Love unlimited

KRNB-FM's Rudy V is the smoothest operator on the air, whether you're a man in trouble or a woman in love

Rudy V is a voice. Soft, warm, throaty, the cadence so deliberate and sensual, you'd think this man was born to tell bedtime stories. The naughty kind.

When you hear that voice rolling over the airwaves, you envision a playboy. And if that is where your imagination takes you, you are right and you are wrong.

The man inside the KRNB-FM 105.7 studio does know how to wear the role. The looks -- oh yes, what you've heard is true -- the earrings, the silver jewelry, the blue-tinted sunglasses worn well after dark.

Mark Graham
Rudy V greets some of his fans, including Kelli Ross, left, and Kasi Scott, at Club Phenomenon, Dallas' hot new upscale dance club. Rudy makes appearances at the club on Friday and Saturday nights and hosts a jazz brunch on Sunday.
Mark Graham
Rudy V greets some of his fans, including Kelli Ross, left, and Kasi Scott, at Club Phenomenon, Dallas' hot new upscale dance club. Rudy makes appearances at the club on Friday and Saturday nights and hosts a jazz brunch on Sunday.
Rudy V reacts wearily when an obviously very young male listener requests a risqué song.
Mark Graham
Rudy V reacts wearily when an obviously very young male listener requests a risqué song.
Rudy V bares his soul on the air -- which includes reading his earnest love poetry, collected in a volume titled Love After Dark...Passion Poetry by Rudy V.
Mark Graham
Rudy V bares his soul on the air -- which includes reading his earnest love poetry, collected in a volume titled Love After Dark...Passion Poetry by Rudy V.
Mama's boy: Bill and Eliska Williams are exceedingly proud of their only son.
Steve Lowry
Mama's boy: Bill and Eliska Williams are exceedingly proud of their only son.
Callers are always asking Rudy V for advice. He responds with commiseration, advice, parental homilies, and Bible verses.
Mark Graham
Callers are always asking Rudy V for advice. He responds with commiseration, advice, parental homilies, and Bible verses.

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And the JESUS pinkie ring. It takes a special man to wear a JESUS pinkie ring.

It's Monday night, two days after Christmas, and Rudy V sits in near darkness, perched at the control console of the studio in Grand Prairie. His only sources of light are a computer screen and the flicker of soft candlelight on the walls. Sweet-smelling incense burns next to phone lines blinking like Christmas trees.

He takes himself seriously, this man behind The Quiet Storm, KRNB's hit 7 p.m.-2 a.m. show, broadcast Sunday through Thursday. His audience takes him even more seriously.

Every night they call in, asking for advice. Should I leave my wife? How do I know when it's love? My mother just died -- how am I going to make it?

Rudy V responds with commiseration, with advice, with parental homilies and Bible bits. "A lot of people depend on the show," he says. "It's like a kinship. It's a responsibility of sorts."

But most of the time, Rudy V spins the greatest old-school love songs of the '80s and '90s. Hits like "Fire and Desire," the electric duet between Rick James and Teena Marie, and Heat Wave's "Always and Forever." Songs that take you back to sweaty summer nights crowded into somebody's mama's basement, dancing way too slow beneath the glow of red light bulbs.

Rudy V switches smoothly from call to call, not at all hurried by the blinking lights.

"Hi, 105.7 can you hold?" he says to one caller after another. Some answer breathlessly. Some can't believe the voice is really talking to them.

"Who is this?"

"This is Will."

"Will, what can I do for you, my brother?"

"My wife and I are sitting here listening to you..." The caller pauses.

"Man, we're about ready to tear each other apart."

The men share a lascivious chuckle.

"Isn't the animal attraction between a man and his wife a beautiful thing?" Rudy V asks.

"Yeah..." the caller says, sounding surprised. "Yeah, it is."

"You do know, Will, that there is nothing -- nothing -- that is defiled in the marriage bed?" Rudy V says, alluding to a Bible verse.

"Is that right?"

"That's right, anything goes. You can do whatever you please."

Riding the mood, Rudy V selects an Isley Brothers classic for Will and his wife. There's just no way two lovers could stop themselves from being carried away on the silky notes of Ronald Isley's crooning.

