All Articles Tagged "marriage"

Should You Take Your Bonnet Off For Your Man?

February 27th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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We’ve already talked about the communication problems Kandi and Todd are having, all being played out on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” In addition to dealing with distance and the failing of their musical, “A Mother’s Love,” the two are only having sex once a week.

And Kandi is in her feelings about it. So she suggests that they attend marriage counseling. Todd doesn’t really think it’s that deep and feels that if they make some compromises, they should be good. But apparently, “they” is just Kandi.

He did have a suggestion about how they could fix their bedroom issues.

“Let’s be real. I’m not Tyson Beckford and you’re not Rihanna. When’s the last time you didn’t have the bonnet on and you put some heels on?” 

Then Kandi said: “I had the bonnet on my hair before we got married and it was not a problem.”

Todd: If I say the bonnet doesn’t turn me on, you gotta be like ‘You know what well maybe I don’t need the bonnet on. Like, you have to compromise. 

And then in his confessional:

“Man have you seen a lady at night with a bonnet on? The most thirstiest dude wouldn’t get it up!” 

The words sound harsher typed out than they actually were, which is why I included the video at the top. So you can get a true sense. The way they discussed this situation, with jokes, laughter and even some touchy-feely throughout, I think Todd and Kandi will be just fine.

But this bonnet discussion has always been so fascinating to me.  I mean, Black women have been wearing bonnets for at least a century at this point. But all of a sudden Black men are coming out of the woodworks talking about how they don’t find them sexy.

Before Todd, there was Shawn Bullard from “Match Made In Heaven” and one of our male writers made a similar comment about bonnets killing the mood in a random g-chat conversation.

I mean, I get that they’re not exactly the sexiest things around but since when did a bonnet stop someone from getting it in? As a man, you can make a production out of ripping the bonnet off before you get started or gauge your skills in the amount of time it takes for you to work it off during the deed itself.

I’m with Kandi, Todd knew about her bonnet before they got married. Just like a whole lot of other Black men. Someone suggested that Black men started dating White women and now they want to act brand new. Who knows? But the brothas gotta be more sympathetic to our hair struggle. Matter of fact, if they think back to the days when they were wearing braids and waves, they know that they used to have to sleep with a scarf on as well.

Black hair requires care.

And we’re not our hair but our hair is a part of our lives. And just like other elements of life, when it comes to sex, you just have to work around it.

Breaking The Code Sneak Peek: Should Women Be Sexy For Their Man All The Time?

February 24th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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Attraction is a huge part of the dating game for both sexes, but we all know women tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to attracting a mate. Not only do men hope we show up looking like video vixens on the first date, even when we manage to get into a committed relationship we’re somehow expected to be sexy for our lover all.the.damn.time. Is this just the price women have to pay to keep a happy home or do men need to chill with all the requirements about our physical upkeep? Check out this sneak peek of our Breaking The Code attraction episode and tune in Friday for the full video.

Is It Cheaper To Keep Her? Financial Divorce Dodgeball

February 19th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Woman returned wedding ring to husband/divorce

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At some point, folks really need to start thinking about their happiness.

I am in no way an expert on marriage, but I do know a thing or two about healthy and happy relationships. I’m blessed to say my guy and I have been together for seven years and are coming up on our third wedding anniversary. As a child of divorce, it was a bit difficult at first to navigate our life as husband and wife given I didn’t have the best example growing up. Even with my parents’ split, I’m happy they did what they could to put their differences aside and develop a healthy co-parenting partnership that was void of drama.

I just wish some people in my camp would get it together. I’m really tired of hearing about the same old problems.

We have a close family friend who has been married to his wife for five years — and for five years he has done nothing but complain about his situation. Come to think of it, the brother was complaining before he got married which should have been a red flag. Aside from being annoying (he’s a grown man who married younger), we all can’t help but wonder why he’s staying with his wife if she’s really that bad. From what we know, she doesn’t cook, clean or enjoy physical encounters if you know what I mean. After several failed attempts to reignite their flame through therapy, nothing appears to be working. The two have a child together, which I think is one of the main reasons he’s trying so hard to stick it out. Even though he makes more money and their home is his, he thinks she will take their son away and he won’t get equal custody or visitation. He’s also nervous she’ll take him to the cleaners.

