Tragic Details About Porsha Williams

Former "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Porsha Williams may seem like she has it all. She's a super successful reality TV star, mom to the gorgeous Pilar, a loving fiancee (Simon Guobadia popped the question back in May 2021), and has a reported net worth of $400,000, per Celebrity Net Worth. Not bad, right? But as it turns out, life for this reality star hasn't been easy. Williams has faced a whole host of difficulties over the years, from experiencing abuse and fertility issues, to suicidal thoughts and, sadly, so much more tragedy.

Much of those hardships came to light in her extremely candid 2021 memoir, "The Pursuit of Porsha: How I Grew Into My Power and Purpose," which Williams explained became like therapy for her as she put some of the darkest moments of her life on paper. "It was very therapeutic and hard as hell. I wanted to talk about those moments of despair, how I came out of them, and what it took to get there," Williams told People of writing the book. "Everything I have been through has made me the woman I am today." 

But just who is the Porsha Williams of today? Buckle up, "Real Housewives" fans, because it's going to be a tough journey as we look back at some of the hardships that put Williams' inspiring strength to the test. Per her own Season 6 tagline, "I am still standing, and I am making my own rules."

Porsha Williams took her parents' divorce hard

As they say, divorce is always hardest on the kids, and it seems like that was no different when Porsha Williams' parents called it quits. The star opened up about how difficult she found her mom, Diane T. Williams, splitting with her dad, Hosea Williams II, during a January 2021 episode of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" (via Bravo). "It was just kind of confusing at first, because I had my home with Mommy that felt complete, solid, and then over here with Dad, it was another home that could be complete and solid. And why am I going in between?"

But despite how hard Williams took her parents' split, she's been quick to defend the other side of her family after her father remarried, and welcomed Williams' half-sister, Lauren Williams. The reality star shut down any speculation suggesting her father cheated on her mother, clapping back in an Instagram video posted in January 2021. "My stepmom married my dad a while after my mother and my father were divorced. So there's no overlapping whatsoever, there's no side chick," she explained bluntly. "There's no shade, there's no none of that," she continued. She then scolded people who left comments about her family situation on Lauren's page, adding, "So whoever this is that's bringing this into this, don't do it because the devil ain't gon work with this one. We're family and we're gonna always be family."

The tragic death of Porsha Williams' dad led her to some bad situations

The death of a parent is an incredibly difficult experience for everyone, and that was no different for a teenage Porsha Williams. The reality star's dad, Hosea Williams II, died when she was just 17 years old, the year after he was diagnosed with leukemia. Per Find a Grave, the Williams patriarch sadly passed away due to complications after receiving a bone marrow transplant.

Williams explained that she'd realized not having her dad around when she began dating impacted her life in ways she couldn't have imagined. "That mindset of me just having a skeleton idea of what a man should be led me into like, seriously abusive situations," she claimed during a January 2021 episode of the Bravo show, per People.

"The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star has since shared how she's trying to keep her dad's memory alive, particularly so her daughter, Pilar "PJ", can know him. "He was a really special man. It's hard at times, but keeping his memory alive is important to me," Williams told People in March 2019 while celebrating her daughter's baby shower. "Although Baby PJ won't get the chance to meet him, I know he is here in spirit and guiding me. I can feel his presence."

Kordell Stewart and Porsha Williams had a messy divorce

As "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" fans will already know, things got messy between Porsha Williams and her now former husband Kordell Stewart. The two were married for around two years before TMZ reported Stewart filed for divorce in 2013 with no plan to give her any spousal support. As for what Williams made of it all? She hit back in a statement via her rep, which claimed, per TMZ, "[Kordell] misled her and she found out about the filing in the media." It added that the star felt let down by her estranged husband.

Things only got worse from there, though, with Atlanta Black Star reporting in 2013 that Stewart threw her out of their home and changed the locks without her knowledge. Williams later touched on that difficult time in her book, "The Pursuit of Porsha: How I Grew Into My Power and Purpose," where she experienced homelessness.

