The producer of the ABC hit show Black-ish, Kenya Barris spent his birthday in a somewhat unusual way this year. Instead of popping bottles, Kenya was popping pen caps and subsequently filed for divorce from his wife of 20 years last Friday.
The couple married in 1999 and now have six children together. While their recent separation may be a surprise to viewers, Kenya and Raina “Rainbow" Barris have both been candid about their marital struggles in the past. According to Kenya, the breakdown that we saw in Bow and Dre's relationship last year on Black-ish wasn't just a convenient storyline, it was a depiction of their reality. In an interview with Culture last year, Kenya said:
"After the first couple of years of on 'Black-ish, my wife and I actually broke up. We got back together, and it was this really, really difficult time for me."
During the four-episode breakdown of Bow and Dre's marriage, we see that although neither party is in the wrong, you can sometimes come to a point in your marriage where you wonder if anything will ever really feel right again. When discussing the episodes, the producer explained:
"We did not want this to be Team Bow and Team Dre. We wanted to feel like it was an erosion of a relationship that is natural. It's like anything that we care about, that needs repair. [It's not about] cheating or an offense. It's not about the things that we're used to hearing."
Art imitates life, and for Kenya, it was important that he offer a depiction of Black families who weren't as perfect as the Huxtables. Marriage isn't always pudding pops and rainbows, sometimes it takes working through the hurt. He continued:
"We wanted to do something that spoke to the notion of, it's not always going to be easy. You can't have the sweet without the sour. You can't see daylight before you see the night. You can have good times with anyone, but it's really different and much more interesting when you look at how you get through the bad times with someone."
Although apparently, unlike their fictional counterparts, the real Rainbow and Kenya have been unable to work out their differences in the end, I guess it's better to have loved and lost, right? Kenya explained that although he knew that there was a chance that he and his soon to be ex-wife wouldn't make it to happily ever after, he would choose to take the risk 100 times over.
Netflix Emmy After-Party 2018 www.zimbio.com
"There's no other bet in the world that you would ever take where someone will tell you, 'Okay, you can buy this car, but more than half of them blow up the moment you drive off the lot. Okay, you want it?' 'Yeah, you do? Okay, fine.' The odds are probably one of the worst odds in the world. It's counterintuitive to what we know is logical, but still, we do it because that's how strong love is."
Divorce doesn't always mean there's love lost, and we're hoping these two can work out their proceedings amicably. Although neither Rainbow or Kenya have spoken publicly about their divorce, we're keeping their family in our prayers during this rough time.
Featured image by Getty Images.