I am a lover of The Food Network and anything that has to do with food, so when I came across The Neely’s tv show back in 2008, I was so happy to see A Black married couple on tv, cooking together and giving me hope that Black love does exist and can last. Gina & Pat Neely were my relationship goals, after President & First Lady Obama. So, I, like millions of other people, were shocked to learn in 2014 that the couple, who had been high-school sweethearts and married for 20 years, were getting divorced.
In an interview Gina Neely gave Oprah on her show, Where Are They Now? on OWN, Gina had this to say:
“Pat is not a bad guy, he’s just not for me,” she says. “I didn’t want to divorce my husband but it became necessary do it in order for me to be my best self. He felt like we didn’t spend enough time together. I felt like we did and we needed a little space.We went to therapy 12 times,” she explains. “I tried to leave five times and I just didn’t have the strength but the fifth time I held on to that. It became necessary for me to find my path.”
While I was surprised to learn about the couple’s divorce, I completely agree with Gina and her decision to finally end the marriage. There is no point in staying with someone if you’re not happy…not for the kids, the money, the fame…nothing is more important than your happiness. Staying with someone out of obligation will only lead to resentment and cause even more problems between you. I know, because I’ve walked in Gina’s shoes. I stayed in my marriage- and countless relationships prior to me getting married- because I didn’t want to hurt the guy’s feelings by breaking up with him, or because I wanted my kids to have a two-parent home, or for whatever reason…but I wasn’t happy. And each day that I stayed with him, pretending that my life was great when it wasn’t, I felt like I was losing a part of me. I was miserable, and that’s just not a good feeling to have about the man you sleep with everynight.
When the news of The Neely’s divorce broke, I saw countless women on social media blasting Gina for divorcing her husband, saying she seemed fake, didn’t love him, only wanted his money and the fame that came from being with him. To those people who felt the need to judge, please see the gif below..
Nobody was in those people’s marriage or bedroom except Pat and Gina. Nobody knows how he treated her behind closed doors. It’s easy to say what a great guy he seems to be from the outside looking in, but only Gina knows the reason why she wanted out. Even the most charming men can have a whole different personality when they’re not in the public eye. Stop condemning this woman because she decided to end a marriage that she no longer wanted to be in. Money and fame doesn’t guarantee instant happiness. To be a pubic figure for so long, and with the pressure to keep up the facade of the happy marriage that they seemed to have on tv, I’m sure the decision to end it wasn’t as easy one to make. But it took strength and guts to walk away, and I commend Gina for it.