Rudy V may as well have escorted them to the bedroom door, handed them a certified letter signed by God, and placed the "do not disturb sign" on the doorknob.

With a choice few words, he's set up his callers for a night of passion, at the same time sanctifying their marriage bed.

Sure enough, Rudy V is a playboy, but he's God's playboy. You might say he's trying to have it both ways, mixing sexy R&B and old-time religion. But listen closer.

His message is subtle this evening, but on any given night Rudy V will explicitly warn his listeners that fornication is a sin. This creates some odd juxtapositions -- one night the DJ might play Shirley Murdock's "As We Lay," a song about infidelity, followed by a brief exposition on what the Bible says about adultery.

"There's a lot of spirituality going on in the show," Rudy V says. "Without question, I'm proud of that."

It could be a big turn-off for some, but in a city of profound moral contradictions -- with high crime and strange liquor laws and a church on every corner -- The Quiet Storm listeners love it. Every third call is a compliment. Every second call is a come-on. Every other call seems to be for counseling.

Can they hold? You mean how long?


After four years on the air in Dallas, Rudy V has cultivated an adoring fan base that he calls "The Quiet Storm Family."

According to Arbitron reports, people who listen to Rudy V listen for a very long time. They tune in, but they can't tune out, listening for an average of three hours each day. The show ranks fourth in its time slot among listeners age 18 to 34, a surprisingly young crowd for a classic R&B station. It's a remarkable performance for a show on a station that ranks 23rd overall in this market.

Quiet Storm listeners tune in for more than entertainment. They are seeking soul salvation in love and life, and Rudy V seems to hold all of the answers.

Night after night, he dissects relationships and personalities, picking out the flawed pieces and holding them up for his listeners to see so they can change their ways. So that they might live, as Rudy V says, "in heavenly marital bliss."

All of this is done against a backdrop of classic R&B love songs and smooth jazz.

Rudy V, of course, is a voice.

Kevyn Matthew Williams is not. He is a man. And the irony is that his personal life bears little resemblance to the "heavenly marital bliss" that inspires such rhapsodizing on Rudy V's radio show. Here is a man, after all, who wooed listeners three years ago by reading poetry over the air that he'd written for his wife. His audience responded so enthusiastically that in 1997 he self-published a volume of his verse, Love After Dark...Passion Poetry by Rudy V.

It is dedicated to his now ex-wife.

The ironies don't end there. He admits ruefully that, in the space of 10 years, he's been divorced twice and has left behind two children from those marriages.

Yet it's his vision of "true love" -- the sort modeled by his spiritually devout, happily married mother and father -- that causes him to bare his feelings, expose his past, and display himself to all of Dallas as the tender-hearted lover man.

There are so many contradictions built into the life of 37-year-old Kevyn Williams, it would be easy to dismiss him as a religious phony.

But you would be wrong again.


In 1996, KRNB's Ken Dowe lured DJ Rudy V away from Houston to a one-story, generic brown building on a nondescript block in Grand Prairie, promising to make him a radio star.

Dowe, director of broadcast operations for KRNB's owner, Service Broadcasting Corp., was trying to put together an all-star roster of DJs to kick off a new oldies station in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. KRNB, billed as "The Home of Old-School Gold and Platinum R&B Hits," picks up where the doo-wop-shoo-bop oldies stations fall off -- in the '80s and '90s.

Dowe chose radio veteran Tom Joyner's morning show, now syndicated from Los Angeles, to serve as KRNB's hook. But he needed a local presence.

Houston's Rudy V immediately came to mind. He'd made an indelible impression on Dowe a few years earlier when he bolted from one station where Dowe was consulting to a competitor. "He not only took himself, but he took virtually all of the audience that he'd gathered in the Houston area," Dowe says. "He'd done such a tremendous job that it was apparent to me from the onset that this guy was a magnificent radio talent."

Dowe picked the perfect time to go after Williams. He'd just been fired from his latest station after a contract dispute and eagerly accepted Dowe's offer to fly to Dallas and talk. The two men clicked.