Is it really cheaper to keep her–or him if the roles were reversed?

I always thought that concept applied to folks who made some serious money, but I guess not. It’s one thing to try and stay in a relationship for the sake of your child, but in most cases, that can do more harm than good–considering how unhealthy the relationship will become over time. My father has two marriages under his belt with the last costing him dearly. Even though he knew in the back of his head he shouldn’t have said “I do,” he made the decision to couple up with a woman who had no problems expressing her love for gold (to say the least). While their divorce set him back financially — to the point of almost filing for bankruptcy — he knew his sanity and well-being were more important. After years of saving, he’s currently enjoying the retired life in a new home free of debt… and my former stepmother.

If there was ever a moral to this story, it’s to figure out how compatible you are with someone before you get into a marriage. In addition to their quarrels and arguments, these two don’t see eye-to-eye when it comes to finances. He saves, she spends. Money is one of the top reasons why folks split, but apparently it could be the thing keeping these two together. Sometimes financial backlash is an investment worth taking–especially if you have the time and will to better your situation.

Who knows what will happen to these two. Hopefully others won’t make the same mistakes, or at least learn from them should they happen. Here are some reads that might help in this arena:

The Financial Kiss of Death? There’s More to Marriage Than a Fancy Wedding

When the Future of Marriage is Over Before it Begins: Financial Tips for Calling Off a Wedding

How to Resolve Money Issues in Your Marriage

The Financial Do’s and Don’ts of Engagement

Second Marriages Will Affect Your Social Security Benefits

February 17th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Social Security Benefits

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If you’re thinking about remarrying when you get older, think again. USA Today reports, Social Security makes many of your life decisions complicated and when marriage and divorce are entered into the equation it becomes thorny. The media outlet states, a person can begin receiving their Social Security benefits at 62 but if he or she waits until they are 66, they can earn a larger benefit. If delayed until 70 years of age, a person will earn their maximum security benefit.

If you are married, you and your spouse will be eligible for spousal benefit at 62 but will receive it in reduced amounts. Depending on the timing, you can take your own benefits early and then add in the spousal benefit at a later date. However, if you divorce your first spouse and want to remarry, you will be no longer eligible for your first spouse’s benefit package. Despite finding a new partner, it may benefit a person if they remain unmarried. However, it may be difficult to provide that new partner with their own spousal and survivor benefits from you. USA Today financial expert Jim Blakenship gave “Carol” as an example:

“Carol, 62, divorced Bob several years ago after a 20-plus-year marriage. Bob, 10 years her senior, has a Social Security record that would provide a significant spousal benefit for Carol – $12,000 per year if she takes it at 66, her full retirement age. She will claim her own benefit at 70. By then it’ll be considerably larger, roughly $31,680 per year. This had been Carol’s plan all along, but then she met Ted, and they were considering getting married. If she marries Ted, Carol cannot receive a spousal benefit based on his record at 66. She also loses the spousal benefit from Bob’s record. But if they don’t get married, Ted would not be able to receive the spousal and survivor benefit based on Carol’s record.”

Blakenship suggested Carol and Ted delay getting married until she is 70 and purchase a 10-year level term life insurance policy that would equate into the total amount of survivor benefits for Ted. If Carol’s first husband Bob dies before she turns 70, Ted and Carol can get married with her spousal benefits from Bob being affected.

Whew… got all that? Kind of incredible that a big emotional decision like marriage would have to be considered within the context of these benefits. Is it worth getting married for a second time?

