Chris Rock has made a fortune of his quick wit and hilarious persona. The comedy legend is one of the most successful Saturday Night Live alumni and was a staple in ’90s comedy delivering a handful of well-received stand-up specials and films. Comedians are always known for having some of the darkest battles behind the scenes, and Rock is no different. During his 2018 special Tambourine, he opened up about infidelity and how it ruined his marriage. He also talks about the family court situation that bruised his ego.
Chris Rock and Malaak Compton-Rock were married on November 23, 1996. They share two biological daughters, Lola Simone (born 2002) and Zahra Savannah (born 2004), and lived for much of their marriage in Alpine, New Jersey. The pair separated in 2014 amidst reports that Chris had been cheating on Malaak. Rock later revealed on his own that this was true and that he also was struggling with porn addiction. Their divorce was finalized in 2016.
During an interview with Jimmy Fallon last year, Chris Rock joked that he’d lost so much money following the divorce he barely could afford his ticket to come to Jimmy’s show. He then offered to connect comedian John Mulaney, who at the time had just announced his own divorce, with his ex-wife’s lawyer because he was just that good at getting her all of Chris’ money. “This is how much money I lost in my divorce — I recommended my ex-wife’s divorce lawyer. I was like, ‘You should get this guy, he’ll get you your money.'”
The effects of his marriage falling apart have definitely affected Rock, who joked in his last special that only women, children, and dogs are loved unconditionally. According to him, men are only loved based on what you can provide for them. He then tells the story of how, in the divorce, he was forced to prove he could provide housing and support for his kids. Despite how monumental a star he is and hit movies like Madagascar and I Think I Love My Wife to his name, they still had doubts that he could provide for his family. This situation was hard for Rock.
Things got even stickier when it came to custody over a third child, an eight-year-old girl they adopted from Africa named Ntombi. While Malaak felt that Chris should provide support for this child as well, Rock argued that he did not legally adopt her and that he barely saw the child and only kept in touch with his two biological daughters. While the terms of the settlement have not been made public, it’s obvious Rock is forking up a considerable amount of money if he is as broke as he claimed in the Jimmy Fallon interview.
Rock joked that he was on his alimony tour the year following the divorce. Through it all, he has been quick to defend his ex-wife and admit that while he has a mic, she does not. He worries that saying the wrong thing could create more issues for the down the line when they have to be together for graduations and weddings.