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Six years after their chaotic and intense divorce was finalized, Robin Thicke and Paula Patton just might have finally figured out what works for them when it comes to co-parenting their son Julian, 10, and keeping the conflict between them at a minimum.

While speaking with PEOPLE, Thicke opened up about where things stand between him and Patton, and how the two have been able to come to a peaceful understanding. Despite their contentious rollercoaster dynamic over the past several years, Thicke explained that even though things were particularly rocky when they first announced their split, over time he’s been able to appreciate Patton as one of the mothers of his children. According to him, Julian’s wellbeing is what’s most important to them both.

“There’s so much emotion when you first break up and there’s so much stuff that spills over. But time heals those wounds, and she’s an incredible person,” the singer told the outlet about his ex-wife. Speaking on how Julian was the most important priority in he and Patton’s dynamic, Thicke continued, “Once you can put yourself second, your son rises to the top and you go, ‘It’s not about us anymore.’ We’re very lucky the way everything has worked out.”

Thicke and Patton had a long history together before they separated. After meeting when they were just teenagers, the two decided to get married in 2005 and stayed together for 9 years before things came to a crashing halt in 2014. In the aftermath of Thicke finally achieving mainstream success with his 2013 hit song, “Blurred Lines,” and the singer dropping Paula (his seventh studio album) Patton still went through with divorcing Thicke, and allegations of cheating, physical abuse, and drug abuse added to their tumulous split.

“My marriage to Paula was crumbling,” the singer recalled during the interview. “I started using painkillers. It was a melting pot of trouble brewing, and I was so arrogant that I thought I could handle it all. That year was a whirlwind of fame, success and overindulgence all coming to a head. The painkillers became part of the release. I was in a bad place.”

As another tough blow, Thicke and Patton went through a really ugly custody battle that didn’t end until August of 2017. If you recall, in January of that year, Thicke was even investigated by the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services after Julian’s school reportedly told them that the child said Thicke had been spanking him. As a part of his defense, Thicke noted that he and Patton had agreed on spanking their son as a form of discipline when the two got married. Additionally, he said he felt Patton was using this incident to lessen the time he was allowed to spend with Julian in retaliation against him because she wasn’t invited to his late father’s funeral.

Despite all the negativity that happened between them, PEOPLE noted Thicke confirming that now, things between him and Patton “have never been better” thanks to a solid system of “communication” and “transparency.”

“We’re co-parenting at our very best, and it shows in Julian’s results,” Thicke commented. “He’s thriving and has really blossomed this last year. He’s so devoted to school. He’s the opposite of me: I was the class clown in the back row. He’s in the front of class and loves going to school.”

Overall it sounds like after all the trouble and turmoil their family went through, Thicke and Patton have finally been able to reach a healthy place in their relationship, and even have an amicable co-parenting strategy. Good for them. Hopefully the two can keep things moving forward in a positive way.

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