Now, Williams lauds Dowe's "respect" for his creativity. Not too many DJs get to dispense their own verse on the air -- something Dowe has encouraged.

It wasn't too long ago that Williams was a fired UPS driver desperately searching for a job. In 1992, he had reached a personal low. He was reeling from a failed marriage to the mother of his oldest child. He still mourned the loss of his short-lived professional football career, which ended in 1987 when a hamstring injury forced him out of the Arena Football League.

He'd always dreamed about being famous, but instead he was slinging parcels. One day he brought an entire truckload of packages back to the office undelivered. He went home unemployed.

With the rent due date right around the corner, Williams says, he spent a week making calls and sending out résumés with no job offers. His decision to enter a "people's choice" contest at a local radio station was an act of desperation. All he had to do was call in, pick a stage name -- hence, the birth of "Rudy V" -- and introduce a song. He did it one morning at 6; listeners heard that velvet-dipped voice and anointed him the winner. The prize: a two-year contract at KMJQ-FM for an open "Quiet Storm" DJ position. ("Quiet Storm" is a radio format used by stations throughout the country.)

During the next four years, Rudy V would gain a devoted following in Houston with his sexy patter and soft heart. He also got some media attention after he talked two suicidal callers out of taking their lives in separate incidents.

Rudy V, Williams insists, is not an act. He genuinely cares. "I think people can feel when it's real -- when your art is real," he says. "When you're doing something with sincerity or when you're trying to put on a show."

He'd even do his show for free, he says, for the opportunity to touch people's lives, to pull back one lonely man from the brink of suicide.

"With every song I'm trying to leave some kind of musical, indelible impression," he says. "They say the average listener doesn't remember 15 minutes later what you said. That is absolutely crazy. I want them to remember whatever it is for the rest of their life."

"Rudy connects," Ken Dowe says. "In person or on the air, when you listen to Rudy, you have the idea that he is communicating with you directly. You can hear empathy. You can hear emotions. You can hear his feelings projected. And you can do that, be it on the air or in person."

Making that connection has taken time in Dallas, partly because KRNB's signal wasn't being picked up by many listeners. Now the station has added some juice to reach the masses -- 200 feet of radio tower, to be exact.

"The only reason he has not become a megastar in the Dallas-Fort Worth area," Dowe says, "is because, up until the first part of September, we have not had a radio station that had the technical facility to support him and his magnificent talent."


On December 13 at 10:15 p.m., Lionel Richie sings into the night: "Father, help your children. And don't let them fall by the side of the road."

Rudy V sees songs as stories and his role as storyteller, choosing the tale that fits the mood. If he's telling a story tonight, it is one of salvation. He plays back-to-back spiritual cuts: the Commodores' "Jesus Is Love," Howard Hewett's "Say Amen," and Brian McKnight's "My Prayer."

"If you just tuned in," he explains, "we received a call tonight from the family of a man who is considering taking his life. We have put in a page, and he has not called back...Quiet Storm community, just keep praying."

Earlier in the evening, a woman had called the station and told Rudy V she was worried about her 24-year-old cousin, Terry McBryant. McBryant had broken up with his fiancée, and he'd told his cousin he was thinking about taking his own life. At the time the cousin called KRNB, McBryant's family had been unable to locate the young man for hours.

Desperate, she remembered hearing McBryant call in to Rudy V's show a week before. She hoped that if the DJ paged her cousin, he'd call back.

Rudy V later explains that he paged McBryant several times with no response before deciding to take his campaign to the air. He pleads with McBryant to call KRNB and let him know he's OK.

For the next three hours, scores of listeners phone in, offering scriptures, phone numbers, and prayers. Rudy V plays music about breakups and starting over. The show seems cathartic for many listeners, who call in crying and offering testimonials of their own victories over suicidal tendencies.

"I thank God for a DJ like you," a woman sobs. "If he needs someone to talk to who knows what he's going through, I'll talk to him."

Suddenly -- and dramatically -- the young man calls the station. He is evasive about his whereabouts. He tells Rudy V on the air that he's driving home, and at the DJ's request gives two cross streets on his route. Then he quickly hangs up.

