Alicia Keys found it "hurtful" to be called a homewrecker.

The 'Empire State of Mind' hitmaker - who first started dating now-husband Swizz Beatz when he was still married to ex-wife Mashonda in 2009 - explained the couple didn't start their relationship until "months after" the R&B star had separated from his former spouse.

She explained: "We didn't start seeing each other until months after they had separated. I was aware of all the false things that were being said about me. It definitely hurt."

The 30-year-old singer - who has seven-month-old son Egypt with Swizz - also revealed she didn't respond to a letter she received from Mashonda accusing Alicia of "destroying" her family, because she thinks it would have made the situation "worse".

She added to Essence magazine: "I was sure that if I engaged, it would become back-and-forth like some sick entertainment.

"It would have gone against everything I believe and would have made things worse."

In addition to baby Egypt, Swizz also has sons Prince Nasir Dean, Kaseem Dean Jr. and daughter Nicole, from previous relationships, and Alicia is thrilled he has such a good relationship with his children.

She said: "He is very present in his children's lives. I wouldn't be able to love him otherwise."