Strange Things About Jennifer Hudson's Relationship

In November 2017, singer Jennifer Hudson and former pro wrestler David Otunga surprised the celeb world when they announced their split after a decade together and one child. Making the news even more shocking: she filed a restraining order against the Harvard Law grad.

"Jennifer requested and received a protective order against her ex-fiancé," her rep told People. "Jennifer's actions are solely taken in the best interest of their son." What happened to this seemingly stable pair? Let's take a closer look.

Jennifer Hudson and David Otunga got engaged quickly

Jennifer Hudson and David Otunga were dating for less than a year when her rep confirmed to People that he put a ring on it in September 2008. 

Hudson's dating life prior to Otunga is shrouded in mystery, while his own romantic history played out on reality TV. Before JHud, he attempted to romance Tiffany "New York" Pollard as Punk on the iconic I Love New York 2.

Believe it or not, Oscar-winner Hudson actually noticed him for the first time on the VH1 series. Otunga told talk show host Wendy Williams in 2012, "She first noticed me on [I Love New York 2.] I started doing a lot of interviews after the show wrapped and made friends with a couple of people. Next thing you know, [a friend of mine] says 'Hey, you should meet my friend Jennifer.'"

Hudson's family tragedy stalled their wedding plans

Hudson's mother, Darnell Donnerson, and brother, Jason Hudson, were tragically shot and killed by her sister's ex, William Balfour, at their Chicago home just one month after she and Otunga got engaged. Her 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, was found shot dead three days later. 

While the slayings obviously overshadowed potential wedding planning, it also brought the couple closer. Hudson credits Otunga and their son, David Daniel Otunga, Jr., with saving her life. "That's one of the things that saved my life, because I could have been home with my mom then. [Otunga] wanted me to come out to Florida with him instead of going to Chicago," Hudson told Ebony in November 2011 (via the New York Post). "I flew out to see him. That's why I'm still here."

In 2012, Otunga told People that Balfour's conviction on three counts of murder helped everyone begin to move forward. "That was something that was hanging over our heads for so long, and now we feel like we can finally breathe a sigh of relief," he said. "Everything is good now. I'm blessed to have such a wonderful woman in my life who cares for our child so lovingly. It's made me love her just that much more."

Jennifer Hudson and David Otunga were engaged forever

Despite their engagement in 2008 and the birth of their son, David Jr., in 2009, the pair never married — which makes Jennifer Hudson's reasoning for not walking down the aisle all the more bizarre. The American Idol alum says she didn't want to rush.

"We will get married one day, but again, my thing is once I get married, I don't believe in divorce. So when I get married, it's for good," Hudson told The Wendy Williams Show in 2014. "We want to be completely sure we're together, we're happy." 

To the public, they seemed like a rock solid couple from the start, so it's unclear why Hudson continued to hesitate. She told Essence in August 2016, "It's about timing. I am in no rush at all... We will [get married]. It will happen."

Ciara gave Hudson the wedding bug

Though David Otunga and Jennifer Hudson never made it down the aisle, the Dreamgirls (2008) star admitted that seeing her pal Ciara tie the knot with NFL star Russell Wilson made her want to start finally committing to the idea of getting hitched.

"After being at Ciara's wedding, I'm like 'Okay,'" she told Essence in August 2016. "I don't know, it inspired something. I just loved her dress. It was so beautiful. So that made me say 'Okay, all my friends and peers are married now.' You know what I mean?"

Their relationship was over for months before anyone knew

Though the public didn't hear about their breakup until November 2017, Jennifer Hudson and David Otunga's relationship apparently ended long before the headlines broke. Hudson's rep told People in November 2017: "They have been in the process of ending their relationship for a number of months."

David Otunga reportedly thought Jennifer Hudson was cheating

TMZ reported that David Otunga and Jennifer Hudson ended their relationship after he accused her of having an affair with music producer Mali Music. Despite the breakup, the former couple reportedly continued to live together while trying to reach a custody agreement for their son.

In documents obtained by TMZ, Hudson alleged that a jealous Otunga called her several times while she was at a recording session in Chicago. When he couldn't reach her, she claimed he had their son try to film her for him to prove she was romantically involved with the producer.

Hudson accused him of physical abuse

Jennifer Hudson claimed in court documents obtained by TMZ that when she and their son returned home following the aforementioned incident at the recording studio in Chicago, Otunga became violent. Hudson accused Otunga of grabbing David Daniel Jr. by the hand roughly, then pushing her out of their suite. The former American Idol starlet claimed it was the most recent incident in a pattern of allegedly escalating behavior that she found threatening from the 6'3" former WWE star. The situation reportedly prompted her file a report with the Burr Ridge, Ill. police department and obtain a protective order against him. 

Otunga denied the abuse allegations

David Otunga denied Jennifer Hudson's abuse allegations. His attorney, Tracey Rizzo, told People, "As a result of Mr. Otunga's career in the WWE, Ms. Hudson felt that she could give an award winning performance in court to portray herself as the victim. Mr. Otunga has never abused or harassed Ms. Hudson or their son, and it is unfortunate, especially in today's climate, that she would feel the need to make these false allegations against him."

