The Truth About Chris Rock's Failed Marriage

The following references sexual assault allegations and addiction.

The life of actor and comedian Chris Rock was thrust into the spotlight following an on-stage dispute with Will Smith at the 2022 Oscars. The funnyman has been mostly private about his personal life over the years, despite extensive media coverage on his marriage and subsequent divorce from Malaak Compton-Rock.

Over the years, Rock's kept his love life relatively under the radar for an A-lister, but that hasn't stopped him from being open about his views of marriage. Like so many comedians, Rock often cracked wise in comedy specials and talk show interviews about the highs and lows that come with being a spouse and having a spouse. While most can separate comedy bits from reality, the messy details surrounding the dissolution of Rock's own longterm relationship provided some context that was nearly impossible to ignore. 

From legal issues to extramarital affairs and beyond, here is the truth of Chris Rock's failed marriage to Malaak Compton-Rock.

Chris Rock met his wife when he crashed an award show

Chris Rock met his wife-to-be Malaak Compton in an unconventional way. As he shared recalled in a 2007 interview with Collider, he and some friends decided to swing by the 1994 Essence Awards after a Knicks game — even though they weren't formally invited to the event. And what do you know, that's where he eventually got to talking with Compton. "She was working in publicity, so she actually came up to me and said, 'Can you take some pictures with so and so?' And I was like, 'Hey, I'll do whatever you want,'" Rock recalled.

The two hit it off after meeting for the first time, and starting dating shortly after. According to Rolling Stone, Rock and Compton maintained a long distance relationship due to the fact that they worked on opposite sides of the country. At the time, she worked for UNICEF, per People. Rock, on the other hand, was working on his comedy career on the East Coast, but the two continued to pursue the relationship further.

In November 1996, Rock and Compton married. On his wife's impact, he told Ebony in a 1997 interview (via People), "She's changed me. She's really calmed me down and centered my life."

Two women claimed he fathered their children

By 1999, Chris Rock and Malaak Compton-Rock were temporarily separated. At this time, Rock went on a couple dates with model Monika Zsibrita. While the comedian claimed everything that happened when they hung out was consensual, Zsibrita alleged that not only Rock raped her, but through this encounter, he also fathered a daughter, according to the Los Angeles Times. Rock denied the allegations. Through two DNA tests, it was confirmed Rock was not the father of Zsibrita's child, and to make matters more complicated, the comedian talked about the claims while on "The Howard Stern Show" in 2004.

Per the Irish Examiner, Rock told Stern, "You go to a Los Angeles hotel, which I'm not going to name, and a woman comes over and says how funny and how great you are and she is hot. I mean hot. You end up having sex and then the woman's Nigerian con-man boyfriend has a baby with her and she calls and says she's having your baby." Rock ultimately settled with Zsibrita in 2012 and was not charged with any crime, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter

In 2007, Rock was once again accused of fathering a child outside of his marriage. At the time, Kali Bowyer claimed that she conceived her then 13-year-old child with Rock, but DNA testing determined that was not the case, per TMZ.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

He openly joked about marriage in his comedy

Throughout his comedy career, Chris Rock has been fairly candid when it comes to his feelings about marriage. Take his 1996 comedy special "Bring the Pain," for example, where he offered up his take on the OJ Simpson murder trial and the allegations against the former football star: "So you gotta think about OJ's situation: $25,000 a month, another man drivin' his car, f***in' his wife, in a house he's still payin' a mortgage on. Now, I'm not sayin' he should have killed her ... but I understand."

And in the 2004 special "Never Scared," Rock compared marriage to being worse than prison, citing Nelson Mandela's divorce. The comedian said in part, "Marriage is so tough, Nelson Mandela got divorced...he got out of jail after 27 years of torture, spent six months with his wife and said, 'I can't take this s**t no more.'" In the same special, Rock suggested time doesn't actually strengthen a longterm monogamous couple's bond. "You can be married and bored, or single and lonely. Ain't no happiness nowhere," the comedian exclaimed.

Rock's open criticism of marriage in his comedy shows and sketches painted a picture that he was against the formal union all together, despite being married for years.

Art imitates life?

In 2007, Chris Rock co-wrote, produced, and directed "I Think I Love My Wife," a remake of the 1972 film "Chloe in the Afternoon," per The Guardian. The film centers around main character Richard Cooper (Rock), who has a perfect life on paper. He is successful at work, has a beautiful wife and children, but lives unhappily because he is not sexually satisfied in the marriage. When Cooper's old friend Nikki (Kerry Washington) reconnects with him, he finds himself torn between giving into his temptations or remaining loyal to his wife.

Objectively, the movie just seems like another commentary on the monotony of marriage, but for Rock it was a bit more personal. The actor-comedian spoke with Collider in 2007 about what drew his character to Nikki, rather than his on-screen wife, saying, "She's a breath of fresh air. She's new. We all want new. We scour the earth for new." He continued, "But that is what marriage — anything that's supposed to be forever, your going to get bored with it...If you are with somebody for ten years and they are not bored with you? Then something is wrong with them."

Turns out, Rock was indeed unhappy in his own marriage, and would later admit that he sought excitement outside of matrimony.

Chris Rock admitted to cheating

Chris Rock, while open about his views on marriage in his comedy sketches, was much more private about the workings of his actual relationship with longtime spouse Malaak Compton-Rock. By 2018, however, the comedian was much more vulnerable and candid about his role in their relationship ending and his wrongdoings. Per Us Weekly, in his Netflix special "Chris Rock: Tamborine," he took responsibility for his marriage crumbling, telling the crowd, "It's my fault because I'm a f***ing a*****e."

Rock also noted that infidelity changes the existing relationship in ways that are hard to come back from."When guys cheat, it's like we want something new. But then you know what happens? Your woman finds out and now she's new. She is never the same again," he said. "So now you have new, but you had a bad new."

