On November 15, 2018, model Kim Porter suddenly passed away, sending shock waves throughout the global hip-hop community and leaving Sean “Diddy” Combs without his soul mate, and four children without their beloved mother.

Still grappling with the extreme grief her untimely passing left behind, Diddy prepares his family for their first Mother’s Day without Kim.

As they struggle to move forward, Diddy, his 12-year-old twin daughters with Porter, D’Lila Star Combs and Jessie James Combs, and his daughter, Chance Combs, 12, with stylist Sarah Chapman, pose together in an intimate portrait for the cover of ESSENCE’s May 2019 Power Issue in celebration of the magazine’s 49th anniversary. Inside the pages of the issue, the entertainment mogul and family man opens his heart to award-winning writer and filmmaker (and longtime friend) dream hampton to share his last moments with Porter, the inner-workings of their incredible love story and how they plan to honor her legacy of love as a united family.

Immediately after her untimely passing, Diddy, 49, tells ESSENCE he “jumped into mommy mode” and hasn’t stopped trying to keep his family together and strong as they mourn their unfathomable loss.

Diddy and Porter, who also share a son, Christian Combs, 21, were never shy about how much they embraced what he calls their blended “unconventional family,” which along with the girls also includes Porter’s son with singer Al B. Sure!, Quincy Brown, 27, and Diddy’s son with celebrity stylist Misa Hylton Brim, Justin Combs, 25. But, getting there wasn’t an easy road for Porter. Diddy also spoke about how Porter had to come around to accepting Chance, who was born weeks before the couple’s twins.

Motherhood meant everything to Porter, and Diddy shared that even in her final moments her children were all that was on her mind.

“She was unforgettable,” he told hampton, recalling the moment he realized she was gone. “That day turned my world upside down. Three days before she passed, she wasn’t feeling well. She had the flu, and she sent the kids over to my house so they wouldn’t get sick. One night I was checking on her, and she was like, ‘Puffy, take care of my babies.’ She actually said that to me before she died.”

“That betrayal really affected Kim. There were days I thought I may have lost my best friend,” he recalled. “The healing took time.” The glue that always bonded them together, Diddy insists, was trust.

“There was total trust,” Diddy told hampton. “Whenever I was around her, I felt as though God had his hand in it. I always felt like God had sent her. Nobody could love me the way she loved me, especially as, you know, as crazy as I acted. I mean, she loved me through some real s–t.”

Inside the May cover story, Diddy also addressed the comment he made on social media shortly after Porter’s passing, saying that he “played himself” in response to a fan who wrote that he “should have married” Porter and revealed for the first time how he rushed to protect their children the day that he learned Porter had died.

KIM PORTER AND DIDDY ON THE COVER OF ESSENCE IN 2006

“First, this month marks the 49th anniversary of ESSENCE,” Chief Content and Creative Officer MoAna Luu wrote in her editor’s note of her decision to select Diddy and family to cover this special issue. “What a milestone! May is also the month that we honor mothers. Our choice to highlight Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and his family—daughters Chance, D’Lila and Jessie, who join him on the cover; sons Christian, Justin and Quincy; and his mother, Janice—is a bold one.”

Diddy embracing his “mommy-daddy duties has moved us all. “During the six months since the untimely passing of his former partner and dear friend, Kim Porter, his heart has expanded even wider as he adjusts to becoming a full-time, hands-on dad. It means the world that he trusts us to share his ever-evolving story,” Luu adds.

For more from Diddy and hampton’s interview, pick up the May 2019 issue of ESSENCE, available on newsstands and digital platforms on Friday.

The Combs family, including Diddy’s mother Janice Combs, was photographed exclusively for ESSENCE on March 28 in Miami by Dana Scruggs.

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