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Alicia Keys Says She and Swizz Beatz Learned to 'Give Each Other Space' During the Pandemic

Tomás Mier
·4-min read

Ramon Rivas/Mercedes-Benz

"Love Looks Better" when these two are together.

Chatting with PEOPLE ahead of her performance at the world premiere of Mercedes-Benz's EQS, Alicia Keys, 40, revealed the lessons she learned from spending time in quarantine alongside her husband Swizz Beatz and their two kids: Egypt, 10, and Genesis, 6.

"So much of our life is spent traveling. Obviously, with [the pandemic], we're literally seeing each other every day," she says. "We looked at each other the other day and were like 'So this is what it's really like to be married.' It was really funny."

"But you know what?" the 15-time Grammy winner adds. "We're really good."

Being hunkered down has allowed them to find ways to spend quality time while giving each other their appropriate space, Keys, 40, says.

Amy Sussman/Getty Images Alicia Keys

RELATED: Alicia Keys' Husband Swizz Beatz Wishes His 'Queen' a Happy 40th: 'I Love the Way You Love Me'

"I think one of the things we're really good at is giving each other the space that we need. That's not a hard thing for us. And even just being intuitive about what each other needs is also something that comes really fluid for us," she says. "We'll always check in and we're always making sure we're good."

"It's a nice balance," she continues. "You're creating and be in your space and then also the togetherness. It's been wonderful. A lot more family dinners. I really like to make Sundays the time that we can all be together and do things that's not digitally attached. So we play a lot of board games, we'll watch movies together, we'll do bike rides and stuff like that."

"And, he's definitely a real prankster and a jokester. He always keeps us laughing," she adds about her husband.

Their closeness has been especially helpful as the two grieve the loss of rapper DMX, who was a close family friend. (Beatz shared an emotional video as a tribute following his death over the weekend.)

RELATED VIDEO: Alicia Keys Reveals Her Secret Struggles In Emotional New Book: 'I was Building My Life Around an Image of Perfection'

"It's a huge [loss]," Keys says. "It's always hard to say goodbye, especially too soon and to someone that you love. My husband has definitely been doing really well with just talking through what he feels and talking about it with the kids and even on his socials."

"We're told that guys don't express their grief and that's such a lie," she adds. "We've been talking a lot about just being able to feel how you feel and let that process and not rush that."

And their kids are also checking on them. "The kids are really sweet. They go into the room and ask if they can do anything. I think that's important for them to see how to be thinking about other people and what they're going through," Keys says.

Keys explains that self-care has also been at the forefront at their household and making sure that everyone is prioritizing "what brings us joy."

RELATED: Swizz Beatz Honors Late 'Brother' DMX: He 'Would Take Care of Everybody Before Himself'

"We talk a lot about breathing, especially my youngest," she says with a laugh about Egypt. "He needs a lot of breathing. We talk about calming your breath and listening to what your body needs, if you're tired or if you're frustrated. Or if you're feeling like you need more time alone, or if you need more time with mommy to really try to verbalize it so that we can work through it."

PEOPLE's conversation with Keys comes as she was named a global partner for Mercedes-Benz, a collaboration she describes as "excellent." (Watch her performance at the 17:35 mark in the above video.)

"During these times, it's about focused on family and what really matters. There's a certain kind of technology that they always explore for safety," she says about the luxury car brand. "There's been a lot of synchronicity. A lot of real, genuine energy. And there are so many different wings of collaboration that we're doing through music and through art and through empowering women. So it's really cool."

"And now, the new EQS is pretty extra fire," she adds about the brand's new electric vehicle.