When The Shoe’s On The Other Foot: Mary J Blige’s Husband Seeks Spousal Support

By  |  0 Comments

Yesterday, a male friend of mine sent me a text asking what my opinion was of Mary J Blige’s estranged husband seeking spousal support. I’ve been so busy lately I hadn’t even heard. But I couldn’t help wondering why he was asking me that.

My first thought was that he probably didn’t think a man should seek spousal support. That it wasn’t the “manly” thing to do.

Before asking his opinion, I looked up the story. Martin “Kendu” Isaacs, Mary’s husband of 12 years, is seeking over $129,000 a month in spousal support. He was her manager, and now that they’re separated, Mary has fired him. That makes sense, of course. But Kendu is now without a job, and would like to be able to maintain the lavish lifestyle he’s become accustomed to while married to a superstar.

Of the nearly $130,000 he is seeking monthly, he would like $8000 for a private chef, $3200 for a personal trainer, $5000 which he gives to his parents monthly, $10,000 for entertainment, and over $21,000 for charitable donations. Yes, his expenses sound exorbitant (especially the charitable donations—I don’t get that). But don’t they always when celebrities split? Stars don’t live the lives that normal people do. They often spend their millions of dollars frivolously—because they can. I mean, seriously—$8000 for a private chef? $8000 a month is considered an excellent wage for the average person. $8000 might feed a lower income family for an entire year. And Kendu wants to blow that on a chef for one month?

Mary J. Blige, left, and her husband Kendu Isaacs (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

Mary J. Blige, left, and her husband Kendu Isaacs (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

So yes, I definitely roll my eyes when I see such financial demands. However, these kinds of expenses are routine for the rich and famous with money to burn. So, at least in that regard, I can’t say that Kendu’s requests are out of line.

I asked a female friend her opinion of Kendu seeking spousal support, and her response was, “He’s not a man.” When I asked the male friend who originally texted me what his opinion was, he said that women say we want equal rights, yet we don’t really want those equal rights when the shoe’s on the other foot.

It turns out that most of his female friends felt the way my female friend did—that Kendu is out of line. Ridiculous. That he should get a job. That he should man up and walk away without seeking support. I can’t say I’m really surprised, but I have a different opinion. To expect Kendu to not seek spousal support is straight up sexism.

If Mary J Blige were Mark J Blige with a wife who was seeking spousal support, would anyone bat an eye? Sure, we might think the levels of payment requested were exorbitant, but would any woman say the wife of a multi-millionaire music celebrity was out of line for wanting to “maintain the lifestyle to which she’d become accustomed?”I doubt it.

As to the amount any judge will award Kendu, that’s to be decided. But does he have a right to seek support after twelve years of marriage? Absolutely.

Mary J Blige was undoubtedly the breadwinner in their relationship. Marriage laws don’t protect only the female. Yes, most of the time the husband is the breadwinner and therefore the woman seeks support when there’s a split. But in cases where the wife is earning the money and providing for the family, she’ll be required to pay support.

I have a writer friend who’s doing extremely well and she and her husband made the decision that her husband would stay home to raise the children while she worked. They got flack for that decision and actually left conservative Texas for more liberal Seattle because of all that flack. But after years of her husband being the stay-at-home dad, if they were to part—and let’s say he were to get primary custody of the children—my friend would no doubt be required to pay not only spousal support, but also child support. And rightfully so. Why shouldn’t she?

Mary J. Blige and husband Kendu Isaacs- (Photo/Google Images)

Mary J. Blige and husband Kendu Isaacs- (Photo/Google Images)

Women often complain about suffering from sexist attitudes, and undoubtedly we do. But when it comes to cases like this, where we expect “a man to be a man” when we wouldn’t expect the same of a woman in the exact situation, it’s imperative that we examine our own sexist attitudes.

Men most certainly suffer from sexist attitudes as well. People see them as weak if they’re stay at home caregivers, and God forbid they need the financial help of their wives when they get divorced. And remember the time male nurses were laughed at? Some still are, I’m sure. Though times are changing.

Like most spouses awarded support, it’s typically not forever if the person is young enough to become gainfully employed in the future.

I expect that the judge will see Kendu as capable of taking care of himself financially in the near future and not award him support forever. In fact, given common sexist attitudes, I wouldn’t be surprised if a judge awarded Kendu less than he or she would award a wife in the exact situation.

Time will tell, however. I’m certainly interested in seeing how this plays out.

To be clear, I absolutely think that nearly $129,000 in spousal support a month is a ridiculous amount of money for a man or a woman to receive. But the personal lives of the rich and famous are often ridiculous, aren’t they?

As for what Kendu is or isn’t entitled to, legally it doesn’t matter if he’s a man or a woman. Only if he was the spouse who earned less. It’s imperative that people remember that.

Kayla Perrin is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning USA Today and Essence best-selling author, with 46 books in print. Perrin is best described as passionate, fearless, motivated and self-driven to excel at whatever she pursues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *