusion of courtroom testimony by both sides, the judge ruled in favor of Usher and dismissed Foster's emergency request seeking temporary custody of their two sons. Attorneys for the singer had sought a dismissal of the petition, saying the two boys are "thriving" in his care. Usher's lawyer, John Mayoue, also told the court that Usher V is expected to be released from the hospital. The hearing ended with Usher and Foster sharing a hug before separately exiting the courtroom.
When asked at the start of the hearing to give an update on Usher V -- who is still recovering from the accident at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta hospital -- Foster replied, "My son is alive, he's alive. I'd say he's doing well." But she also added that he is not ready to be discharged from the hospital and that "there are several issues that I'm concerned about that don't seem quite normal," about the care of Usher V and her other son, four-year-old Naviyd Ely Raymond, who also lives at Usher's residence.
In her motion filed for the emergency custody hearing earlier this week, Foster claimed that Usher had "failed to personally exercise physical custody of the minor children" and utilizes "third-party caregivers... rather than personally exercising parenting time" and alleges that Usher isn't home "85%" of the time."
According to a police incident report filed on the incident Usher V was swimming and playing around the pool under the supervision of his aunt, Rena Oden, when he fell to the bottom and subsequently got stuck while trying to retrieve something from the pool's drain. Previous rescue attempts by Oden and a housekeeper were not successful, the report said.
She said the incident brought to her attention that the pool where the accident happened does not have a gate around it and the drain that her son got stuck in does not have a drain cover. "[Usher V] was with a caregiver -- not called a nanny, but acting as a nanny -- who does not swim, who clearly did not administer CPR, or have CPR training because my son was rescued by two workers that were in the basement putting in audio/visual equipment," she said.
Foster got emotional on the stand at the hearing when she recalled her son's near-death experience. "The bottom line is my son basically expired. My son had to be revived and brought back to life. My son basically had died on the scene, from what I was told by the doctor." She alleged in her testimony that Usher didn't call her for about an hour after the incident happened, and that when he did make contact, he said that Usher V had been injured in an accident and "had a cut on his arm." She said that she later "broke down immediately" when she arrived at the hospital to find out the accident had been much more serious.
During his beginning testimony on the stand, Usher said he was in the studio when he was notified about the accident and rushed home as soon as possible to assess the situation. "When I arrived, my son was hysterical, and in the back of an ambulance."
The singer said he did his best to calm his son down and was trying to help him understand what had taken place and made this his immediate priority, rather than contacting Foster. He said he waited until he was at the hospital to call his ex about the situation, but at that time, indicated that he still didn't have a clear understanding yet of the gravity of the situation.