Kendrick Lamar’s star has been on the rise for quite some time now, ever since his 2012 album good kid, m.A.A.d. city earned him dozens of accolades, including seven Grammy nominations and a chance to rock the ceremony with Imagine Dragons in 2014. His fourth album, DAMN, nabbed another seven Grammy nominations (with five wins) when it dropped in 2017 (he even won a Pulitzer Prize for the album). And this year, he’s up for eight nominations at the prestigious awards show, primarily for his hit single “All The Stars” off the Black Panther soundtrack. Amid all the fame and attention, however, (Lamar can count Barack Obama, Adele, and Kobe Bryant among his superstar fans), he’s managed to do the near-impossible: keep his personal life out of the spotlight. But Kendrick Lamar's likely Grammys date has been in his life for years.
Unlike much of Hollywood and the music industry’s whiplash-inducing coupling and uncoupling duos, Lamar has been loyal to one gal and one gal only since his high school days: his high school sweetheart Whitney Alford — so there isn’t much for tabloids to latch onto by way of relationship drama.
In an interview with Billboard back in 2015, Lamar said he’s never seen Alford as his “girl,” and his refreshing perspective is perhaps what’s kept the pair so tight over the years. “I wouldn’t even call her my girl,” he told the magazine. “That’s my best friend. I don’t even like the term that society has put in the world as far as being a companion—she’s somebody I can tell my fears to.”
The couple met back when they were students at Centennial High School in Compton, Calif., and made their first public appearance together in 2014 at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards and have largely stepped out in public together just for awards shows since then. In early 2015, however, the pair was spotted out and about, with Alford flashing a sizeable rock on her left ring finger, which naturally sparked questions about an engagement.
The rapper later confirmed the pair’s engagement during a visit to Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club in the sweetest way possible.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said when asked about a change to their relationship status. “I’m loyal to the soil. … At the end of the day, you want to always have real people around you, period. Everybody that’s been around me, they been around me since day one, and I can’t change that. I always show respect when respect has been given. People that been by your side, you’re supposed to honor that.”
He’d previously expressed that sentiment in a New York Times Magazine profile, in which he named Alford as the one person he can always count on to call him out. “She’s been here since day one,” he said.
More evidence of the couple’s aww factor? Alford has been featured on some of Lamar’s tracks (2015’s “King Kunta”) and is reportedly the inspiration behind Lamar’s catchy jam “LOVE” off DAMN.