Roscoe Orman, Aka “Mr. Gordon”, Ordered To Pay Monthly Support To Ex He Left Homeless After 39 Years

September 25, 2013  |  


We told you earlier in the year about Roscoe Orman. The man, who has for years played “Mr. Gordon” on Sesame Street, had been in a long-term relationship with a woman named Sharon Joiner-Orman for 39 years. They had four children together, who are now grown, and she took care of them as well as taking care of their home together while he made a name for himself as an actor. Despite all that they shared, the two never married, though I guess Sharon was okay with that seeing as how they had been an item for decades. Unfortunately, Orman up and decided to leave in 2010 when he found a pretty young thing that gave him the time of day. He gave money to Sharon ($3, 600 a month) to help her since she put her life on hold for him, but just two years later, he married that pretty young thing and ceased sending money to Sharon. She wound up broke after losing the New Jersey home they once shared (though he told her she should move to a smaller home), and has been staying with one of their daughters because she has nowhere else to go. She took Orman to court in order to see if she could get consistent financial help in the form of “palimony,” and just last month a judge ruled in her favor. Palimony, as I’m sure you know, is regarded as the division of finances and property after the end of a live-in relationship.

Though they never made an agreement in writing, as palimony agreements are supposed to go, New Jersey Judge Ned Rosenberg said that Orman will have to resume paying monthly to his ex either way. A hearing is scheduled for next week to determine how much he will have to dole out. In the judge’s ruling he wrote this:

“The court finds the plaintiff (Joiner) has fully performed her end of the bargain (to put it tersely). In addition, there is no way to qualify the value of the services plaintiff provided over the course of 39 years much less the value of foregone educational and work related opportunities. What is more, the defendant does not deny the agreement and even acknowledged the obligation by deeds and words.”

Despite the fact that they were together for so long, the fact that Sharon took his last name somehow, and despite the fact that Orman dedicated his book (Sesame Street Dad: Evolution of an Actor) to her saying, “To my wife, Sharon Joiner-Orman, thanks for providing this story and my life with true meaning,” they were never married. But the court says they were basically (aside from a paper agreement) like a married couple and he owes her for all that she did and gave up for him. We’ll have to wait and see what the court orders him to pay, but any contribution that can help her get on her feet seems only right. But what do you think?


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  • Chas

    I don’t think she deserves a dime. If you don’t want to pay alimony to someone then you don’t marry them, if your don’t want to pay child support you stick it out with the child’s mother til their grown and he took these steps. She should have made a career for herself or demanded to be more than a girlfriend if she wanted the perks of a husband.

    • Cinnamon71

      Preach! She just got too d*mn comfortable.

  • ilovemovies2

    Can’t wait to see how much he’s has to pay! lol

  • IllyPhilly

    39 years and no marry! Only Oprah can get away with something like this… LOL

  • JB#3

    Prime example of what happens to a woman who doesn’t have goals and ambitions of her own. A man is not a financial plan. She should’ve been working during their relationship and saving and investing her earnings. My mother and grandmother told me to never get into a situation with a man where I could not handle all of the bills on my own because if he lost his job or walked out I would still have a roof over my head. Sadly, no one ever told her this.

    • Orrr stop treating a Baby Momma/ Baby Daddy situation like a marriage.

  • Bits

    Good For Her!

  • FromUR2UB

    This has been a particularly stupid woman, repeatedly. First, she lived with the man all those years, and had all those kids, without insisting that he marry her. Then, even after being displaced by a younger woman, she still didn’t see that the gravy train was pulling to stop. It was decent of him to continue to give her $3600 a month for two years after they separated. Their kids are grown, so if he really wanted to be an a**hole, he could have just cut her off and left her to fend for herself. Why wasn’t she motivated to do ANYTHING in those 39 years? She had the luxury of beginning a career in anything she might have wanted to do during that time, but didn’t. At least she could have learned to appy makeup that doesn’t make her look like a member of the circus. She could have done that much.

    • zina

      I agree. He has given her like $118,000 so far. She should have been saving or whatever. That WAS very decent of him. It shows that he does care for her well being. He’s telling her over and over again to get a smaller house. I mean, he’s just Gordon on Sesame Street. He not bringing in the same racks that they pulling on Two and a half Men. Heck, I don’t even know if he’s still on that show. Why should be have to pay for her for the rest of his life? Who knows what his financial situation is now. I’m a woman and I feel bad for him. I say appeal.

