Kenya Barris, producer and creator of the Emmy-nominated ABC sitcom black-ish, has filed for divorce from his wife Dr. Raina “Rainbow” Barris after 20 years of marriage. Their relationship had famously inspired many of the plot lines on the hit show.
According to The Associated Press, the divorce was filed Aug. 9th, the day of Kenya’s 45th birthday. In addition, it is also being reported that Mr. Barris is requesting joint custody of the couple’s four adolescent children: Lola, 13, Beau, 11, Kass, 9 and Bronx, 3. They also have two older children that are 18 and up.
The Barris’s previously filed or divorce in 2014, but the two reconciled and withdrew the filing in 2015.
Dr. Barris, an anestesiologst who married Kenya in 1999, previously spoke to Entertainment Tonight about what it was like seeing her real-life play out on black-ish. “Because so many of the stories are situations very exact to our life, Kenya cannot help as a writer but to make the character of Bow more prominent (and) important,” she told EW in May 2018. At the time, black-ish has just wrapped its fourth season, which ended with Bow (played by Tracee Ellis Ross) and Dre’s (Anthony Anderson) marriage on shaky ground. The real life Bow made it clear that the fictional characters didn’t reflect what was going on in the Barris household — but rather was a depiction of struggles they overcame in the past. “It was a very scary time for all of us,” she said. “We all go through so many of the same things, and [the episode] said, ‘You’re not alone.’ ” The show has also inspired the successful spin-offs Grown-ish, starring Yara Shahidi, and Mixed-ish coming this fall.
Based on the documents, Kenya cites the cause of their split to be “irreconcilable differences” and is asking for joint physical and legal custody of all the minor children. He also listed that he’s prepared to provide financial support to his estranged wife.