Real Housewives of Atlanta star Phaedra Parks recently told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres that all the rumors were true: She was planning to divorce her now-convict hubby, Apollo Nida. But there was no surprise. Parks skipped out on Nida’s sentencing hearing in July. It was obvious for anyone to see that the marriage wouldn’t survive.
Nida, who reported to prison in September for his eight-year sentence, is locked up after pleading guilty to fraud. Parks claims she was too busy—nursing a baby and earning her fifth degree—to notice Nida’s schemes. She also claims that she thought Nida was a reformed man, since he’d previously spent times behind bars before their marriage in 2009.
While I’m skeptical and side eyes abound, Parks’ story isn’t so far-fetched that I don’t believe it. She wouldn’t be the first woman to channel rapper E-40 and try to perform a “Captain Save-a-Bro” on a wayward man.
I’ve seen some women manage to clean up some problematic guy and make it work … wait, I’ve never seen that happen. All I’ve seen is lost money and romantic disasters. While helping a guy lost in the struggle sounds noble, people must decide to change themselves. You—through your love or money—cannot make a half whole.
The notion that you can fix any man or woman is often a fool’s errand. People change because they want to change, not because you put them in the right situation, drape them in finery and put them on a reality-TV show. The Pygmalion myth is a myth for a reason. As in, that mess is not real.
But history proves Parks won’t be the first … or the last:
Love & Hip Hop Star Yandy Smith and Rapper Mandeecees
Unlike Parks, reality star and talent agent Yandy Smith is standing by her potential future prison inmate. Smith, who is allegedly worth $15 million, depending on whom you ask, posted $200,000 to a $600,000 bond earlier this year for Mandeecees, who was in jail on a drug-trafficking charge. While the rapper is now out and awaiting his fate, Smith is pregnant with her second child with him. Hopefully things work out for the best, but Mandeecees still has to face the feds and a charge that could land him 20 years in prison.
Sherri Shepherd and Lamar Sally
In a more surreal situation that wanders into an ethical territory even more disturbing than prison time, former The View co-host Sherri Shepherd found herself in a fight over an unborn baby via surrogate that some claimed was a trap laid by her less financially fortunate husband to get child support money out of the comedian. The marriage, which was Shepherd’s second after her previous hubby allegedly cheated on her, collapsed earlier this year amid allegations of cheating and possible treatment of Shepherd as a meal ticket.
Star Jones and Al Reynolds
Star Jones’ marriage to financier Al Reynolds was always controversial, mostly for her having corporate sponsors foot the bill for the wedding. But it ended just as controversially in 2008, with allegations that Reynolds had stopped working since he and Jones got together and was allegedly in it for the free ride. Long after the marriage ended, in 2011, Reynolds even sued Jones for $50,000 after she made statements about her marriage on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice. Reynolds claimed that her statements violated their separation agreement.
Halle Berry and Everybody
You know that one friend of yours who just can’t pick a man to save her life? For whom every man—every last one of them—seems to be a train wreck, despite her promising that “this time” the relationship is different? Now imagine that friend is celebrity Halle Berry, and now you’re friends with the bad picker who has to do it all in the limelight. Berry’s first husband, David Justice (who, in his defense, was a well-heeled pro-baseball star), cheated on her. Another husband, singer Eric Benet, cheated on her. Rumors continue to swirl over troubles with current husband, Olivier Martinez.
But the drama over the father of her daughter, Nahla, Gabriel Aubry, puts her in similar territory with women who thought that choosing someone of the lesser meant better. Instead, Berry got the same ol’ same ol’, a dysfunctional relationship that fell apart amid allegations that Aubry was a racist, compounded by custody fights.