Strange things about Wayne Brady's divorce

Mandie Taketa has been a fixture in Wayne Brady's life since before his career really took off. When the pair tied the knot in 1999, the comedian was mostly known for small walk-on roles in TV shows like Clarissa Explains It All and had less than a year of Whose Line Is It Anyway? under his belt. Though the star's fame long outlasted his marriage, the pair's friendship may just be one of the most enduring forces in Hollywood.

The part of us that wants to watch the world burn loves watching a bitter split play out through TMZ. Hello, Brangelina, Bennifer, and all the hybrid names that came after them who just couldn't make it work. However, Brady's split did not deliver in that sense. Instead, it gave us something that's — dare we say — even better? The actor-singer's divorce has become a testament to unconditional love — proof that your chosen family is still family, even if things don't work out the way you hoped.

Hollywood is notorious for quick relationships. The brighter they burn, the faster they burn out, which makes Brady and Taketa's long-lasting and mutual adoration feel like a sparkling anomaly among smoldering ex-flames. Let's dive into some of the strange things about Wayne Brady's divorce.

Wayne Brady's divorce was completely amicable

Wayne Brady's divorce after eight years of marriage was hardly noteworthy for anything other than how truly amicable it was — like actually amicable, not say-it's-amicable-for-the-press kind of amicable. There were no bitter custody battles. No party shaved their head to avoid drug testing like Britney Spears allegedly did that same year (though, at the time of this writing, Brady is definitely slaying the Mr. Clean look). It doesn't seem like they even argued about money — though the tabloids had no mention of a prenup. By all accounts, this divorce seems like it could've been smoothed out with something as simple as a handshake.

According to TMZ, Mandie Taketa was the one who filed the papers in 2007, citing "irreconcilable differences," but they'd already been separated for more than a year before she pulled the trigger. She asked for joint custody of their then-four-year-old daughter, Maile, and Brady didn't fight it. A spokesperson for the comedian claimed the breakup was "very amicable" and the pair continued "to remain the best of friends and committed parents." Per People, Taketa also asked that each party pay their own legal fees, though she did request spousal support, considering the former dancer had given up her career to raise Maile.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Brady's divorce was finalized a little less than a year after Taketa's initial filing. The couple reportedly "used a mediator" to land on the settlement, but the details were never released to the public.

Wayne Brady and his ex-wife are like brother and sister

Despite their divorce, Wayne Brady and Mandie Taketa share an unusually tight-knit bond. In a 2019 interview with Us Weekly, the comedian revealed that he views Taketa more "like a sister" than his baby mama, and she's closer to him than some of his own blood relatives. Not many people can say that about their ex, but it all boils down to loyalty.

Previously speaking with Entertainment Tonight, Brady opened up about the fact that Taketa has always been there for him, and he's not wrong. The star was barely a household name when the pair tied the knot. She saw him through highs like his Emmy win and lows like his public spat with now-disgraced comic Louis CK (in retrospect, their whole feud may have been a tip-off about the CK's values). To Taketa, the comedian isn't Wayne Brady from Whose Line or the Wayne Brady who had the arguable best guest-starring TV role on How I Met Your Mother. He's just Wayne, and that means something.

"The fact of the matter is, I like [Taketa]," Brady said. "She was down with me when nobody in the world was down with me, except my mom. There was loyalty there, there was respect, there is trust — she is my baby mama."

Wayne Brady and Mandie Taketa are actually best friends

When celebs break up, they're somehow always friends. At least, that's what they tell the press before we witness them talking trash about one another on Twitter. We saw it when Calvin Harris claimed he had a "huge amount of love and respect" for Taylor Swift following their 2016 split, only to delete the tweet and drag her in the press a month later. We've seen it countless other times, and there was nothing that made us believe Wayne Brady and Mandie Taketa wouldn't follow the same trajectory after they called it quits, too. 

As it turns out, the strangest thing about the couple's divorce is how they've actually remained best friends. They're one of the few celeb couples who really meant it and weren't just smoothing things over for the sake of avoiding tabloid headlines — and Brady has even managed to foster a friendship with his ex's current flame, as well. In an April 2020 interview with People, the star admitted, "I love my ex-wife, she's my best friend, and her boyfriend Jason is my boy, and my daughter's my daughter." He also revealed to Access Hollywood that the pair have co-parented "as best friends" for their daughter's entire life. We suppose the proof is in the TikTok dance pudding.