Relationship Goals: Why Marriage Shouldn’t Be Your Goal Before Thirty

February 14th, 2015 - By Toya Sharee
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relationship goals

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There’s a pretty popular meme floating around on Instagram that goes, “If marriage isn’t the goal, I don’t know why you’re in the relationship.” And it bothers the hell out of me. I believe there’s something to be said for having a diverse dating history, and that marriage should be about more than a check mark on some lifetime achievement list.

I guess the meme is supposed to encourage women to not settle for relationships that seem to have no clear future. While I agree with that, I think sometimes searching for marriage material in a person from the start can place unnecessary pressure on a relationship that could potentially grow into a good thing. All headhunting for a husband does in your twenties is make you frustrated and scare away men that could have been future husbands of the year if you weren’t blinded by your own thirst.

Becoming “good” at relationships requires a fair share of failure. The truth is most of what I learned about what I wanted in a marriage and a mate was due to the heartbreak, bad dates and sexual fumbles I had while simply just dating.

Have sex and lots of it. The reason many women end up 40 and sexually frustrated is that they never took the time to discover their own bodies and what they enjoy, let alone sample some different “situations” to see what their bodies responded to best. Try different things. You may decide that doggy style just isn’t for you but at least you won’t have to go put out an APB for your missing orgasm during your mid-life crisis. Your twenties aren’t just about discovering your career path or who your real friends are, they’re about discovering what makes you smile, above and below your belt. I could’ve died the other day while watching “The Real” when Adrienne Bailon told Tamar Braxton that “Fifty Shades of Grey” would probably be just “meh” to them, but for sexually frustrated middle-aged women across the world it was everything. I think that’s because woman have made to feel that they’re wrong for exploring the limits of their sexuality, that they needed to get “wifed up” first and before they knew it they were 40 and just figuring out that a cream pie isn’t just something you find in a bakery.

I’m not saying to exercise complete indiscretion and take every invitation at romance that comes your way, but how do you create standards that truly reflect what you want in a partner both sexually and romantically if you aren’t somewhat open-minded to all that’s out there?

We’ve placed the idea of husband, wife and holy matrimony on a pedestal so high that we’ve lost the focus on what having a good marriage is all about. Many women today are too worried about competing with the next on a scavenger hunt for career, husband and kids that they’re not stopping to think about if it’s what they truly want and if so what way it does it fit into their lives. There are all kinds of “good” husbands from Dr. Heathcliffe Huxtable to Roseanne’s ride or die Dan Connor. No one is stopping to think about what it is they actually want because they just want the ability to say they have it.

If you’re a fan of Being Mary Jane and recently tuned in for the premiere of the second season, you might remember a scene in which MJ confronts a close friend and reveals to her that she’s jealous of her for having it all. Her friend then reveals to her that what she didn’t see was the heated argument she and her husband had on the way over. Of course our peers’ lives appear to be perfect through that Facebook feed, but we have to check that we aren’t comparing someone else’s cover shot with the parts of our lives we’ve gathered from the cutting room floor.

I’d like to go a step further and remind people that perfection is always a work in progress. In order to one day be the Michelle to your own Barack Obama, you might have to get through your Mimi Faust moments with your own Stevie J. I say that to say husband and/or wife material takes time to develop usually through a person’s own relationship failures and successes. There are couples who seem perfect now, but that’s only because they braved through infidelity, being broke, being ugly, etc. together and didn’t just bail out because their situation didn’t look all shiny and pretty at that moment. I always laugh when people talk about how great of a relationship I have with my hard-working, dedicated husband. Because those who have been around since the beginning know that at one point he was a twenty-something bachelor, who when he wasn’t working to damn death was forgetting the names of the different women he woke up next to. I’m not saying as a young woman you should accept anything from a man, but you do have to trust the process and make peace with the fact that very few people are husband/wife material in their twenties. I’m not proud of everything I’ve done in my past relationships, but there’s a certain amount of life experience that walks of shame, ratchet arguments and drunken decisions have granted me that has made me better able to decipher what I truly want in a mate and a marriage.