Recounting the story later in an Arlington coffee shop, Rudy V says those streets never cross -- something he learned from listeners' frantic calls. Sometime after 11 p.m., Rudy V implores them to stop calling. He wants to keep the lines open in case the young man calls back.

Another emotionally charged moment occurs when McBryant's ex-fiancée calls in to speak with Rudy V. "You don't know the whole story. See, you don't understand what he's done," she says. But she scarcely completes the sentence before Williams cuts her off. Temper flaring, he lashes back:

"Are you going to tell me that you're gonna sit back there and let that man talk about taking his life?" he asks in disgust, his voice rising. "It may be that he's the worst man in the world. I implore you to release all of your hurt and your pain."

He is pleading through tears. "And allow him to at least say 'I'm sorry.'"

The conversation with the woman seems to leave him emotionally spent. For the rest of the evening, his voice periodically breaks. You can hear the sniffles.

"We're still waiting on Terry to call back," he says over a track of what has to be the most calculatedly sad saxophone version of "Silent Night" ever recorded. As he talks the Quiet Storm Family through the long wait for Terry McBryant's return call, you cannot but think the man is entirely sincere.

McBryant finally calls back around 2 a.m. This time, Rudy V holds him on the air. He guides the man through a series of Bible verses. He says that God can fix his problems.

By the end of the conversation, the DJ learns that McBryant has actually been at his job all night. He works part-time in a group home for mentally retarded children. After he promises not to harm himself, Rudy V passes on a number to call for professional counseling. He also gives McBryant his home phone number and requests that he call him when he gets home.

Before signing off, Rudy V thanks the Quiet Storm Family for their prayers and calls. There is no doubt today in Terry McBryant's mind that Rudy V saved his life. He says he went to work that night planning to slice his throat with a razor blade. But while McBryant sat in a dark room getting ready to do it, he was listening to The Quiet Storm. "Like I told Rudy, every time I got ready to go into the bathroom to take my life, it's like somebody else would get on that radio and start saying encouraging words to stop me."

He changed his mind when he realized the DJ had changed the format of his show because of him.

Afterward, McBryant called Rudy V at his home in Arlington, and the DJ continued to counsel him until after 3 a.m. "He told me that the young lady that I was willing to take my life for was not good for me," McBryant says. "He said that all she was concerned about is talking about the situation instead of trying to help."

McBryant took Rudy V's advice. He hasn't made any efforts to reconcile with his fiancée. He laughs at himself as he describes the DJ as "a great man."

"He's like a big brother or a father that I've never had," he says. "Rudy V talked to me like I was one of his own -- as if I was his child."


Step into the living room of Bill and Eliska Williams' ranch-style home in Houston, and one thing is immediately obvious: They adore their son. That's as sure as the black-and-white studio portrait of the man that sits on an easel next to the couple's color TV.

Wearing a black leather jacket, his hands crossed casually at his waist, Rudy V stares confidently at the camera lens. There is just a hint of a smile.

Eliska Williams says it was a Mother's Day gift from her son, Kevyn, and the portrait fits in nicely with the shrine she's already established on her living-room wall. There are at least a dozen images of Kevyn. At 6'4" and 245 pounds, he has his father's height and build and his mother's Creole complexion and features, down to the red hair.

There are also photos of Kevyn's son and daughter, ages 10 and 2. And then there are the Williams' wedding photos. Ask Bill and Eliska Williams how long they've been married, and Bill always says the same thing.

"Go ahead," Eliska says, waiting for her husband to answer the question.

"All of our lives," he says, with a satisfied, solemn smile.

The couple met more than 46 years ago in a Houston nightclub and fell in love. Their affection for each other is obvious today. They haggle a bit over the details of events, but they're constantly finishing each other's sentences or nodding in affirmation when the other speaks.

The year was 1953. Eliska's mother had dressed her up to look older than her 18 years so they could see a band play. She met Bill Williams -- a young man on leave from the Korean War. He drove her home that night and spent the remaining 19 days of his leave at her home.

They were married two years later. The Williamses had wanted a large family, but Eliska had difficulties conceiving. It would take seven years before she became pregnant with Kevyn, her only child.

