“Nothing. No one knows that but I had nothing,” she said, starting to tear up. “Nothing in the bank. Nothing. I had maybe $7 to my name and I was scared. It was like I was starting all over.”
The former couple’s divorce proceedings were contentious after they initially gave the impression that they going to keep things peaceful. Money was something that created even more tension, with the actress claiming he hid money from her during their marriage, allegations of a bankruptcy scam and at one point, and them seeking spousal support from one another Two years later, she’s in a much better and financially stable place thanks to all the work she’s been doing lately (including co-hosting the Soul Train Awards and a new sitcom co-starring Lucy Lui in the works). She also said she’s been able to bounce back with support from her sons.
“The fact that I did raise children who didn’t care about the big mansion that I had or that we had to start over or any of it,” she said, tearing up again. “Starting over is not always the easiest thing, but it is the necessary thing. It’s a beautiful devastation.”
When asked if she’s open to finding love again, as of right now, the star emphatically said, “No. Hell no!”
“I’m the happiest I’ve ever been and I don’t want a relationship so don’t ask me that sh-t no more!” she joked.
If you’d like to learn more about Campbell and Martin’s marriage, divorce and see throwback photos from their time together, hit the flip.
Campbell and Martin married in 1996 around the height of her popularity due to her work on Martin. Back in 1997, she talked about their relationship on the Conan O’Brien Show and playfully admitted that she though he was a “male chauvinist.”
She claimed he said, “It’s an unwritten rule that women are supposed to cook for their men.” However, she told O’Brien that things were “great” between them and “we’re having fun together.”
Back when OWN had their series It’s Not You It’s Men with Tyrese and Rev Run, Campbell said during an appearance that after being married for so many years, she and Martin had to be careful not to get too comfortable.
“It’s a phase that you can get into if you’re not careful. The ‘aight, love ya’ phase. Where it’s like, you’re doing your thing, I’m doing my thing — ‘aight, love ya.’ That’s where a lot of couples get in trouble. That’s where cheating, divorce, all that stuff comes into play. I just told my husband, ‘you love me, I love you, that’s a given. I said, I want you to like me.’ We’re in a whole new sexy phase where it’s like, I wanna be your girlfriend, and I’m his girlfriend right now and he likes me.”
When Campbell filed for divorce in 2018, she issued a statement saying that it was a painful decision.
“After 27 years of being together and two amazing children, it pains me to announce that I’ve filed for divorce,” she said. “It’s an emotional time and I graciously ask for privacy for me, our children and the rest of our family.”
At that time, the former couple tried to show a united front for the sake of their family. He celebrated a new TV gig she obtained, as well as his own casting in LA’s Finest and said that despite what was going on with their marriage, “All we do is WIN!”
She responded, “Awwww @duane_martin Separate but one united front no matter what!!! #familyfirst #familyalways #proudofyou #bff4life #xenandzekebindus”
Before the divorce announcement, news of the pair filing for bankruptcy came out as it was reported they were $15 million in debt. Campbell downplayed the situation publicly on Twitter.
“Hey anybody got [sic] nickel? Yeah guys it’s not like what’s being reported at ALL but it’s funny tho,” she said. “Quick statement, have y’all seen the movie ‘The Big Short?’… Yup we did file but its becuz my hubby n I invested n real estate, got involved w some loans b4 the BANKS caused the market to crash … Obviously couldn’t agree 2 a settlement with the banks, so we filed to reorganize, that’s all, but I so appreciate the genuine concern 4 my fam. I got the best supporters ever thanks TWITTER FAM.”
As divorce proceedings began, Campbell sought spousal support from Martin, and in turn, he asked the same from her. She didn’t have steady income at the time, but claimed that he was living pretty good:
“In recently filed legal documents, Campbell-Martin states that she has concrete proof that Martin can afford to pay her spousal support because of the unlimited funds he forks over for his wardrobe,” we wrote in 2018. “She says he has more than 500 shirts that cost $1,500 a piece, bringing the total amount to $750K. She says the proof of his exorbitant spending is in a video he made bragging about it.”
Things got ugly from there. She claimed that Martin had been physically abusive to her during their marriage and she requested a restraining order against him, which she was granted.
“I kept things hidden from my family his family our friends and the public, save a few very close friends and people who may have witnessed, over the past two decades, filing it away in the back of my mind to protect my family, the community and the pubIic’s persona of my spouse,” she said in a filing in 2019. She alleged a few incidences, including moments where Martin had choked her, held her up against a wall by her neck and punched her in the upper chest.
She also alleged that her ex was attempting to keep her sons from her. They had a verbal custody agreement initially according to the star. However, she sought an official one put in place by a judge after claiming that he wouldn’t respond to messages concerning times to drop off their children. She claimed that he had threatened to keep their sons beyond the times they talked about. Overall, she said that he wasn’t cooperative regarding co-parenting and she needed help to ensure they had an agreement they both would stick to, as well as a neutral location to drop off the kids, which she suggested be a police station. That suggestion made sense considering her restraining order request, which came after her custody concerns.
He had his own claims about Campbell. Martin alleged in divorce documents that she was mentally and emotionally unstable. He claimed she had a few breakdowns, including an episode in August 2017 that he said left her paranoid. Because of that, he said that she was “fabricating stories that clearly are untrue” concerning him. He also alleged that she would snap at other people and his legal team claimed she couldn’t control her emotions during depositions. They were all attempting to paint the picture that she wasn’t herself and likely, couldn’t be believed. It’s unclear if the divorce has been finalized and if they’ve been able to make peace since.
Since the divorce, Campbell has found a positive way to look at ending her marriage: the pain is needed to grow from the situation.
“Someone mentioned the word beautiful devastation. And I think that when you go through things, unexpected, it is a beautiful devastation,” she said in 2019 to Hollywood Unlocked. “This person told me embrace the pain, every tear because you’re growing from that and you’re going to be a different person. You’re going to be a phoenix. And in the moment, you don’t believe it. It sounds so cliché and you don’t want to hear that sh-t. But it’s f–kin’ true.”
Thinking back on the tumultuous days of her marriage to Martin, Campbell is glad to not only be out of it, but also elated to be out of the home that the former couple shared with their sons. She said in an Instagram video that she’s “free” from it all.
“Yo. One time this person asked me, ’This house is beautiful. What more could you want?’ And I said, ‘Happiness,'” she said before laughing. “I’m free. I don’t live here no more. I am free y’all. I’m so happy.“
On top of that, the end of her marriage also helped to bring about the rekindling of her close friendship with Martin co-star Tichina Arnold.
“We reconnected, Tichina and I, and have not been separated since [my divorce.]”