Whenever a woman formerly attached to a male celebrity gets a big divorce payout I always think, must be nice. Often times that woman will never have to lift a finger again, except to count her millions, which makes whatever pain she had to suffer through in the marriage seem worth it in the end, from the outside looking in of course. But there’s always another part of me that questions whether marriage for any amount of years entitles one to a lifetime of freeloading, for lack of a better term, and I ask that question even more when the person receiving alimony is a man.
Kendu Issacs is requesting Mary J. Blige pay him $129,319 per month in temporary spousal support under the guise of needing to continue the lavish lifestyle he’s become accustomed to during their 12 years of marriage. He also claims he has zero income now, since Mary fired him as her manager after filing for divorce in July. It’s an unfortunate chain of events — the kind Mary was smart enough to financially protect herself from by having her soon-to-be ex-husband sign a prenup — but considering Mary has already broke Kendu off with $85,000 just ‘cuz (he argues it’s because she knows their prenup is bogus since he signed it without a lawyer present), I think Kendu should spend more time hustling for new talent to rep instead of trying to hustle his ex-wife.
While I get the financial devastation Kendu is likely experiencing, he’s no different from any other American whose job can be here today and gone tomorrow. It would be one thing if he gave up a career to support Mary’s or stayed home and raised children, but he was Mary’s manager before they were married. He actually earned money off of her for at least 12 years, now she’s supposed to pay him more? I think not. There’s absolutely nothing stopping Kendu from finding other clients and I would say the same thing if we were talking about a woman in this situation. However, it is the fact that we’re talking about a man that adds just an extra layer of no ma’am to the situation. Or make that no sir.
I’m not here for anyone living off of anyone else, but I’m especially not here for men — who are basically the privileged salt of the earth — maintaining their lifestyles off the backs of women. If anyone can pull themselves up by their proverbial bootstraps it’s certainly a member of the male gender who actually earns every cent of every dollar they make. And let’s not forget the way being a female breadwinner is still largely synonymous with emasculation and other negative qualities. I can’t think of anything more emasculating than being totally supported by a woman with no job to speak of, and yet the Kendus, Chris Judds and Kevin Federlines of the world march on, much to the dismay of hard-working women everywhere.
Though only 3% of alimony recipients are men, women are working overtime on reform now that we’re paying alimony more often. Yes, it’s hypocritical that we didn’t care before, but wealthy men would reap the benefits of our labor as well (go figure!) because as Ken Neumann, a founder of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators, pointed out, “It’s unfair for men to pay it, and unfair for women to pay it. But women are much more outraged by it.”
As much as we bemoan gender roles, when women are still bombarded with messages about men being born to lead, from the boardroom to the bedroom, it’s hard not to look down on a man (or anyone for that matter) who isn’t earning their own livelihood or even trying to. It’s one thing to request a little money to tide one over after a split, it’s quite another to claim you need $1.5 million to survive. The latter is something I simply can’t respect, especially coming out of the mouth of a man.