"He is my miracle child," she says. "Took a lot of prayers to get that boy."

Nothing their son does today surprises Bill and Eliska Williams. They raised him to be an achiever, telling him he could do anything he put his mind to.

Bill and Eliska believed their own message too. Bill says he coached the first integrated Little League game in Texas, which he won. Eliska was the first black PTA president at her son's elementary school. She says it was all about making her son's world a secure place. "We didn't want him to experience any inferiority about his race," she says.

They can't say enough good things about Kevyn. What a great athlete he was. How honest and loyal he was even as a boy, returning money to a store clerk when she gave him too much change. Even with his good looks and popularity -- "And was he ever popular," Mom says -- there was never more than one girlfriend at a time.

Clearly, they idolize him.

"He knows who his God is, I'll tell you that," Bill says. "He realizes what's demanded of him from his God, and that much I really, really like about him more than anything else."

There is only one thing that puzzles them. They cannot understand why Kevyn can't solidify his life with a loving family of his own.

Kevyn married for the first time in 1988, to a childhood schoolmate named Donzella Thomas. A year and a half later, their son was born. Less than a year after that, they had separated. Houston court records show they divorced in March 1991.

Neither Kevyn nor his parents will say much about the first marriage or about Donzella Thomas. Long, painful silences linger in the air when the subject of Kevyn's marriages comes up.

Kevyn says cryptically that his marriage to Donzella Thomas ended because of "a physical incident on her part," something he says he will never recover from and prefers not to discuss. Thomas did not return repeated phone calls for this story.

"That ended kind of tragically," Bill Williams simply says. "It's much more detailed than that. You'd probably start crying yourself if I told you."

The timeline on Kevyn's second marriage is strikingly similar. He met Rhonda McGruder in July 1996. After a one-month courtship, they married. They, too, quickly had a child. Their divorce was final in March 1999.

The Williamses still can't believe their son married a woman after knowing her less than a month. But they didn't bother to talk him out of it. "When he makes up his mind, me, you, and all of God's children can't change it," Bill says.

Then he floats a theory on why his son married so quickly: "He's in love with being in love. The thing that he's trying to do," Bill says, "is find somebody like his mom."

Bill moves to the edge of his chair.

"I think it's part of the fact of who he is," he adds. "I don't think he could respond to the needs of women like he does had it not been for the affinity he has for his mom. I know that's the utmost, key person in his life -- his mother. And if you really get down to it, and if the psychiatrist put him on the couch, you'll find that's the reason he cannot really, really have a real strong relationship with a woman. Because there's always that image of his mom."

For a moment, Bill Williams ponders his own statement. "I'm not saying that's bad. I don't know what the answer is. Maybe after his sixth marriage..."

Eliska chuckles, then chides her husband. "That's awful. You're awful."


"The Difference Between You and Me"

"I always thought that romance was the key. Little did I know that it was just one more thing to add to the difference between you and me. "I did all that I could. I even did the things you said I never would. "Just for the chance to make a difference in your life. I wasn't someone caught up in who's wrong or who's right."

(From Love After Dark...Passion Poetry by Rudy V)

Seated in a very noisy restaurant near Houston's Rice University, Rhonda McGruder-Williams is about to attack a slab of baby back ribs. She owes it to herself. She's dropped 10 pounds in the last month.

Tall and slim, McGruder-Williams is dressed fashionably in a burnt-orange blazer and brown slacks. A no-nonsense, up-front woman, she says she only has an hour but gives two. She can do that because of the flexibility of her sales position at a major pharmaceutical company.

She readily knocks out the "nice" questions about her brief marriage to Kevyn Williams.

That, she stresses, is who she married. She didn't even know who "Rudy V" was until they began their brief courtship. She definitely wasn't a fan or a groupie.

She and Kevyn met in California through a mutual friend. Their courtship lasted 29 days. On the 30th day, they got married in her neighbor's back yard. She's tired of answering the question of why she married a man she knew so little.

"Obviously, I must have just wanted to be married," she says. "At that particular time, I thought he was..."

She stops and corrects herself.

"He was the man that I wanted to marry."

