John Legend — a man so talented he became one of only 15 stars to achieve EGOT status last year — is making history yet again: the 40-year-old singer has now been crowned PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive.
After taking home his first Grammy in 2006 with his debut album Get Lifted, the star began a steady ascension to superstardom while using his voice for good. Unabashedly in love with his wife Chrissy Teigen and a doting father to their kids, 3½-year-old daughter Luna and 18-month-old son Miles, Legend has become one of Hollywood’s biggest stars while remaining as down-to-earth as ever.
So it’s no surprise that the Voice coach, whose deluxe edition of A Legendary Christmas is available now, had a mix of emotions when he first heard about his latest title.
“I was excited, but I was a little scared at the same time because it’s a lot of pressure,” the entertainer tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “Everyone’s going to be picking me apart to see if I’m sexy enough to hold this title. I’m [also] following Idris Elba, which is not fair and is not nice to me!”
Legend is PEOPLE’s 34th Sexiest Man Alive, joining a long list of Hollywood’s hottest, starting with a then-29-year-old Mel Gibson in 1985.
With a buttery voice and unparalleled musical skills, the star — who entered the University of Pennsylvania at just 16 years old — says his mother, Phyllis, a seamstress, was his first and biggest fan.
“Whenever we had opportunities to sing in church or in school, my mom would suggest that I do it,” he says. “She always encouraged me.”
But most importantly, Legend says his parents, including his dad Ronald, a factory worker, taught him to remain humble and kind.
“My father taught me about character. He taught us by example. He always conducted himself with such grace and dignity,” he says. “My parents always taught me that if you’re going to succeed in life, part of success is having humility. It’s a good way to live life, treating other people the way you want to be treated.”
And now with his gorgeous family and an endless list of accolades, the star is happier — and more confident — than ever.
“I’m so proud that I have a wife and two kids I’m so in love with and so connected to. I’m also so proud of my career,” he says. “I love writing songs and performing on stage. I get a lot of joy from it and give a lot of joy to other people. I’m pretty at ease with myself now!”