With the saying “It takes a village,” Wayne Brady is stepping up in more ways than one. The Let’s Make A Deal host made headlines recently as his family life is pretty intriguing and “unusual” to many. While Wayne Brady and his ex-wife Mandie Taketa (whom he refers to as his “best friend”) are no longer together, an impeccable bond between them remains. The fact that Taketa has a new boyfriend has perhaps only strengthened their bond, as Brady has now embraced him as a part of their family. The comedian shared more insight on their family dynamic on a recent episode of The Breakfast Club.
Three years following the end of his first marriage, Wayne Brady and Mandie Taketa, a former dancer, wed in April of 1999. After 7 years of marriage and the birth of daughter Maile in 2003, the couple decided to amicably part ways. Since then, the two have remained in one another’s lives, maintaining a healthy co-parenting mechanism. Brady and Taketa also continue to work together as she serves as his production partner for their company.
In the height of the global pandemic, Wayne Brady shared that he was quarantined along with Taketa and her new boyfriend, Jason Fordham. Seemingly, most of the general consensus viewed the pairing as “weird,” but Brady expressed to Page Six that he loves Jason. “He’s a member of our family,” Wayne Brady said, “so we have something that is out of the ordinary. But it’s a shame that it is out of the ordinary because it would be great if we could have more relationships built out of years of trust and love, and you can move on if you need to move on.”
In September, Taketa and Fordham became new parents to a baby boy through adoption. Taking to Instagram, Wayne Brady shared the beautiful news and congratulated the couple, but also revealed that he would be the “Duncle” (daddy and uncle) and co-parenting the baby as well. “All children will know is love if that’s what you show them,” Brady wrote in the video’s caption. “I’m honored to be in his life as his ‘Duncle’ and I love Mandie and Jason for including me in their journey.”
How did Wayne Brady get to this point of maturation within himself to be able to thrive in this setting? Brady shared with The Breakfast Club that following their 2007 divorce, he began to act out as a newly single man. His ways were likened to that of an “a-hole”, in his words, and the moment finally came where he realized he just wanted peace.
“You learn that in order to get peace, we need to be on the same page,” Wayne Brady stated. “So, I need to be respectful as the father of this beautiful daughter. I need to give her mother all respect and praise, and due. So, I need to pull back on my nonsense and actually listen to her, which was part of the problem.”
His journey from leaving the “nonsensical” realm and entering into a place where balance and listening can thrive led him to be extremely present not just in his career, but in life. This also helped him to eventually reconcile with his ex-wife dating Jason Fordham after their breakup, who was a backup dancer for Wayne Brady in his Vegas show at the time. The comedian expressed that although he orates their story in a joking manner, there was a time where Brady’s ego naturally came into play. However, he credits Fordham for being a “beautifully evolved” human being that didn’t allow Brady’s agitation to get to him.
“At one point when they were dating, I pulled up outside of her house,” Brady recalls, sharing a time where he was ready to put an end to their relationship. Comparing himself and the scenario to a scene in a bad Tyler Perry film with him as the lead, Brady remembers screaming that he “paid for this house” while pressuring them to come outside. The incident, he says, was not his best moment, especially with Fordham responding in a more level-headed manner.
Ego, pride, and watching his ex-wife enter into a relationship with his backup dancer led Wayne Brady to harbor both ill feelings and actions towards them for years. However, he credits therapy for his turnaround. “The best thing that I ever did for my mental health and for my relationship with my daughter, and just for me walking around in the world? Going to therapy,” he admits.
Hear Wayne Brady discuss his family life as well as past and upcoming projects below.