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Wanda Sykes was married to a man for years. At 40, she came out and met the love of her life.

American comedian Wanda Sykes has a new Netflix show called Wanda Sykes: Not Normal, and no, that’s not just a self-deprecating reference to herself.

‘Not Normal’ also refers to, as she puts it, the “orange elephant in the room” – the farcical presidency of Donald Trump, whom she brilliantly dissects in the special.

The 55-year-old comedy veteran’s show, which began streaming on Netflix on May 21, also covers, in her trademark fearless and frank way, her journey of getting older and her family; Syke’s wife of ten years and their twins.

Watch the official trailer for Not Normal below. Post continues after video.

Audiences are loving Sykes’ real take on marriage and parenthood because it’s relatable, but perhaps also because she didn’t come out, and have that family, until she was 40.

So, we thought we’d bring you what we know about Wanda Sykes’ two very different marriages, and her journey to becoming a parent.

 

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Wanda Sykes’ first marriage to Dave Hall.

Sykes was married to record producer Dave Hall from 1991 until they divorced in 1998.

Hall, who is known for helping produce the first album of Mary J. Blige, and Sykes did not have children together.

The comedian told Oprah in 2013 that she felt little connection to Hall for most of their marriage.

“I didn’t have intimacy,” she explained, adding that even though she felt she was gay from as young as the second grade, she “chose to be straight”, and “repressed” her sexuality because she found it confusing due to her religious upbringing.

In her early stand-up, Sykes also talked about her marriage with honesty in the guise of comedy – although it wasn’t obvious at the time.

For example, during a 1998 Comedy Central episode, she talked about being married. When the audience cheered, Sykes responded wryly, “Obviously, you don’t know anything about my marriage.”

Wanda Sykes’ second marriage to Alex Niedbalski.

Almost a decade after her marriage to Hall ended, Sykes met Alex Niedbalski in 2006.The pair privately wed in 2008.

Alex, who took Sykes’ surname after the wedding, was born in France. She’s known for being very private, as she has never disclosed her age, nor does she have a presence on social media.

 

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A month after the couple’s wedding, at a same-sex marriage rally in Las Vegas, the comedian came out to the public.

According to Sykes, that was the easy part. Coming out to her highly conservative parents, Marion and Harry, at the age 40, when they’d believed she was heterosexual, was significantly more challenging.

In fact, her coming out created a long period of estrangement with her parents, and they refused to attend the 2008 wedding.

Wanda Sykes and Alex Niedbalski’s children Olivia and Lucas.

A year after Alex and Sykes were married, in 2009, Alex gave birth to twins Olivia Lou and Lucas Claude.

The family now split their time between their homes in Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

Speaking to Oprah Winfrey in 2013, Sykes explained that the twins helped her reconcile with her parents, because they wanted to know their grandchildren.

“We’re in a great place right now, my parents are wonderful,” she said. “They weren’t at my wedding, but they were at the kids’ last birthday party.”

Not afraid of bold truths, Sykes has regularly acknowledged the humour in Olivia and Lucas being fair-skinned, and not dark like her. She’s joked about the difference in perception of black and white mums, and how ‘disappointed’ she feels when, as she says, there are no black children at her kids’ birthday parties.

She told the New York Times, “I do notice, like for their birthday parties, I look around and go, ‘Wait, you mean to tell me they’ve only got one little black friend?'” 

Sykes also told Ellen in 2017 that the difference in their appearances affects other aspects of her parenting.

“I was raised with the threat ‘don’t make me beat the black off of ya’, but I have little white babies,” she laughed.

“The best [threat] I could come up with is ‘don’t make me send you to public school’.”

Sykes’ realistic approach to parenting also features in her Netflix special, because that honesty is very important to her.

She told Variety, “I’m showing that, ‘Hey, I mess up too.’

“As a parent, we screw up sometimes; we do think these things sometimes. I don’t mind showing that yeah, I don’t have my sh*t together either.”

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