But Wayne Brady doesn't think you should marry your best friend

One quick browse through wedding stories on The Knot will pretty much prove that most people marry their best friends — and we're not the only ones who've noticed. Writer Sable Yong built an incredibly solid case against the relationship cliche in a GQ op-ed, where she wrote, "The trope's become so ubiquitous that it wouldn't be out of place on bumper stickers, T-shirts, and novelty mugs at TJ Maxx." 

In truth, best friends may make the best life partners, but they don't always make the best spouses. Just ask Wayne Brady, who warned against the practice in an Us Weekly interview. "Everyone says, 'Girl, you should marry your best friend. It's so good to always find that person. He's your best friend and you guys can do anything,'" Brady said. "No, you're best friends for a reason. Then [when you get married], everything has this super pressure on it that it didn't when you're best friends."

It seems like the pressures of marriage were one of the things that split the couple up, and Brady admitted him and Mandie Taketa are way "better friends than" they were a married couple.

Wayne Brady's ex-wife helped him through debilitating depression

Wayne Brady hasn't always had an easy go of fame. Though it seemed like his divorce was smooth-sailing with little drama to speak of, the comedian had been struggling with debilitating depression for years behind the scenes. In a 2014 interview with Entertainment Tonight, he revealed he was in a vicious cycle of depression and self-doubt, which, at the time, he believed he deserved. "Having a bad day is one thing," Brady said. "Having a bad week is another, having a bad life ... You don't want to move, you can't move in the darkness."

Brady further went on to explain that he hit his lowest of lows on his 42nd birthday that same year, which was the catalyst he needed to finally seek help for his mental health. "I was there by myself, in my bedroom and I had a complete breakdown," the Whose Line star told Entertainment Tonight. "... Just go ahead and imagine for yourself a brother in his underwear, in his room, you got snot ... and that birthday was the beginning of, 'OK, I've got to make a change.'"

According to Page Six, Brady credited his ex-wife, Mandie Taketa, with helping him through that dark time, even if it was ultimately his choice to finally take a stand and do something about. "Just to admit that you are feeling this way is a huge step," he added.

Wayne Brady and Mandie Taketa are neighbors

Wayne Brady and Mandie Taketa no longer live under the same roof, but when the couple divorced, they basically became neighbors. In an interview with Access Hollywood, the comedian admitted that they have a "different" and "special" co-parenting situation and have lived "like seven minutes away from each other at the most" while raising their daughter, Maile. This came in handy when the COVID-19 outbreak swept across the United States and forced families into quarantine.

"Right now, we live virtually next door to each other," Brady told the outlet in March 2020. "So our quarantining is a little different. We quarantine between both of our homes, and I've got a big backyard and lots of land, so we both share this land and this space. So Mandie, her boyfriend Jason, my daughter Maile, we are a family. So we're like this new nuclear family."

Around the same time, Brady also admitted to People that their unique situation made "a good sitcom," which he planned to write. The best stuff apparently just writes itself.

Wayne Brady and his ex-wife were once roommates post-divorce

Most divorced couples would never ever consider being neighbors, let alone actual roommates, but Wayne Brady and Mandie Taketa are not like most divorced couples. As of this writing, the former flames are neighbors, but there was also a time post-divorce when they decided to temporarily live together.

According to People, Brady stayed with Taketa for about a month in 2019 when his home was being refurbished. Strangely enough, there wasn't even a stitch of awkwardness there, and the comedian claimed the whole experience was "absolutely awesome" (and probably also sitcom worthy). "If that would have been the way that we are living right now, then that would have been fine because we can do that," Brady told People, referencing the co-parenting couples who've decided to quarantine together during the novel coronavirus pandemic. " ... So to your point, some people's new normal is my everyday Wednesday."

Can someone remind us why this couple got divorced in the first place?

Wayne Brady credits his ex-wife for his success

Wayne Brady is one of the rare celebs you can catch regularly praising his ex-wife in interviews, and apparently, the star has a lot to thank her for. Mandie Taketa didn't just give him their daughter, Maile, who kicked off her own acting career by debuting on The Bold and the Beautiful in 2018 alongside her father (which totally proved that showbiz runs in the family). But Brady also credited Taketa for his career, which has helped the star garner an impressive estimated $10 million net worth. In the words of Lizzo, the former dancer-actress is a "bad b**ch, non-committal, [who helped him] with [his] career, just a little."

"She is the most amazing woman in the world and one of the most amazing moms, I think, that has ever walked the planet," Brady told Us Weekly in 2019. "Our daughter's proof of that and the fact that she slaps me into shape. She's the reason I think that I've had the success I have."

At the time of this writing, Brady just finished out the reboot of Whose Line Is It Anyway? where he served as an executive producer. His comedy WRZ: White Racist Zombies is set for a November 2020 release.