After a certain age marriage might be a goal, but if a woman knows she wants a family, it should be a priority that is clearly communicated. In the meantime your twenties are all about discovering what you can and want to deal with forever. Some women can marry their high school sweethearts and live happily ever after, but I’ve witnessed many situations in which a woman spent so much of her twenties chasing a husband, that she never really got to know herself and not only what she wanted out of love, but out of life as well. And there’s so much more to it besides getting a ring put on it. I guess all I’m saying is appreciate the WTF moments. It may not seem like it now, but your twenties are custom made for the diversity of dating. That way, you don’t spend your retirement holding any resentment over the romances that could’ve been and mourning any missing orgasms.

Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a  passion for helping  young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health.  She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about  everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.

Tips For Finding A Date This Valentine’s Day From The Co-Founders Of Black Dating App MELD

February 11th, 2015 - By Blair Bedford
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Image Source: Meld

Image Source: Meld

With the influx of online dating sites and apps available to singles, meeting someone has become (seemingly) easier than ever. Although dating sites and apps are getting more and more users to use their platforms to find love each year, the statistics behind single African-American women successfully meeting and finding someone online are still grim compared to other women. According to Quartz, data compiled from Facebook’s dating app Are You Interested found Black men and women receive the lowest response rates on many online dating sites than any other race.
Although the research provides a grim reality for the up to 70 percent of professional Black women who are single, dating apps like MELD are working to combat these statistics with a curated platform specifically for black professionals looking for love.

Raissa Tona and Wale Ayeni, the co-founders of MELD, saw the market for a platform for Black professionals to meet and match online a year ago, and have grown since their app launched for iOS six months ago.

“The black professional market [on dating sites and apps] is underserved. There are plenty of dating apps out there that serve a bunch of different segments, but none are catering to the black professional,” says Ayeni. “The premise of MELD is that we are creating a platform for black professionals to date and to mingle and to provide an avenue where you can find like-minded people.”

With Valentine’s Day approaching, MadameNoire spoke with the co-founders of MELD to discuss their dating app, the stigma of online dating in the Black community and how you can snag a date this Valentine’s Day weekend.

MadameNoire: What have you experienced so far from African-American professionals on MELD?
Raissa Tona: I think we are still educating. Even on MELD, we have female [users] who will email us and thank us for creating the app and have met someone they are dating from the app, but don’t want anyone to know publicly. I don’t think we are at the point where we have removed that stigma completely. I think it’s changing, but it hasn’t changed to where it is as acceptable as it is in some other communities.

Wale Ayeni: We have gotten a lot of users on MELD who has never been on a dating site before. We designed the app in such a way that it is welcoming and not intrusive.

MN: Do you see more of that acceptance to meet someone on dating apps and sites with African-American men or women?
WA:
I think it’s about 60/40, 40 percent male and 60 percent female, which matches the professional demographic out there.

MN: What are some tips you have for Black professionals looking for love online for the first time?
RT:
 I would tell people that there’s no reason why you should be single and not doing something about it in 2015. If you are single and want to connect with other Black professionals, MELD is there.

But there is no reason you should be sitting home alone on Valentine’s Day, especially as a professional. As a professional, you are going to work and probably doing some type of networking or hitting the gym or doing your side hustle. So why not use a tool to make [dating] more efficient? And we are not saying that the only place you can meet people is online. You should go out and meet people and have conversations.

[Finally,] one of the things that we tell people is to be honest. A lot of people don’t put up pictures that represent themselves.

MN: What are some innovative ways Black singles can put themselves out there to date or just have fun this Valentine’s Day weekend?
RT:
Develop interests that are outside of your profession. [MELD] allows users to have more than five pictures, and in those five pictures, our goal is for users to represent themselves and their interests in those five pictures. So, if you like to travel, make sure one of those pictures is a travel picture. If you like to cook, you should display that. People are very visual, and they like to know that there is more to you.

Also, conversation through online and texts can be interpreted a certain way, so pick-up lines that don’t work in the normal world don’t work online. Maybe start the conversation, when reaching out to a person for the first time, with mentioning something about one of their five pictures. You’ll probably stand out to people who have probably reached out to them. So, say something that is unique and not contrived.

