After the famously private 52-year-old music producer came under fire for “Straight Outta Compton,” the biopic about N.W.A. that didn’t include any reference to Dre’s alleged assaults on women, he’s addressing his past in his latest project, HBO’s “The Defiant Ones,” which details Dre’s partnership with Jimmy Iovine.
“Any man who puts his hands on a female is a f–king idiot. He’s out of his f–king mind, and I was out of my f–king mind at the time,” he said in a clip from the docuseries. “I f–ked up. I paid for it. I’m sorry for it, and I apologize for it. I have this dark cloud that follows me, and it’s going to be attached to me forever. It’s a major blemish on who I am as a man.”
Dre, whose real name is Andre Romelle Young, was accused of assaulting ex-girlfriend Michel’le, journalist Dee Barnes and former label mate Tairrie B. Prior.
Michel’le, with whom he shares a child, claimed the music producer left her with “black eyes, a cracked rib and scars” during their relationship. She detailed the abuse during an interview with “The Breakfast Club” in 2015.
“When he gave me my very first black eye, we laid in the bed and cried,” Dre’s ex-fiancée said on the morning show. “He was crying and I was crying because I was in shock, hurt and in pain. I don’t know why he was crying, but he said, ‘I’m really sorry.’ That was the only time he ever said he was really sorry. And he said, ‘I’ll never hit you in that eye again, okay?’”
Michel’le added that he kept that specific promise but ultimately struck her in other places on her body. “I have scars that are just amazing,” she told the show.
Prior, however, claimed Dre punched her in the face twice at a 1990 Grammys afterparty after he heard a song titled “Ruthless Bitch” in which she insulted him. The track was released on the album “The Power of a Woman,” which was part of Eazy-E’s (real name Eric Lynn Wright) label Ruthless Records.
The alleged incident between Barnes and Dre took place at a 1991 party where he confronted her about a segment about N.W.A. that would be appearing on her show “Pump It Up!” He slammed “her face and the right side of her body repeatedly against a wall,” according to a statement released at the time.
Dre was charged with assault and battery, to which he pleaded no contest. He was sentenced to community service and probation, fined $2,500 and ordered to make a domestic violence PSA. A civil suit between Dre and Barnes was settled out of court.
Following the backlash surrounding “Straight Outta Compton,” Dre gave a statement to the New York Times apologizing for his past.
“Twenty-five years ago I was a young man drinking too much and in over my head with no real structure in my life. However, none of this is an excuse for what I did. I’ve been married for 19 years and every day I’m working to be a better man for my family, seeking guidance along the way. I’m doing everything I can so I never resemble that man again,” he said. “I apologize to the women I’ve hurt. I deeply regret what I did and know that it has forever impacted all of our lives.”
The article noted that the apology was partially because “the uproar was threatening not only his reputation but also his business dealings.”