'black-ish' Creator Kenya Barris, Whose Marriage Served as Inspiration for Show, Is Divorcing His Wife

Kenya Barris' wife, Dr. Rania "Rainbow" Barris, has previously filed for divorce but the couple reconciled

Rainbow Edwards-Barris and Kenya Barris
Photo: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

Kenya Barris‘ love story has come to an end.

The black-ish creator filed for divorce from his wife Dr. Rania “Rainbow” Barris in Los Angeles Superior Court last Friday, according to the Associated Press. Friday was also the producer’s 45th birthday.

Kenya’s relationship with Rania has served as inspiration for the relationship between Andre “Dre” Johnson and Rainbow “Bow” Johnson on the ABC sitcom, portrayed by Emmy nominees Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, respectively.

Rania filed for divorce in 2014, but the couple was able to reconcile but she withdrew the request for divorce the following year, the AP reports.

The Season 4 finale of black-ish seemed to draw from that experience, as it showed Dre and Bow’s marriage crumbling.

In a 2018 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rania said that she told her husband, “I think you owe it to your viewers to show this,” referring to their marital struggles.

“Because so many of the stories are situations very exact to our life, Kenya cannot help as a writer but to make the character of Bow more prominent [and] important,” Rania said.

Kenya Barris (R) and his Wife Rainbow Edwards-Barris
Rainbow Barris, Kenya Barris. Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Kenya has also spoken about the marriage problems his characters face, saying that he wanted to portray real-life situations on screen.

“When I was growing up, I never saw couples fight on the family sitcoms I loved to watch,” he said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

“Subsequently, when tough times arose in my own relationship, I wasn’t prepared and felt so isolated and alone,” he continued. “Marital issues weren’t a part of the narrative that television told me was a ‘working relationship.’”

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Kenya also pointed out how “53 percent of American marriages fail,” — “which is about the same odds as DeAndre Jordan making a free-throw,” he said.

“I wanted to explore Dre and Bow’s relationship going through a difficult time and how it impacts the whole family,” he said.

Kenya and Rania tied the knot in 1999, and share six children. Kenya is also a producer on the sitcom’s spin-off grown-ish, and was a writer on the 2017 movie Girls Trip. A rep for Kenya did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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