Rizzo's statement continued: "Ms. Hudson thought it was appropriate to have their son at a recording studio until 12:30 a.m. on a school night. Mr. Otunga's only concern that evening was putting the child to bed so that he could be well rested for school. At no time did Mr. Otunga 'physically push' Ms. Hudson as she has alleged. Everyone who knows Mr. Otunga in his personal life can attest to the fact that he is a highly educated, sophisticated, and non-violent man, and that his primary concern in life is caring for the parties' son ... Ms. Hudson is much less available to care for the child as a result of her constant traveling, but Mr. Otunga has always notified Ms. Hudson of the child's activities and whereabouts."

She also accused him of psychological abuse

Jennifer Hudson accused David Otunga of deliberately leaving a gun visible on their kitchen counter to scare her. In documents obtained by TMZ, Hudson alleged: "David knows that I am and have been very sensitive to firearms after my mother and my brother were murdered by a firearm ... I believe that he left it out to taunt, intimidate and frighten me, which he absolutely accomplished." 

Otunga's attorney told People, "Mr. Otunga does not own a firearm, and the gun referenced in Ms. Hudson's petition was a prop that he used for an audition, just as he told her it was at the time she saw it in their house."

They were gearing up for a custody fight

Jennifer Hudson reportedly accused David Otunga of threatening to skip town with their son. In court documents obtained by The Blast, Hudson claimed Otunga took David Daniel Jr. out of school and she only found out about it when a safety app used by the school alerted her to his exit. Hudson and Otunga also each claimed to be the primary caregiver for their son, so their custody fight shaped up to be a nasty one. 

Otunga's attorney told People, "David Otunga has been trying to negotiate the terms of an amicable parenting agreement with Ms. Hudson for several weeks now. However, when it became apparent to Ms. Hudson that Mr. Otunga would be the parent granted residential care of the child, as a result of Mr. Otunga being the child's primary caregiver while Ms. Hudson pursues her career all over the world, Ms. Hudson decided to file a meritless Petition for Order of Protection in an effort to gain an unfair advantage in the custody dispute ... Mr. Otunga looks forward to his day in court and in being awarded the residential care of the parties' only child."

However, The Blast reported that Hudson was temporarily granted full custody of David Daniel Jr., as well as exclusive possession of the home they shared. 

David Otunga was cleared of those abuse charges

In January 2018, David Otunga was cleared of the domestic battery charges Jennifer Hudson levied against him. According to TMZ, the singer-actress had filed a report with the Burr Ridge, Ill. police department after alleging that Otunga had "grabbed their son [David Jr.] by the hand and shoved her out of their bedroom" during an argument. However, following a police investigation into the alleged matter, no charges were filed against Otunga.

Furthermore, just two weeks after their breakup news made headlines the previous yer, Hudson voluntarily dropped her order of protection against Otunga on the condition that he promise to never return to her property, The Blast reports. Still, an insider close to the American Idol alum claimed at the time that this didn't mean Otunga — who vehemently denied all of her allegations — was a victor here. "Jennifer dropped the order so they could remove the matter from the courtroom," the source alleged to People, "and work together to do what is best for their child."

They fought over work and money

Jennifer Hudson essentially accused David Otunga of trying to freeload off her success during their relationship — an allegation he furiously denied. Court documents obtained by The Blast in January 2018 revealed that she demanded he get a job, while he accused her of defaming him in the press by barring him from defending himself publicly.

Meanwhile, Hudson's legal team denied Otunga's assertions that he was David Jr.'s primary caregiver in April 2019. Alleging that his traveling for the WWE forced him to be on the road often, the filing also reportedly slammed Otunga for appearing in 2019's Madea's Family Funeral and claimed he was trying follow "a career path identical" to Hudson's.

Ultimately, Hudson refused to pay for Otunga's housing costs since they were never married. "Having a child with a celebrity should not be the basis to treat David like someone who has given birth to a child and who has no means of supporting the child," the filing stated. "Jennifer is the one who gave birth to the minor child, who had the minor child with her as she traveled prior to the difficulties the parties experienced in their relationship."

Meanwhile, Otunga fired back in court documents obtained by TMZ. Revealing that he actually still had a job with the WWE, he claimed that Hudson allegedly "gave him an ultimatum" five years prior to choose between wrestling and his family, thereby making it hard for him to work during that period.

Hudson and Otunga settled their differences just ahead of trial

The Chicago Tribune reported in March 2019 that the judge in Jennifer Hudson and David Otunga's ongoing custody case had warned the exes that if they didn't come to an agreement soon, the dispute would have to go to trial. By the following month, Otunga reportedly wanted Hudson to testify under oath in the case, believing it would help his arguments for custody of David Jr. (via The Blast). With a trial date reportedly set for that August, the former couple finally settled their differences in July of that year.

While the details have remained mostly under wraps due to a gag order, The Blast reports that Hudson and Otunga had debated about everything, even down to where David Jr.'s school bus would stop. However, the exes settled on "a fluid custody agreement," in which they planned to sync up their schedules every two months with an objective of finalizing a 50-50 custody arrangement. In the agreement, each parent would have a say in important decisions. In addition to the agreement that David Jr. reportedly must be raised Christian, the publication noted that Hudson and Otunga "have to agree on the choice of public school (must be in Illinois), have to help with homework and can't take the kid out of school without warning."