Phylicia Rashad's Husbands: She Married Thrice & Became a Mom Twice
Actress Phylicia Rashad has experienced three divorces in her life. Although she did not have children with her second spouse, she did have children with her first and third husbands.
Phylicia Rashad gained fame through her remarkable portrayal of Clair Huxtable, the wife of Cliff Huxtable, portrayed by actor Bill Cosby, in the acclaimed television series "The Cosby Show."
Phylicia's portrayal of a married woman on screen mirrored her own life, which had seen three marriages and divorces to a doctor, a musician, and a sports journalist.
Phylicia's First Husband Was a Dentist
In 1973, Phylicia married William Lancelot Bowles Jr. in New York City. William, a dentist, and Phylicia soon welcomed a son named William Lancelot Bowles III.
Unfortunately, Phylicia and William Jr.'s marriage ultimately ended in divorce in 1975, and little is known about Phylicia's first marriage.
Victor Willis Was Phylicia's Second Spouse
Phylicia found love again with Victor Willis, co-founder and lead singer of the legendary '70s disco group Village People. Victor was the brilliant mind behind chart-toppers like "Y.M.C.A.," "Macho Man," and "In the Navy."
The timeless songs cleverly incorporated elements of gay culture while remaining accessible to many listeners, regardless of their sexual orientation.
The pair, who never had any children, eventually tied the knot in 1978, but their marriage didn't last, and they divorced just two years later. Interestingly, Victor's life took an unexpected turn after their divorce.
After her marriage to Victor ended, Phylicia would later meet sportscaster Ahmad Rashad.
According to the Chicago Tribune, in 2017, Victor abruptly left the Village People during the filming of their 1980 biopic, "Can't Stop the Music," citing it as a business decision. Ray Simpson, the band's backup vocalist, replaced him.
Victor found himself on a troubled path, from being involved in substance abuse to being featured in the country's "America's Most Wanted." However, Victor redeemed himself and made up for the lost years.
He briefly rejoined Village People in the early '80s but later regained rights to the Village People name in a 2017 lawsuit. In a restructuring move, he made changes within the group, replacing some long-standing members.
Willis' Village People continued to tour and had plans for new releases, though ongoing legal disputes with former members persisted. However, Willis reportedly displayed little sympathy for his old members.
Phylicia's Marriage to Ahmad Rashad Was Longer than Her Previous Spouses
After her marriage to Victor ended, Phylicia would later meet sportscaster Ahmad Rashad. The two were introduced through their mutual friend and Phylicia's co-star on "The Cosby Show," Bill Cosby.
Ahmad was the one who reached out to Bill for an introduction. Phylicia remembered Bill telling her about Ahmad's interest in meeting a nice young woman like her.
Although she was not entirely familiar with Ahmad at first, Phylicia agreed to meet him. Their dating journey started after Ahmad accompanied her to an awarding ceremony in Hollywood, California.
In 1985, Ahmad proposed to Phylicia on live television before the Thanksgiving Day game between the New York Jets and the Detroit Lions. Ahmad, a host of NBC network's pregame show, "NFL '85," was there for on-site coverage.
His co-anchor, Bob Costas, was in the newsroom and served as the intermediary for the proposal. Ahmad's on-air proposal caught everyone off guard. It was a unique and bold move, witnessed by an estimated 40 million viewers.
At the time, Phylicia was at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, so the show's staff arranged for her to deliver her answer at halftime in the Rockefeller Center studio.
The renowned actress accepted Ahmad's marriage proposal without hesitation. She remembered being left speechless by Ahmad's grand gesture, expressing that his proposal had taken her by surprise.
Shortly after their engagement, Phylicia and Ahmad married in a private wedding ceremony at the Church of the Masters in New York City.
Bill and his longtime wife, Camille Cosby, had the honor of giving Phylicia away to her husband at the ceremony. Phylicia's sister, actress Debbie Allen, was the matron of honor, while former football star and sportscaster O.J. Simpson served as Ahmad's best man.
Ahmad's marriage to Phylicia was not his first; he had previously been married and had children. He learned much about love from his aunt, who had been married multiple times. She advised him to keep looking for the right person, no matter how many tries it took.
The pair's wedding was an intimate celebration, with only 30 guests, and Phylicia's son from William Jr., William III, was among those in attendance. In 1986, Ahmad was asked about the secret to a long and happy marriage. He said:
"Some people spend their entire lives trying to find out what the secret is. If it were so obvious and easy, there wouldn't be half the divorces that there are."
Aside from expressing his thoughts about the key to an enduring marriage, Ahmad also advised seeking wisdom from couples celebrating 50 years of marriage, like his parents.
Neither Ahmad nor Phylicia were willing to share information about their past, including their marriage proposal. However, Ahmad did mention that he cherished only "fond memories of a beautiful moment in time."
Celebrity divorces are common in the entertainment industry. Actress Sofia Vergara, singer Ariana Grande, and reality TV star Eva Marcille recently made headlines for reportedly splitting from their partners.
While Phylicia seems to remain single, Ahmad is reportedly married to Ana Luz Rodriguez-Paz, a South Florida-based psychologist. The couple tied the knot in 2016.
Luz, a licensed clinical social worker, is the founder of ALRP therapy, a name derived from the initials of her own name. The company's website describes her as someone who approaches her therapeutic work the way she approaches her life.