Kenya Duke and Gary Owen
*Kenya Duke is speaking out about life after the end of her nearly 20-year marriage to comedian Gary Owen.
It was Kenya who filed divorce docs in Los Angeles County Superior Court in 2021. She and Gary tied the knot back in 2003 and they have two sons and a daughter together. Speaking to Essence, Duke said she served as Gary’s unofficial manager throughout their marriage — “sometimes helping to negotiate deals,” the outlet writes.
“He was my best friend,” she told ESSENCE. “I really thought we were going to do this life thing together, you know?”
“That’s why I was so shocked with how the divorce went down,” she told ESSENCE. “Even when I realized it was over, I thought we’d be able to sit across from each other and talk out how we were going to do this, together.”
Kenya Duke – Gary Owen
She continued: “When the divorce came out, I pictured us in Starbucks—he loves coffee—and he’d say ‘okay, what do you need?’ ‘How should we go about getting it done?’ But that hasn’t been the case at all, especially with the money. Most of my heartache wasn’t the loss of the marriage—it was what I went through financially.”
When their separation was first made public, Duke took to social media to put her estranged husband’s mistress on blast. There are rumors that Owen left his wife after his mistress became pregnant.
“I was really scared,” Duke told ESSENCE about her dire financial straits after she and Gary called it quits.
Duke said she handled the household expenses using money that Owen deposited in a shared bank account. Those deposits stopped during their separation.
“Although our children are college-aged, they’d still come home and would need support,” she said, before noting that she couldn’t even afford to buy food for the family dog.
That’s when she decided to use her skills and knowledge in real estate to lift herself up from a bad situation. Duke sold a piece of property and used the money to take care of household expenses.
“I’m ok now, but I should’ve always had my own,” she said.
“The first thing I do when I get a new check is to buy Daisy food,” she said of the family dog. “But what it took to get here was incredibly eye-opening.”
“For so many years, I took care of my marriage, my children, everyone. It’s finally time to do something for myself that’s authentically me. A part of me definitely died, for sure. But I’ve been reborn.”
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