Gary Owen and his estranged wife, Kenya Duke, are not in the greatest of places currently, after choosing to dissolve their marriage after nearly 20 years. Instead of going the amicable route, it seems as though their divorce battle is gearing up to be a war, especially with the amount of money Kenya Duke is requesting.
Funnyman Gary Owen, known for roles in “Daddy Day Care”, “Think Like A Man” and “Think Like A Man Too” among others, reportedly met Duke in 2003. According to an interview the comedian had with The Grio, Owen was the first white man that “she had ever dated or went out with.”
“That to me is a bigger honor than having a show on BET!” said Owen. “The fact that my game was so strong, that I was able to pull this beautiful Black lady.”
The couple first met at a comedy club, according to Owen, and the rest was history (until it was history). “We exchanged numbers but, honestly, I didn’t think I had a shot,” he continued. “When I saw her, I was like ‘Whooaaa! That’s the prettiest chick I’ve ever seen in my LIFE!” Owen claims he requested her number as a joke, thinking he would not have gotten it.
She gave it to him. “I called her immediately,” he stressed. She asked him why he called so swiftly and he answered saying, “I was like, ‘Look, I know I’m supposed to wait three days, but you’re gonna meet a lot of dudes in three days. I’m just letting you know now — I’m interested.’”
The couple have three children together, all grown. Over the years they would continue to show their love toward one another, with Duke even appearing as his first guest to ever appear on his “GetSome” podcast to openly discuss their marriage.
Owens was also right there by his wife’s side to defend her after a discrimination incident while flying on a Delta also with their daughter. The family had first-class tickets for a flight to San Francisco from his hometown of Cincinnati, but the gate agent did not believe that Kenya Duke, being a Black woman, was a first-class ticket holder.
“My wife gets in line, and the guy working the gate at B21, Cincinnati Airport asks my wife, ‘Oh, are you in first?’ And my wife said, ‘Yeah, I am.’ And then my wife said, ‘Are you not gonna ask the guy behind me?’ And he goes, ‘No.’ My wife said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘Cause I don’t feel like it,’” Gary explained in an Instagram video.
He continued, “Now my wife’s a Black lady. The guy behind her’s a white dude, and the ticket agent was a white dude. But he asked the Black lady, ‘Are you in first?’ But not the white dude. So, Delta – I have almost 3 million miles with you. When you see this lady, that’s my wife. She flies first. Don’t ask.” The incident prompted Delta to reach out to the couple in attempts to rectify the situation.
Now in what many are calling “the divorce they did not see coming”, TMZ broke the news in March that Kenya Duke filed for divorce in Los Angeles from Owen. Things seemed to be going well as early as last July when she posted a touching tribute to Owen on his birthday on her Instagram page.
“You have been the best gift and role model to our family,” she wrote in a caption of a photo of her now estranged husband. “You always bring the love followed by your entourage of laughter, silly, f*** it, a good time and no boundary…and we love it! I am wishing you many, many more birthdays. I love you more than you will ever know and grateful to be on this journey with you and the kids.”
While there was initially no reason for the divorce filing, a report from The Jasmine Brand showed that infidelity could have played a role, and also dragged Claudia Jordan in the mix. Kenya Duke shared (and has since deleted) a damning and lengthy post where she also referred to a mystery woman by the name of “Dallas, TX”.
“I have all your info,” the post read, as captured by The Shade Room. “I am going to deal with you in a minute, I am a little busy now. You can have him but you cant disrespect me and my kids in the process.” She then proceeds to tell her now ex to “Let her know a storm is coming.”
Kenya Duke continued in the caption. “Tried to be quiet out of respect for my kids but @claudiajordan has me on one this morning. 23 years together Gary didn’t have s*** but a raggedy pick up and good credit, no place to live.” (Claudia has since denied that she has had any involvement in their marital issues.)
After addressing “Dallas” again that she should have known the difference between married and separated, she went back to her ex. “[Gary Owen] all the energy you spent lying, acting and creating a fake narrative for these b****es that want to be me, you could have done it with a veggie burger and a glass of fake filtered water,” she continued.
Kenya Duke concluded her message: “I’ve worked so hard and come so far, I bought a package of 5 therapy sessions but [they] don’t start until the 29th… Happy Monday.”
Just in case you thought they would somehow find the love to make this amicable, it is now being reported that Kenya Duke is seeking $44,000 a month from the comedian in spousal support. Court documents obtained by PEOPLE show that Duke says Owen abandoned her and the children and is unresponsive to their financial needs.
“While I was hoping to come to an amicable agreement with my husband … he has unfortunately left me with no choice but to file this RFO for Support,” Duke states. “Gary and I have been married for over seventeen years. Twenty-three years ago, I left my promising career as an account manager to solely support Gary and his career.”
Duke is requesting the amount plus an additional $88,000 for the last two months that he has not paid. The monthly deposits were used to take care of household bills as well as personal spending for herself and the children.