Williams has also shared her experience of abuse during her marriage to Stewart, alleging to Access in 2014 when asked if Stewart ever hit her (via The Box Houston), "Yeah. There were several different occasions that this happened. When you're in an abusive situation, it kind of just builds, and it starts to get worse and worse." She added she never reported Stewart, but allegedly had visible injuries, noting, "I'll tell you, the ones that have stuck with me the most is the mental abuse." Stewart denied the allegations to Radar Online.

The sudden death of Autherine Ford and other family members

Sadly, Porsha Williams was one of the millions of people who lost someone during the COVID-19 pandemic. Williams took to Instagram in January 2021 to share her devastation after losing her aunt, Autherine Ford, to the virus. "My heart is so heavy[.] Today I lost my beloved Aunt Autherine[.] Please pray for her husband and beautiful daughters. God please comfort and bless our family at this time[.] Totally heartbroken," she wrote alongside two gorgeous photos of Ford. Plenty of fans shared their condolences in the comments section, offering sympathy and well-wishes to the reality star.

Williams' cousin, Terrica Ford, detailed a little more on the sudden death via her Instagram Story, explaining Ford went from being healthy to losing her life to Covid in just five days. "Man Covid is a silent bullet we are still in shock and disbelief," she wrote (via From The Stage). "I don't like to question God, but he took a good one. I can't believe my mum is gone."

Sadly, though, Ford was far from the only family member Williams has had to say goodbye to. In June 2020, she shared another heartbreaking tribute on Instagram to her Aunt Louve, confirming in the same post that she'd also lost her Uncle Torrey a few weeks earlier. "Love hard and cherish the ones near and dear to you," she wrote.

Porsha Williams' fertility struggles

Porsha Williams has been very open about her health and fertility issues since finding fame on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," including sharing that she has uterine fibroids (which are non-cancerous tumors in the uterus) with Atlanta Fibroid Center. Tragically, Williams didn't know about her fibroids until her first pregnancy, which she told Atlanta Black Star resulted in her experiencing a miscarriage and having to undergo a myomectomy. 

In 2020, Williams got very candid about the miscarriage on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," explaining that she experienced the loss while at home alone and regretted not speaking more openly about what she went through. "It's about realizing that and having another woman say 'I've been through this, I survived.' And I am willing to use my story to help other women," she said (via The Sun).

Williams also opened up about experiencing baby loss with People in 2018, explaining that her past trauma led her to have mixed emotions when she found out she was expecting her daughter, Pilar "PJ" McKinley, with her now former fiancé, Dennis McKinley. "Just the fear of, 'Is the baby going to be okay? Will I make it full term?' All those questions that you ask if you've had a miscarriage before," she explained. Thankfully, she became a proud mom to Pilar in 2019, but told People she struggled a little in getting back to normal after undergoing a C-section.

What happened between Porsha Williams and R. Kelly

Porsha Williams revealed she got dangerously close to disgraced singer R. Kelly after she met with him while she was pursuing a career in music. Williams recalled her experience with Kelly in 2021, explaining she was told she'd meet him at a recording studio but was taken to his house instead, before finding herself alone in a room with him — where he allegedly told her to remove her clothes. Writing about the incident in her book, "The Pursuit of Porsha: How I Grew Into My Power and Purpose," she explained her mental state at the time. "I've already put myself in this position. This is what you're supposed to do. You have to. There is no turning back."

Williams met Kelly on two more occasions after that. "There had been so many other instances where I had been abused by men that my mentality [at that time] was of an abused person, and that it was okay for me to be treated like that," she told People. However, she decided to never see him again after attending one of his house parties, where she allegedly heard what sounded like a woman being beaten. "I was completely traumatized, completely confused about why this was now happening to me again as a grown woman," she shared in an interview with Variety, adding she spoke to police about her experience.

Kelly, of course, was later sentenced to 30 years in prison, with three trials brought against him.