You can find more about the MELD app by following them on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or download the app for free on iTunes. Download and join MELD to attend one of the three Valentine’s Day events that are hosting exclusively for their users in Washington D.C., Houston and San Francisco this coming weekend.

Women Scorned: The Most Hair-Raising Cases Of Revenge On The Internet

February 9th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

Have you ever gotten revenge on a cheating-ex? Cheating is always wrong but these cases of revenge dropped our jaws to the floor.

“Ain’t No Man In Their Right Mind Gonna Marry Her Now!” Editors Debate The Idea Of Marrying Yourself

January 27th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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The Internets — or should we say nosy, judgmental folks — are still in an uproar over 40-year-old Houston native Yasmin Eleby having the audacity, as some would say, to marry herself this past weekend. In fact, we got into a rather spirited debate in the office ourselves over whether the backlash against Yasmin is valid, or simply proves the point that it’s okay to love yourself — so long as you don’t love yourself too much.

Is there really any difference between marrying yourself and two people jumping the broom, is this woman doomed to a life of singlehood now that she’s had this service, is she giving up on love? Watch as MadameNoire’s editors debate this with editors from our sister site, StyleBlazer, and our brother site, HipHopWired. Weigh in in the comments section.

Serious Question: What’s Wrong With Marrying Yourself?

January 27th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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Houston woman marries herself in lavish wedding ceremony to celebrate her 40th birthday.

Twitter

Over the weekend, the Black-hand side of the Internet went chocolate bananas over a story about a woman who married herself.

As we previously reported:

With her 40th birthday approaching and no potential husband in sight, Yasmin Eleby chose to gift herself with the elaborate wedding she’d always dreamed of. However, instead of vowing to love, forgive and honor a significant other, the Houston resident made the lifelong promises to herself.

The ceremony was held at the Houston Museum of African American Culture on Saturday, January 3 and included 10 bridesmaids and three ministers, who assisted with the spiritual ceremony. She was walked down the aisle and given away (or as Black Art in America put it, given back to herself) by her mother. Entertainment for the evening included live music provided by guitarist Ben Black, poet Deidra Smith and singer Rennette E. Lucien. The ceremony was coordinated by event planner Darrell Colone. Honeymoon plans are unclear, but according to BAIA, Eleby enjoys traveling and intends to visit Cambodia, Laos, and the jazz festival taking place in Dubai this year.

Eleby’s nuptials to herself are nothing new. In fact, this kind of story seems to reproduce itself in the headlines at least twice a year. The interesting, or I guess compelling aspect of this particular story is that she is a Black woman. And of course, this plot twist brings up all sorts of passionate and sometimes ugly analysis about the marriageability and overall lovability of Black women.

Instead of seeing the idea of marrying yourself as an affirming act of self-love, many folks just see it as a pathetic and desperate cry for attention. This has  pretty much been the reaction from those commenting under the various blogs and news sites running the story. But as Gina McCauley noted on the What About Our Daughters Facebook page:

She gets an A for not waiting to celebrate herself and a D- for doing so within the construct of marriage supremacy.

If you’ve been waiting on a wedding, just throw yourself ridiculous birthday party.

Big ups to her friends for playing along with this and buying bridesmaid dresses.

I couldn’t agree with that sentiment more. The pressure women specifically feel to be married, and with children, by the time we get to 40 can be overwhelming. I mean, women are raised on this  since birth. If our parents aren’t molding us with the idea that we aren’t fully realized human beings until we are legally bound to a man, then it is society at large, through its film and television and other forms of media, that does the same.

Outside of the societal pressure to marry, there is the emotional desire of just wanting to be loved. For whatever reason, folks hate admitting it, but who doesn’t dream of holding hands, slow kissing and sharing a single ice cream float with someone special? I know I do. All the time.

