Jennifer Hudson‘s split from David Otunga—her romantic partner of 10 years—has fans reeling, and her protective order against the father of her 8-year-old son, David Daniel Otunga Jr., has many wondering what went wrong in their seemingly happy and stable relationship.
Despite Hudson’s legal steps, which her representative told PEOPLE were “taken in the best interest of their son,” Otunga’s attorney released a statement insisting his client “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.” The statement continued to say Otunga plans to fight for primary custody.
Hudson, 36, is famed as the American Idol hopeful who shot to Oscar-winner superstar status, but much less is known about Otunga.
In addition to his best known career as a pro-wrestler, 37-year-old Otunga has extremely impressive academic credentials. With a reportedly perfect high school GPA, he worked as a laboratory manager in Columbia University’s Cognitive Neuroscience Center before going on to graduate from Harvard Law. Upon passing the Illinois state bar exam, he joined the law firm Sidley Austin in 2005.
His transition into show business began in 2007, when he appeared as a contestant on the VH1 reality gameshow I Love New York 2. Dubbed “Punk” on the series, he rose to the final three suitors competing for the hand of Tiffany “New York” Pollard, but was given the boot on the penultimate episode.
The November of the next year, Otunga began his long standing association with the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) organization. He made his ring debut on May 29, 2009 under the moniker Dawson Alexander before fighting under his own name. A two-time WWE Tag Team Champion, he most recently served as a commentator with the WWE’s Raw brand.
In addition to his wresting career, Otunga appeared in several films, including the psychological thriller The Call alongside Halle Berry in 2013 and the 2016 comedy What Happened Last Night featuring Amber Rose. He also had a role on the long running daytime soap General Hospital in 2014, and was a frequent guest on The Wendy Williams Show and Steve Harvey.
He met Hudson shortly before signing to the WWE. Apparently it was his reality show past that first attracted the vocal powerhouse’s attention. “She first noticed me on [I Love New York 2],” he told Wendy Williams in 2012. “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.’”
Less than a year after their first date, Otunga popped the question on Hudson’s 27th birthday: Sept. 12, 2008. She gave birth to their son, David Jr., on Aug. 10 the following year, but their wedding date never materialized.