Lenny Kravitz isn’t comfortable thinking of himself as a victim decades after a disturbing sexual encounter when he was a teenager.
The 59-year-old singer–songwriter spoke with Esquire ahead of the release of his first album in five years, but he resisted describing unwanted sexual contact from a stranger as a ‘sexual assault.’
Kravitz — who also spoke about performing in a school musical with his childhood friend Nicolas Cage in his recent interview — wrote about the chilling incident in his 2020 memoir Let Love Rule, but the incident was only briefly described, and he didn’t try to characterize it as an assault.
But when the interviewer Madison Vain quizzed him about the incident, he seemed to attribute his hesitance to call it a sexual assault due to the standards of the time, as well as the fact that he didn’t feel ‘traumatized’ afterward.
It’s unclear exactly when the incident happened, but sometime in his teen years in the late 1970s or early ’80s, Kravitz’s parents went out of town and left him in the care of a male family friend, who was old enough to be an ‘uncle’ to him.
Lenny Kravitz, 59, resisted calling an event he described in his 2020 memoir Let Love Rule as a ‘sexual assault’ in an Esquire interview because it didn’t ‘traumatize’ him; seen in September
But then the man invited some of his friends over while Kravitz was sleeping in bed, and a woman allegedly snuck into his room and got into his bed before touching him in a sexual manner, via Esquire.
Though Kravitz didn’t expend much ink on the moment, he made it clear that the way he had been violated would impact how he strived to tweet the women that he was romantically interested in going forward.
‘I wasn’t interested in convincing or coercing women [going forward],’ he wrote. ‘I’d been coerced myself and didn’t like it.’
When asked if he now thought of the touching as a sexual assault, a term he didn’t use in the book, he replied, ‘It was an experience and a lesson.’
He continued, ‘Everything doesn’t have to be so…’ before trailing off and readjusting.
He seemed to emphasize that his situation wasn’t a reflection on how others might react to similar situations.
‘I’m not saying that there aren’t things that deserve to be addressed — maybe somebody would say it should have been addressed and that it was, whatever, but that’s the time it was,’ he continued.
‘I lived, and I learned,’ he added, before declaring, ‘I wasn’t traumatized.’
Although Kravitz spoke of how the ‘coerced’ sexual contact affect his relationships with women, he also wrote about how experiencing the dynamics between male and female high schoolers shaped his future relationships.
‘I remember the girls always liking the bad guys,’ he recalled in his memoir, adding that he was determined to chart his own course and be his own man.
Kravitz wrote about a night in his teens when a family friend watching him invited friends over. A woman then crept into his bedroom while he slept and began touching him; seen in the early ’90s
‘I’m not saying that there aren’t things that deserve to be addressed — maybe somebody would say it should have been addressed and that it was, whatever, but that’s the time it was,’ he said when asked why he wouldn’t call the incident a sexual assault; seen November 17
‘And it was like, if I have to act like them to have a girlfriend — I’m not down,’ he wrote.
Elsewhere in the Esquire interview, Kravitz opened up about his difficulties with infidelity over the years and his fears of committing.
He admitted that he struggled with ‘being confident that this is the person for me, always thinking something else may be better.’
Although he seemed to regret cheating in the past, he described it as ‘part of the journey.’
‘I put some people through some hard times,’ he added.
Although he’s currently single, Kravitz said he hasn’t ruled out having a wife and children one day.
‘I’ve grown enough. I’ve become stronger. I’ve become more disciplined,’ he said. ‘I’ve become more open to be able to do so. But it’s been a very difficult thing for me to figure out.’
His sole marriage was to the actress Lisa Bonet, whom he tied the knot with in 1987.
The following year they welcomed their daughter Zoë Kravitz, who has followed her mother’s footsteps.
But Kravitz and Bonet separated in 1991, and the couple were amicably divorced in 1993 after starting up new relationships.
‘I lived, and I learned,’ he added, before declaring, ‘I wasn’t traumatized’
Kravitz also spoke about befriending ex-wife Lisa Bonet’s former husband Jason Momoa. Jason and Lisa split in 2022; seen in 2018 with Jason’s mother Coni and kids Nakoa-Wolf and Lola
The rocker also briefly spoke about his post-marriage relationship with Bonet and her second husband Jason Momoa. The two began dating in 2005 and later wed in 2017, but they separated in 2022.
Lenny became ‘Uncle Lenny’ to their kids, and he and Jason struck up a strong friendship.
He opined that his relationship with Lisa and Jason was how ‘it should be’ for exes, and he said that he remained confident that he and Lisa could have a good relationship in the future, even when they were at their lowest point.
‘I wouldn’t think of it as this heroic feat,’ he added. ‘This is just normal to me.’