      • Cinnamon71

        I agree, Zina! She should have picked up Judge Judy’s book “Beauty Fades but Dumb is Forever” while she was shacked up with her “boo”…smh Women in her situation better stop being so d**n comfortable and put some money away, get a job or both. This economy doesn’t guarantee anything and isn’t forgiving to people who’ve been out of the work force for 40 yrs. I’m with you, I’m sure he isn’t rolling in dough like he used to. She’s definitely going to have to downgrade and find a way to subsidize her new way of life. The gravy train isn’t going to last forever.

      • Me+One

        Off the subject: I just wanted to say hi Zina, I’m a Zina too!!

    • Cinnamon71

      Her problem was that she got too d**m comfortable and didn’t keep a “rainy day fund” stash. She just knew because she spent nearly 40 yrs of her life with a man and birthed 4 babies for him, that qualified her as quasi-wife status and he was on lock…smh She lucked out because if I was that judge, I would have told her to kick rocks. Like I said before when this story broke out a few months ago, he really didn’t owe her a thing as harsh as that sounds. They weren’t living in a common law state and they sure as hell weren’t married.

      Now, what if he was married to someone else, didn’t divorce her and shacked up with Ms. Thang had the kids and then died? The wife would have ended up with the final say and left her out to dry. Go on and scoff at that “piece of paper” if you want to, but don’t come crying to the courts when he decides he’s tired of playing house and using you as target practice and then gets up and gets married..smh

      • niclean

        He would NOT have been able to have a career if he was at home taking care of the kids. It is a proven fact that men live longer and healthier lives with a wife. Doesnt matter if they never walked down the aisle, she was still recognized as his wife. He owed her. Period.

  • dancelover51

    The judge did the right and fair thing as they were for all intents and purposes a married couple. However, I do agree with those below who say that this is a warning sign for women. Get that PAPER. It is for your protection.

  • Candacey Doris

    I think she deserved something for 39 years but i also think she was really foolish not to get married or at least get an agreement in writing after awhile. Marriage may just be a ceremony to some but it sure helps out in situations like these!

  • BillNye

    Nope. Not legally married, you aren’t entitled to my money. Sorry… If I don’t put a ring on it, it’s cause I don’t think very much of you.

    • Then you a bigger fool than her to make 4 kids and support her for 39 years yet you don’t think much of her.

      That’s strange no?

    • Heart2HeartTalk

      Thanks for sharing from a man’s perspective. Hopefully women can use this tid bit of information to make better decisions before compromising their life and values for a dead end relationship.

  • L-Boogie


  • Mividaloca101

    Although I’m not a fan of alimony (it gets horribly abused), I think in this case she deserves every penny.

    • Sunshinegirl

      I’m wondering what the full details of the case are for the judge to side with her. There had to be something that she was able to provide or some compelling testimony.

      • kierah

        She probably got the ruling because Roscoe was paying her initially. If he didn’t think she was entitled to the monthly payment, he should not have began the payments. He set the precedent and she came to rely on that. He would have been better off not paying her dime to begin with.

  • Kam

    If your going to live together then you better be able to handle your marital assets on a single salary because although there are states that recognize common law marriages in the same light as traditional ceremony marriages not all of them do. And even if you started out in a common law state, and moved elsewhere that doesn’t guarantee the recognition of your relationship status. I don’t begrudge anyone the right to live as they see fit, but just know that unless you have something in writing (be it a marriage certificate, co-habitation agreement, etc) to show who gets what, and who pays for what in the event things don’t work out be ready for messy fallout. This lady lucked out, not all judges are as sympathetic.

  • SB

    She has too be the donkey of the day…everyday!!!!!

    • TSLAY

      You mean donkey of the Year, or 39 years!

  • Peep the above for those ladies who are lying and saying “marriage is just a piece of paper and doesn’t mean anything.” If you are going to spend the best 4 decades of your life with a man you better get some paperwork or keep your self ‘single’ literally and figuaratively.

    • JaneDoe

      Folks are crazy.. The marital foundation was put in place for a reason. Its a form stability/ security ( among other things) and the thing with ppl is that they want to pervert that foundation based on their selfish needs. I wish a man would

      • Yes it is. Women need to wise up and not make a baby with some man who isn’t putting his name where his peter is. Women are the ones economically affected most by being single mothers which carries over and impacts their retirement. They better get a clue and think about the business end of making a family and playing house with some man.

        • Cinnamon71

          Preach, Cheekee Baby!!!!

        • Heart2HeartTalk

          Cheekee you telling the truth. Men will string a woman along until he find his “Mrs.” I have seen many of my husband friends date women for years and then end up leaving the poor girl then meeting a new woman and proposing to her after 6 months of dating. There no way in hell I would be sitting around playing house and grooming him for the next chick.

          • The difference between the woman he strings along and the one he wifes is standards. She made hers known because she knew her value. Up your chips ladies and hold your bottom line.

    • 20candycane13

      You are so right!!