Celebrity Custody Battles

Dan Abrams talks to Tameka Raymond, Usher's ex, in the wake of their son's pool accident.
7:11 | 08/16/13

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Transcript for Celebrity Custody Battles
Famous parents, famous problems, continues with dan abrams. Reporter: When a celebrity like usher fights for custody of his kids, even something as poignant as a courtroom hug with his ex might be a piece of show biz. I don't think it was a sincere gesture. Reporter: So you think he was just doing it for the cameras? I call it the casket rub. I think it was the dream team, you know, gave that as an advice. "Hey, you have to look like a good sport." And it -- it's -- you save face, because you -- you look like you hurt this woman. So you give her a hug. Reporter: These were the unvarnished words of tameka raymond, fashion stylist, mom, and maybe most famously, usher's ex-wife, speaking out exclusively to abc news this week. This is almost like the twilight zone. I have to pinch myself sometimes and say -- you really don't have your kids? Like, it just doesn't even seem right. Reporter: The usher custody case has torn back a curtain on the rarefied world of celebrity parenting. Caught in the middle? 5-year-old usher v and 4-year-old naviyd, the offspring of a four-year relationship. It was a friendship, you know? And I think that he appreciated having someone that would be completely, brutally honest. Reporter: Tameka figured she'd spend the rest of her life raising her kids as mrs. Usher raymond. But after the couple split in 2009, the megawatt pop star fought his ex for two years to become one of the rare dads to win primary custody of his kids. Why do you think that the judge granted him primary custody? I think that in the courts, there's a lot of gender bias. And I think that there's also a lot of financial bias. Reporter: So you think that he won the custody fight because he's rich and because he's usher? I think that played a huge role. Reporter: But was it usher's fame and fortune, or something more serious? Also at play, a sealed psychiatric evaluation that tameka says indicated she had narcissistic personality traits. How did things get so ugly? Because he filed for full custody. He filed to take my children away. Reporter: Under the current court order, tameka gets about ten days a month with the kids but not the final say when it comes to basic parenting decisions. And tameka says, therein lies the rub. We're talking about 4 and 5-year-old chirp. I would like to be in the loop and know exactly what school they're attending. I had to see on instagram that my 4-year-old lost his first tooth. Reporter: The problem is compounded, she says, by the busy lifestyle in which usher raises the kids. While he's out working and being a star, she says, the children are being raised by a rotating staff of hired help. I'm very concerned about the different caregivers and the different maids and the different nannies and the different family members and the -- you know, my kids are around a lot of different people in their father's care. Reporter: The last straw says tameka, was a terrifying incident just last week. Who is doing cpr on him? Yes, they're doing cpr on him now. Reporter: Little usher nearly drowned in the family pool, after getting his arm caught in the drain. An unthinkable scene set against the backdrop of a $3 million home in atlanta's posh suburb of bu buckhead. Yeah, he called. His dad called and said, "hey, there's been an accident. He cut his arm." Reporter: Only this was more than a cut. The 5-year-old was reportedly under water for almost three minutes until he was pulled out. I was mad. I was mad, because I was like, "how did this happen?" I just was angry that it happened on his watch. Reporter: Well, actually someone else's watch -- an aunt. Usher was reportedly at a recording session a mile away at the time of the incident, which is why tameka says she filed for an emergency court hearing, asking a judge to turn their son over to her care when he left the hospital. I feel like the kids are not getting proper care. And I think the reason for a is, he's not there. Reporter: Usher did not respond to our request for comment, but he famously defended his parenting in an interview last year for "oprah's next chapter." I'm not an absentee father at all. I have to temper my schedule based off what I know I have to you know, deal with, and manage my children's schedule. Who's helping you raise them? The village that is my mother, that is my grandmother, my aunt rena. And -- so you don't have a nanny? I do have a nanny, as well. Reporter: And he said it was tameka who upped the ante, bringing the custody battle to the boiling point. She made us enemies in a way that I could never understand. Reporter: Some see tameka's latest play to get custody as another shot across the bow. I think that tameka raymond was exploiting the pool incident to try to regain custody. And I think that had the roles been reversed that he would have exploited the pool incident. Reporter: Former litigator and host of the web series, "crime time," allison hope weiner, says celebrity custody disputes are in a class of their own. It's divorce on steroids. So it's what everybody's horrible divorce is but then everything is magnified. Reporter: Before her crusade against the paparazzi, halle berry waged war over her daughter. Her battle didn't just get nasty, it got physical. Halle berry's fiance and her ex come to bloody blows. What will the fight mean in the superstar's ugly custody case? They had a big his fight between her current husband and her ex-boyfriend while her child is standing there. Reporter: The brawl sent both men to the hospital and landed berry's ex, gabriel aubry, in jail for initiating the fight, though the charges were later dropped. And usher's not the only high profile man to win custody of his kids. There's miami heat superstar, dwyane wade. He's been sparring with ex, siohvaughn funches-wade over their two sons for years. It is one of the most contentious we've seen in chicago in recent years. It's been one of the most difficult things that I've ever been through. Reporter: She even camped out on a street corner in protest of their custody arrangement. Normally those of us in the private sector who have a divorce, we get to have our shameful behavior kept private. Reporter: The type of shameful behavior tameka readily admits to in the wake of her divorce. You were accused of threatening him, of hitting him, spitting at his girlfriend. Definitely. Reporter: All true? All true. All true. Reporter: Should they be relevant in connection to the custody thing? I don't think they should be relevant. I mean, we're talking separate things. We're not talking about how well I make breakfast or how well i teach my children or what kind of love and affection I give to my boys. Reporter: Love and affection that tameka and usher hope will shield their boys from the pain that accompanies any custody battle. Is the child of a celebrity going to experience the same sort of pain as a private citizen's child? Absolutely. It's all a complete nightmare.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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