Rolling Stone reported in Rock's 2017 cover story that in a show at New York City's Comedy Cellar, the comedian mentioned having affairs with three different women. Though the identities of the women have not been confirmed, there's been plenty of speculation about who he cheated with. Page Six, for example, reported that a source claimed he had a fling with fellow "I Think I Love My Wife" costar Kerry Washington, but again, it's all hearsay, and neither party has commented on the rumor.

He struggled with a porn addiction during his marriage

On top of not staying faithful during his marriage, Chris Rock shared that he was addicted to porn while with Malaak Compton-Rock. The comedian opened up about his addiction in the 2018 special "Chris Rock: Tamborine." Per IndieWire, Rock told the audience there was a point when watching porn was a top priority, sharing, "I was 15 minutes late everywhere." He went on to add, "You have a hard time with eye contact and verbal cues. What happens when you watch too much porn is you get desensitized. When you start watching porn, any porn'll do. 'Ah, they're naked. Woo-hoo.' Then, later on, you're all f***ed up." Rock concluded, "I'm a lot better now."

In a 2014 chat with Neal Brennan for The Approval Matrix, Rock pointed out how much easier it is to access porn nowadays. "If you have a phone, basically you're walking around with a porn machine," he quipped. "It's actually more important than the fact that I can talk to individuals around the world. Porn is just as important." 

Rock has been incredibly transparent about his mental health journey as a whole. In a 2020 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he shared that he goes to therapy seven hours a week to unpack the ups and downs of his life. 

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Rumors of divorce were strong

Throughout Chris Rock and Malaak Compton-Rock's marriage, rumors about the state of their relationship bubbled up more than once. In November 2006, TMZ reported that Rock filed for divorce. At the time, Rock's representative told the outlet, "I cannot comment at this time." Coincidentally, these specific rumors were circulating right around when Rock was filming "I Think I Love My Wife." As previously noted, the gossip mill claimed that he and costar Kerry Washington had a behind-the-scenes thing. 

Rock and Compton-Rock did not divorce that year, or the following year. In fact, the couple set the record straight and issued a statement to People in March 2007 to clear up any confusion. "Though we have tried in the past to take the high road and not comment on the tabloid media, we find it necessary to express on record how unfortunate it is that the Daily News, specifically, and other tabloid outlets have chosen to print untrue rumors and lies about our family and marriage," the two said. "It is extremely hurtful to us, our children, and our extended family. We remain, as always, very happy and committed to our marriage and the beautiful family that we have built."

The couple divorced after 19 years of marriage

Chris Rock and Malaak Compton-Rock remained together for another seven years after the initial divorce rumors started making the media rounds in 2007. By December 2014, the couple's divorce was officially underway. According to ABC News, Rock was the one to file, but the decision to separate was mutual. In a statement to People, Compton-Rock said, "After much contemplation and 19 years of marriage, Chris and I have decided to go our separate ways...While recognizing that this is a significant change, my children remain at the center of my life and their well-being is my top priority."

The divorce was anything but amicable and simple, however. As the two were working out the divorce, Rock accused his wife of not allowing him to see their two daughters. In documents obtained by People, Rock's rep claimed, "[Compton-Rock] has repeatedly refused to permit [him] normal and usual access to the children, and has acted in a manner detrimental to the children's best interests." Compton-Rock's attorney issued a statement in response, and denied Rock's claims. The two settled their custody dispute and agreed on sharing custody of their children, per Lasiter Law.

The divorce was costly for Chris Rock

As the couple's divorce was unfolding, Page Six reported that Malaak Compton-Rock was seeking her fair share of Chris Rock's near $70 millon fortune and assets. According to the outlet, the court filings stated that Compton-Rock wanted enough money to "commensurate with the marital standard of living." 

According to TMZ, the divorce was finalized in 2016, but the details of the agreement, including a monetary settlement, were never published. That said, Rock did reveal that it was costly for him to divorce in a 2021 interview on "The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon." In discussing the news of comedian John Mulaney's divorce from Anna Marie Tendler, Rock joked he advised that Mulaney hire not his own attorney, but the person who represented his former spouse.

"This is how much money I lost in my divorce: I recommended my ex-wife's divorce lawyer," Rock said. "I was like, 'You should get this guy, he'll get you your money." He even went as far as to jest that he could barely afford tickets to Fallon's show on the night of his appearance.

The two have moved on since the divorce

Shortly after the couple's divorce was finalized, Chris Rock started dating actor Megalyn Echikunwoke. The two were initially linked in 2016, with a source telling Page Six at the time, "They've been having sleepovers at his house in New Jersey. She seems really comfortable with him at home and they're very affectionate with each other." Echikunwoke gushed about Rock to People in 2016, telling the outlet, "He's a comedian. He's funny. He's really wonderful. He's a very dreamy guy, and I'm a lucky girl." The two remained together for four years before ultimately splitting in 2020, allegedly due to the fact that Rock did not want another serious relationship after his divorce, according to Page Six.

Rock was also linked to British actor Carmen Ejogo, known for her roles in "Selma" and "True Detective," in September 2020. The two were spotted having dinner together in NYC, according to the Daily Mail. One month later in October 2020, Rock and Ejogo were seen out together again, but this time in Malibu, per People. However, neither one has confirmed or denied a romantic relationship.

Malaak Compton-Rock has also found new love and appears to be dating a man named Eric. The Styleworks founder lovingly shared pictures of her boyfriend on Instagram, wishing him a happy birthday in January 2021, writing in part, "Sweet, kind, loving, romantic, adventurous, fun-loving, inquisitive, giving, spiritual." At the time of the post, Compton-Rock alluded that they were together for at least two and a half years.