The Weeknd Covers Rolling Stone, Talks Sex, Drugs and Bella Hadid: 16 Things We Learned

Singer also opens up about his music and his meteoric rise to fame

By Alyssa Toomey Oct 21, 2015 11:03 PMTags

The Weeknd is on a roll. 

The 25-year-old singer, real name Abel Tesfaye, is arguably this year's biggest breakout star—he currently has two No. 1 singles, "Can't Feel My Face" and "The Hills," and he's the 12th artist in history to score back to back Number Ones (per Rolling Stone). 

Yet, in spite of his super stardom, little is known about the Toronto native, who recently sat down with Rolling Stone for a candid chat about his music, personal life and meteoric rise to fame. 

Covering the November issue of the mag alongside the headline, "Sex, Drugs and R&B," the musician sheds his cryptic persona and gives a deeper look into his mysterious mind. Here are 16 things we learned: 

1. He's Much Nicer Than He Seems in His Music: "When people meet me, they say that I'm really kind – contrary to a lot of my music," the hitmaker, whose lyrics include "Bring your love baby I could bring my shame/Bring the drugs baby I could bring my pain," reveals. 


A photo posted by The Weeknd (@abelxo) on

2. He's Still Adjusting to His A-List Lifestyle: "I just started being fancy, to be honest. Like, I just started learning how to pronounce what I'm wearing." 


3. He Doesn't Like to Do Interviews Because He Didn't Graduate High School: "Me not finishing school– in my head, I still have this insecurity when I'm talking to someone educated. I don't want them looking at me like this f--king retard – no disrespect."


A photo posted by The Weeknd (@abelxo) on

4. His Iconic Hairstyle Stemmed From His Desire to Be Different: "I want to be remembered as iconic and different. So I was like, 'F--k it – I'm gonna let my hair just be what it wants.' I'll probably cut it if it starts interfering with my sight. I can kind of see it right now. But if I cut it, I'd look like everyone else. And that's just so boring to me."

huarache dance ft. 83,000 people @taylorswift

A photo posted by The Weeknd (@abelxo) on

5. Taylor Swift Couldn't Stop Petting His Hair During Their First Encounter: Tesfaye met the superstar at a 2015 Grammys after-party, where he admits, "Everyone was hammered." Swift approached the singer and told him how much she loves his music, "but the whole time she was talking, she was kind of, like, petting my hair? I think she was just drawn to it — she must have been a little gone off a few drinks. And of course I'm not going to be like, 'Hey, can you stop?' I mean, it felt good! But when she started petting my hair, that's when I was like, 'I definitely need a drink.'"

A photo posted by The Weeknd (@abelxo) on

6. He's a Mama's Boy: "Everything good, I get from my mother," he says adding that he recently bought her a "huge house" in Toronto. "I think me getting my diploma would make her much happier, though," he admits. 

A photo posted by The Weeknd (@abelxo) on

7. He Doesn't Know His Father, But He Doesn't Hold Resentment: "I saw him vaguely when I was six, and then again when I was 11 or 12, and he had a new family and kids. I don't even know where he lived – I'd see him for, like, a night. I'm sure he's a great guy. I never judged him. He wasn't abusive, he wasn't an alcoholic, he wasn't an asshole. He just wasn't there."


8. He's Candid About His Past Drug Use and Was Previously Homeless: "I never needed detox or anything. But I was addicted in the sense of 'F--k, I don't want to spend this day without getting high,'" he admits. "Like, '08 to 2010 –those are my hazy years."

Wagner Az/AKM-GSI

9. He Just Found Out Girlfriend Bella Hadid Is Training for the Olympics: "I read that!" he says of his girlfriend, who is an award-winning equestrian. "I hope she does. I've never seen her do it, but word on the street is she's bangin' at it."

10. He Admits Their Relationship Wouldn't Have Worked Two Years Ago (And Not Because of Her Age): "If I'd met someone two years ago, I probably would've f--ked it up. But I'm more – how do I say it? – clear-thinking now."

A photo posted by The Weeknd (@abelxo) on

11. The Sex in His Music Is Autobiographical: "I don't want to sound like that guy where sex is not an obstacle. But I've had a lot of sex."

maybe i've been always destined to end up in this place...

A photo posted by The Weeknd (@abelxo) on

12. He Lost His Virginity at 16: "She was so drunk. I was drunk too. It was the worst experience of my life. Losing your virginity to an older woman sounds good, but it was kinda like, 'Oh s--t, it's done?'"

just stopping by in Berlin for the night... ?? by @guyoseary

A photo posted by The Weeknd (@abelxo) on

13. He Got Starstruck Meeting Leonardo DiCaprio: "I don't get star-struck, but I get star-struck when I see someone like that. Our tables were beside each other, and the owner of the club knew how important he was to me, so he introduced me."

Michael Buckner/Getty Images

14. He Thinks His Rental Home in the Hollywood Hills Is Haunted: "I've had sleep paralysis. I hear voices sometimes. I heard the Hills are over Indian burial ground. But maybe it's just the wind."

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

15. He Hasn't Let His Success Get to His Head: "I'm not known as the greatest singer right now, but I'm also not known as the guy who f--king sucks, you know?"

Melissa Hebeler/E!

16. He Won't Stop Until He's Considered a Legend: "Coachella was the first show I did in the States, and I hated my performance," he admits. "I was scared s--tless. I got on stage and thought I did pretty good, then I watched the tape, and it was a nightmare. I saw all the comments, and I wanted to kill myself. I remember telling my agent, 'You need to book me as many shows as possible. That guy onstage is not a star. That's not a legend.'"

Head over to Rolling Stone for more. The issue hits stands nationwide on Friday.