Chris Rock and his ex-wife had battled for custody of their two children in court for almost two years.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on February 5, 2021. It has since been updated.
Even the most stable couples hit a few rough spots during the course of their relationship. When the partners are not matched well, things can get even more complicated. However, it is rare for one partner to acknowledge in public that they messed up in the course of their marriage and shoulder the blame for its breakdown.
Chris Rock was around 52 when his divorce from Malaak Compton Rock was finalized in 2016. They were married for around 19 years before separating and eventually divorcing each other. However, they had a tumultuous relationship even when they were together. A source told PageSix, "They were off-and-on a lot during their marriage. It was a rocky situation."
Rock made some claims during his 2017 tour during which he said, "I was a piece of shit." The comedy star also described three women he cheated on his ex-wife with. "One famous, one semifamous, and one a member of the retail class," as per Rolling Stone. Revealing his negative side to his audience could have had an impact on his career but instead, the actor got a part in Fargo.
When he revealed that he had cheated on his wife, there were rumors that the famous person he referred to was actress Kerry Washington. A source told Page Six, "He was cheating on his wife with Kerry when they were filming [I Think I Love My Wife] about him, ironically, having fantasies of cheating on his wife. That went on for a while, for like six months, and she found out. There’s no gray area."
Rock and Washington made no comments about it. "I take it as a joke when he says he cheated with a famous person. He even says he cheated with a member of Destiny’s Child, but not Beyoncé," the source said. "He was friends with Kerry around that time. They did the movie together. He was also separated from Malaak around that time."
The comedian made some guesses about why he acted the way he did. The Grown Ups star said that he thought he would get away with bad behavior just because he was famous. "That’s bullshit," he said during his set, rolling his eyes. "That actually goes the other way. My faults are magnified. Your significant other, if they really love you, has a high opinion of you. And you let them down."
He is a father to two daughters, Lola and Zahra, and unfortunately, they would have witnessed their parents' acrimonious fighting, which including conflict around their custody. In one court filing, he claimed that his ex-wife didn't let him see his kids.
"[Rock] is now and always has been a fully involved and participating parent in all aspects of the lives of these children and it is in their best interests for the parties to have joint custody and to equally share residential custody," the court documents stated, as per E! News. "Notwithstanding that the parties have been separated, [Compton-Rock] has repeatedly refused to permit [Rock] normal and usual access to the children, and has acted in a manner detrimental to the children's best interests. [Rock]'s conduct as aforesaid will be further disclosed by continuing discovery and is directly contrary to the best interests of the children."
Compton-Rock had responded to it saying she was "disappointed." A statement read, "Malaak is saddened and disappointed that Chris has accused her of keeping their children from him, which he knows is untrue and can be so easily disproved. We all know Chris leads a very busy public life while Malaak and their children definitely do not. She hopes the privacy of their children is still as important to Chris as it is to her and that it will be respected. They will always be the main focus of her life."
Eventually, they came to an agreement and still continue to be a big part of each other's lives. One of the things he learned from their break-up is that at the age of 52 he had to "start over," as per Rolling Stone.
He added, "You get to reset. It's not a breakdown, but something in your life broke down."