But their combined seven children weren’t immediately on board with the plan of blending their households after Steve and Marjorie reconnected years after dating and then drifting apart.
“I said, ‘Look, you don’t like it? Deal with it. I don’t need y’all’s permission,’ ” Steve, 59, tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story.
• For much more on Steve Harvey’s life, pick up the upcoming issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
Marjorie, 51, took a different approach.
“When you’re dealing with a blended family, everyone is coming from a place of broken,” she says. “We knew this was right. But I just told them, ‘Everyone is included. Everyone has access to their parents. Whatever you didn’t have before, don’t let that interfere with what you can have now.’ ”
Her words resonated with their children – Steve’s twin daughters Brandi and Karli, now 33 and from his marriage to first wife Marcia, and sons Broderick, 25, and Wynton, 18, from his second marriage to Mary Shackelford, plus Marjorie’s children Morgan, 29, Jason, 24, and Lori, 19, from her previous marriage.
“Now,” says Marjorie, “we’re Mom and Dad to everybody.”
Harvey, who hosts NBC’s hit variety series Little Big Shots, is busy juggling his career as a comedian, TV host and bestselling author. He credits his wife for helping him achieve his dreams.
“It was like being reborn,” he says of reconnecting with Marjorie. “I messed up so many times in my life. She made all the difference. When you’re happy at home, you can make a lot of things happen.”