They both seemed to want the same things out of life. "He said all of the right things. Our spirits connected," she says. These sentiments, interestingly, are echoed word for word by Kevyn Williams when he's asked the same question.

When she's asked another simple question -- "What kind of father is he?" -- McGruder-Williams' good cheer evaporates. She is in tears.

"He's not around Jordyn," she finally says.

Does he try to bridge the gap?

"I don't know," she says, sounding weary. "I think that she sees pictures of him. She goes over to his parents' house. She may talk to him over the phone, but in her world there's this man and there's Mom."

It's hard for McGruder-Williams to talk about this, because she vividly recalls how much her ex was looking forward to having a daughter when they got married.

"If you knew him beforehand, that was all he talked about: 'my daughter, my daughter, my daughter,'" she says.

Their marriage unraveled, McGruder-Williams says, when she took the pharmaceutical job in Houston and Williams moved to Dallas to begin his stint at KRNB. "It was stressful," she says of that time. "He knew what he wanted, but to me it was all so new."

Her husband was supportive during her pregnancy, driving down to Houston every weekend. She could never imagine that by the time her first Mother's Day rolled around, he would be asking for a divorce.

Today, she wonders whether she should have built a world around her husband, whether not doing so was her mistake. She wanted to be there on the weekends when he came home tired; she wanted to make him home-cooked meals; she wanted especially to give him an opportunity to spend time with the baby.

But somewhere along the way, dissatisfaction and disillusionment slipped in. McGruder-Williams can't say exactly when, where, or how. She just knows that her and her husband's ideas of how a marriage should work began to diverge. It was hard to live up to the ideal: Bill and Eliska.

Now, she can pinpoint the fatal event. She had missed the book signing in Dallas for Love After Dark, Williams' first volume of poetry, which, of course, is dedicated to her.

She had reasons to remain in Houston that day: a longstanding commitment with her godmother, a friend's major surgery. Rhonda was torn, but she stayed.

She remembers that her husband was disappointed but seemed to understand. He did slip in a few pointed remarks, such as, "Sure wish my wife could be at my book signing."

She'd sent a basket of wine and flowers to Dallas for Kevyn's event. But afterward, he was curt with her on the phone. "At the time I didn't know," she says. "Then his mom told me how bad he was hurt. When that happened, it was a situation where he could never, ever forgive me."

McGruder-Williams still was not prepared when her husband suddenly asked for a divorce.

"We were going through some problems with the commuting, but I really, really had thought that we were getting over that hurdle," she says. "At that point, I would've done anything to save my marriage."

But he was unforgiving. His mind was made up.

It was over.


Rudy V knows how to leave an impression. He's the type of man who's confident enough to shake your hand...and hold on several seconds longer than necessary, without ever blinking an eye. Hours later, you realize that the arresting scent hanging around you is his cologne.

With Rudy V, it seems, there is sometimes a thin line between confidence and egotism. One evening, he reminisces about his aborted career as a pro football player.

"You're talking to a gentleman right now who would not be fantasizing or exaggerating if he said that he could still be playing on Sunday afternoons in the NFL at quarterback," he says. "I was raised to be ready to do something like that."

Later on in the studio parking lot, someone chucks a football his way. He easily makes the catch. Then -- brown eyes quickly scanning the "field" -- he backpedals, draws back an arm, and positions his athletic frame into the perfect QB stance. The football darts like a rocket from his right hand.

The poor, unsuspecting "receiver" lets out an anguished gush of breath as the ball pops into his chest.

Rudy V's eyes follow the ball somewhere beyond the parking lot for a moment. "It still bruises up at the first cold of every winter. It's gets all purple," he says, referring to the hamstring he tore in the Chicago Bruisers' 1987 spring training camp.

The injury ended what he's convinced would have been a great career in professional football. "He was a prototypical quarterback," explains old friend Rodney Clay. "That's how they tag potential prospects. He had the size and a strong arm. And he had the mind."

A guy with the NFL in his future? Well, maybe. A call to Arena Football League headquarters landed at the desk of Mark Malzewski, director of media relations, who, after two days, dug up the tiniest scrap of information. "Yeah, there was a Kevyn Williams with the Chicago Bruisers. He was on the roster, but he didn't play. He didn't have any stats. He was sort of a back-up."