Bullying had a detrimental effect on Porsha Williams' mental health

Sadly, like all too many children, Porsha Williams didn't have the best time in school. Williams was bullied for her appearance, which led her to a very dark place mentally. "I was really skinny, and, according to those who bullied me during that time, I also had a big head and big teeth (still do!). That bullying experience made me wish I could just dress like a boy," she told Women's Health in 2021, sharing that she would often dress in her brother Hosea's clothes to disguise her figure and wanted to swap bodies with him. Her body later changed when she started doing sports as a teenager, but she still didn't feel good about herself, which eventually led to getting into unhealthy relationships and not feeling beautiful unless a man told her she was.

Thankfully, Williams now appears to be in a better place and proudly showed off her unedited body on social media. In 2019, she posted a powerful Instagram upload showing herself in a bikini after giving birth after a troll told her to cover up. Then, in another Instagram upload the following year, she rocked a skintight orange dress. "PSA: If you have a** and have not had lipo or tummy tuck dis what yo stomach and body gone look like! Get whatever surgery you want but at least remember if you have a fupa or gut it's OKKKKK," she captioned the stunning photo.

Porsha Williams considered suicide at age 12

Porsha Williams tragically began experiencing depression in her pre-teen years, which became so severe when she was 12 years old that she considered suicide. "I didn't know that I was dealing with what I would call depression now. I just had this overall feeling of hopelessness, and felt like my existence didn't really matter," Williams told Women's Health in 2021. She shockingly explained that her suicidal thoughts were so severe that she even tried out a method of taking her own life to see what it would feel like. Thankfully, Williams didn't go through with her idea after considering the devastating impact it would have on her mother. "She tried her best to give me everything she could, and I didn't want to give her another problem to deal with," Williams heartbreakingly recalled.

The reality star also discussed the distressing time in her life to People that same month, explaining she didn't really understand the emotions she was feeling back then until many years later. "It wasn't until I was about 29 that I really identified with the word 'depression,'" she shared, revealing that she's learned over the years to develop her own methods of keeping her mental health in check and the dark thoughts at bay. "I developed different skills to survive. Like speaking positively to myself and not focusing in on all of the negative," she explained.

Dennis McKinley's infidelity

Porsha Williams hasn't had the easiest time when it comes to relationships, and, sadly, that was no different with her former fiancé, Dennis McKinley, the father of her daughter, Pilar. McKinley was unfaithful in his relationship with the reality star, something that had a devastating effect on Williams. "He needed to see that he had really, really hurt me and that through seeing me being hurt, he could see that everything I had given him was real and that you are about to throw all of this away," Williams shared on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 12 After Show," sharing they spent many hours in therapy discussing the issue after initially splitting up because of it, but decided to give things another go.

Williams also shared one of the most difficult things after learning about McKinley's indiscretions was getting things back to normal in the bedroom. "For some reason when we get in the room and the light is turned off doesn't feel right anymore," she said on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" in 2010 (via People). "I love Dennis, but there is a block because of the hurt."

The relationship eventually didn't survive, with Williams and McKinley splitting again in 2020, which only caused more heartache. Williams opened up on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" in January 2021 about how sad she felt that they weren't able to make things work for the sake of for their daughter (via People).

Dealing with racist abuse

Porsha Williams is unfortunately no stranger to racism, having dealt with vile abuse since she was just a child. The "Bravo's Chat Room" co-host opened up about her first experience with racism during a poignant appearance on "Watch What Happens Live" in 2020, sharing that she attended a civil rights rally with her grandfather when she was 6 years old, where she encountered the hate group the KKK. "We had busloads of people with us, they chased us back to the buses and called us the N-word and anything other thing you could imagine the KKK would be calling us," she shared, revealing she even got hit by a rock after the terrorist group threw things at them.

But, ever the strong Black woman we know and admire, Williams didn't let such a horrifically scarring experience mar her desire for change. Williams has since attended (and been arrested at) multiple Black rights protests since that fateful day, and has spoken openly against racism in America. Following the shocking murder of Breonna Taylor in 2020, the reality star took to Instagram Stories to issue a rally cry for all those tired of seeing systematic racism in America. "They don't want to stop us, they actually want to silence us ... This is about the future for our children. This is about the future for my daughter that I just had. This is about a better life for everyone," she wrote (via Bravo).