Calling all fans of the 1996 classic film, The First Wives Club! BET+ original series The First Wives Club has begun streaming today (September 19) in conjunction with our streaming service's official launch. The series is a spin on the original and this time singer/actress Jill Scott (Hazel), comedian Michelle Buteau (Bree) and This Is Us star Ryan Michelle Bathe (Ari) are taking the lead.
In honor of the new series, we wanted to pay homage to some real-life first wives that inspire the story line that so many women are familiar with and can relate to. From Tina Knowles-Lawson to Monica, these ladies are leveling up despite setbacks in their love lives. Whether they’ve found a new man, a new career or their voice again, they are goals.
If you didn't already know, Miss Tina birthed Beyoncé so that already sets the tone for her level up. Bey spilled on not only her own marriage to Jay Z when she dropped Lemonade, but also her parents' marriage. Miss Tina got divorced from Matthew Knowles when she was 58-years-old, after 33 of marriage. It was discovered Bey's dad was fathering another child outside of his marriage to Miss Tina and got remarried right after the divorce, but shortly after in 2015, Tina married the love of her life actor, Richard Lawson who gave a new meaning to this next chapter of her life.
"I just have to say that, most of the times in my life that things have been the toughest and the worst and I thought I would die and not get through them, they turned out to be the best times. If you are going through it, just know it's called 'going through it,' you're not going to get stuck there, you are not going to die, you are going to survive.
My daughter wrote a song called 'Survivor' some years ago and it's my favorite song by them because it says, 'When the times get bad, I'm going to work harder. I'm going to keep pushing and I'm going to keep positive and make it happen because I'm a survivor.' That's been the story of my life." —Tina Knowles-Lawson, International Women's Day Speech
The 'Queen of Hip Hop Soul' announced that she and Kendu Isaacs were getting divorced in June of 2016, after 12 years of marriage. Mary has explained in interviews since that although it took time to realize, she knows that they weren't meant to be. The single life has treated the singer well. Most recently she was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 BET Awards and delivered a powerhouse performance.
"When you come out of something like that, you realize you were never the one. There was someone else that was his queen. I got played. I got suckered. I have to keep smiling and keep my spirits up because this is designed to kill me." —Mary J. Blige, Variety
Torrei was married to Kevin Hart, but the pair called it quits in 2011, after nearly eight years of marriage and two kids together. Kevin has since remarried to Eniko Parrish and they share a son together. The comic gave insight into their marriage in his early comedy specials with plenty of jokes, but after divorce Torrei got to say her piece.
"... Having that strong faith and background helped me get through a lot. I trusted in God. I did a 30-day fast about two years ago and I would pray for an hour a day and plead to God 'please help me get through what I'm going through. I'm trusting in you, I know there's something for me.' That is how I got through. There was a lot of days when I was very weak and didn't think I would make it but leaning on [God] is what got me through." —Torrei Hart, Christian Post
Wendy Williams may be one of the newest member of the first wives club that's in the limelight since she's currently going through hers. The TV talk show host filed for divorce from Kevin Hunter after discovering infidelities that led to him getting another women pregnant, but that didn't stop her Hot Girl Summer. Actually, Wendy was out on the town looking the happiest and healthiest she's ever been all summer '19.
“From my mother, I’ve learned how to make lemons into lemonade in life. What am I supposed to do? Sit in the house and cry?"
"That’s why I’m going into season 11 and he’s changing pampers.” —Wendy Williams, The View
Mashonda married producer Swizz Beatz, with whom she shares a son with. The now exes announced their separation in 2008 and their divorce was finalized in 2010. Swizz married Alicia Keys soon after, to which Mashonda admitted it took time to "be cool" with Alicia. Today the trio are co-parenting goals. Mashonda even wrote a highly-acclaimed book about her experience, Blend: The Secret to Co-Parenting and Creating a Balanced Family. “I’m using my own story as a testimony,” said Tifrere. “It’s my divine purpose.”
“It took two years into our blending to make it happen, but when we did it was like turning the light on. We realized we could minimize the impact on our children by reducing the conflict we had with one another. There were never any big blowouts. There were times when we didn’t fully agree, but we were all comfortable just letting it go.” —Mashonda, PEOPLE
Monica says there's no hate when it comes to her ongoing divorce with ex-NBA player Shannon Brown. Unlike many other celebrity divorces, she claims infidelity was not the problem. The mom of three children, which whom she shares with Shannon is a testament to taking the high road. We recently witnessed her glow during her performance at BET’s 2019 Black Girls Rock.
“No matter what happens, he will always get my absolute respect, gratitude and also my assistance in being a part of whatever his life becomes ... I’ll be there to support because that’s what I vowed to do, even when the other side of it does not work.” —Monica, RuPaul Show
(Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tiffany & Co., Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
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