Williams says there's a very good reason why he's not playing football today: "I firmly believe that this is what God wants me to do, because of what it took for me to get here. I had to get fired from UPS. I had to get divorced."

He says he wouldn't change a thing. The experiences, tough as they were, allow him to tap into the pain his listeners are going through. "They need to relive it, and they want you to go there with them," he says.

Williams definitely goes there. He says that one of the hardest things about doing the show is that he gets so emotionally wound up. Sometimes, he'll stay on the phone counseling a caller for up to an hour.

"What a lot of people don't know," says Williams' father, "is that he really, really feels their pain. I think that's going to be the demise of him, to be honest with you.

"A good doctor can lose a patient and go on to the next patient and do a super job, but when Kevyn helps solve a problem, it stays with him. It's still there. He's just not able to drop it."


If songs tell stories, Kevyn Williams can name a few that tell his. "Love Don't Love Nobody," by the Spinners. "Love's in Need of Love Today," by Stevie Wonder. And before you grab for that box of Kleenex, there's "Happy Feelings" by Frankie Beverly and Maze.

Anyone who's familiar with the first two songs knows they paint a melancholy portrait.

Williams says he's taken a beating in this business. People make a lot of assumptions about him. "Entertainers are so often misunderstood," he says with a sour look on his face. "The positive sides of it are so rewarding, but the negativity is atrocious."

One of the more "atrocious" aspects is trying to develop genuine relationships. Women tend to assume he has a harem, but Williams -- and his ex-wife and family members concur -- is not the cheatin' kind.

"They think there's this stable of women," he says. "It's hard to get somebody to e-mail you without them wondering who else is e-mailing you."

Williams says he'd love to share the company of a "considerate, spiritual, and caring woman," someone who understands he's not the doctor of love 24/7. He admits he has his flaws. And he doesn't shy away from questions about his failed second marriage. "We fought hard, and it's a combination of both of us not being willing to succumb to what it takes for two people to stay married to one another," he says. "Which is continual adaptation. Adapting and adjusting.

"There's no doubt in my mind that we were in love with one another. I don't think she would argue that she didn't feel at the time that it was divine."

Then he abruptly shifts course.

"Obviously, because life is about results," he says, echoing one of his father's favorite sayings, "we weren't in love with each other."

You weren't?

"How can we be?" he says. "We're not together. God is love, and if you don't first commit yourself to God, there's no way in the world you can commit yourself to someone else."

It isn't exactly clear where Williams is going with this. Was she deficient in commitment? Was he?

"Not like I should've been in terms of that relationship," he confesses. "Because, I mean -- we had premarital sex."

Williams then launches into a discourse about commitment to God, which takes priority over a relationship, he says. It's a lesson he's always laying on listeners -- like the man who calls in one night asking for prayer that he and his fiancée will have a happy life together. The couple were expecting a baby and had just moved in together. Rudy V didn't waste any time warning the man that he's got it backward. "Don't you want your union to be blessed by God, brother?" he asks the caller.

"It won't work that way," Williams says, referring to premarital sex and an old-school term, shacking up. "It can, but it's a crapshoot."

One he lost with "Rhonnie."

Looking back, he concedes he jumped into the marriage too soon and failed to forgive. "I'm a very principled individual," he says. "I'd be the first to admit when I am wrong. Humility. Lord knows I could write a book entitled Humility."

Since his breakup with Rhonnie, he's moved on. His parents say he's a better man for it; his failure has made him more patient, they say.

In one of his first interviews with the Dallas Observer, Williams revealed he "had his eye on somebody" when asked whether he was romantically involved. That was in December. Just two months later, the DJ was heard sadly relating to a listener that the relationship hadn't worked out.

Queue up "A House Is Not a Home," by Luther Vandross.

That type of lasting relationship will have to wait. Not that Rudy V is looking for things to do. He's landed a bit part in a locally produced film, and he's working on a novel: When It's Love...The Jeremy Love Story.

It's about a fictional late-night DJ who gives great advice about love but can't keep a woman himself.

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