And yet, when the heart is lonely and there are no prospects  in sight, not finding the one can be both an emotionally and even spiritually unsettling experience. This is especially true if you are the type of person who has all sorts of timetables and benchmarks about love and when it is supposed to happen. Those kinds of expectations can leave a person questioning all sorts of things about their lives and all the decisions ever made in it. If not at least severely depressed.

Yet Eleby, it seems, didn’t go that route. Or maybe she did, but found a way to heal herself. Whatever her process, it led her to the point where she could confidentially say, forget tradition, social constructs and the need for other people to validate me. I’m just going to validate myself by throwing a huge party and having everyone come and celebrate me, with me.

And yeah, it might sound slightly insecure, but there are a lot more insecure and destructive things she could be doing to make herself feel whole:  Rushing into relationships and/or marriage with any ol’ man who doesn’t care about her;  Rushing into a relationship with a man who steals from her; Rushing into a relationship with a man who cheats on her; Rushing into a relationship with a man who doesn’t value her; Or even worse, rushing into a relationship with a man who is flat-out abusive. So many women have rushed into bad relationships just for the alleged “privilege” of saying they have a man, only to be miserable and doubly burdened – as there is nothing worse than feeling lonely and unloved while you’re actually with someone. And I know this from experience…

While calling it a wedding is all kinds of lame and not even legal, I do understand the symbolism behind making a life-long commitment to yourself – from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do “me” part. And just as great as the pledge of self-love is the acknowledgement received from  all the people in her life who love her. I don’t know if anyone had a chance to see the wedding pictures, but this wasn’t a simple backyard affair. Her wedding party was pretty huge. I’m talking mom, grandma, aunties and all sorts of good friends who came to witness this grand gesture of self-love.

And not only did they come to be a witness, but they also brought dresses and shoes, got their hair and nails done, and likely took off from work to go to the “wedding” rehearsal. There is value in having girlfriends and folks around you who will indulge you in your craziness. That goes to show you how great of a person she is and how loved she really is by not only herself, but others as well. Sometimes we need reminders of that.I know I need a reminder from time to time.

I got one this past weekend when I hosted my first dance fitness class. I’ve written before about my aim to be a “fat (I’m a size 10 now, down from a size 16-18)” fitness instructor. Folks, including many of you in the comment section, have laughed at my dream, telling me that no one would want to take fitness instruction from someone who doesn’t look the part (even as I have dropped considerable amounts of weight doing exactly what I’m fixing to teach). There might be some truth to that, however, I’m at the age now where what others say matters less than what I want and believe I deserve. And when I hosted my class, which was by invite only, everyone who I asked to come showed up and worked out with me. After the class was over, they congratulated me, told me they learned something and encouraged me to host another one. Now most of these people might have come only because we’re friends and they wanted to show support, but that’s exactly my point. I am loved. It may not be by the people (i.e., men and all those  I sought validation from over the years) who I desire  to love me, but it’s good to know that there are people who are happy that I am here and value me in their lives. That, for me at least, is enough.

As I have matured into adulthood, which includes going through hurt and pain that I honestly thought would break me for good, I realize that loving yourself isn’t a destination, but rather, an on-going journey that must be reaffirmed every single day. Now I’m not saying that I would do the wedding thing. If it was me, I probably would have just thrown myself a huge party, taken a trip somewhere around the world, or hosted another dance class. However, I certainly understand where Eleby is coming from and admire her for having the gumption to live life on her own terms.

 

Should “I Do” Last Forever? These 15 Celebs Don’t Think So

January 24th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Should all celebrity marriages last forever? These stars certainly didn’t think so. Were their make ups to breakups justified? Or should they have tried harder to stick it out?

Image Source: WENN.com

Image Source: WENN.com

NeNe Leakes

NeNe Leakes agreed to “in sickness” and “in health” but not “in infidelity.” When her husband Gregg Leakes let fame get to his head, Real Housewives of Atlanta star NeNe Leakes handed him divorce papers. Not only did he clean up his act, but the tow got re-married on one of TV’s most star-studded weddings.