'Black-ish' Creator Kenya Barris Files for Divorce from Wife Rainbow

Barris and his wife, who inspired Tracee Ellis Ross's character on the ABC hit, have been married for more than 20 years and share six children

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 27: Executive Producer Kenya Barris (R) and Dr. Rainbow Edwards-Barris attend the 8th Annual Television Academy Honors at Montage Beverly Hills on May 27, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
Photo: Michael Tullberg/Getty

Kenya Barris is ending his marriage to his estranged wife, Dr. Rania "Rainbow" Barris, after being together for more than 20 years, PEOPLE has confirmed.

The black-ish creator filed for divorce in Los Angeles Superior Court on June 1, citing "irreconcilable differences," according to a court document obtained by PEOPLE.

The legal paperwork also noted the pair, who share six children, including four minors — Lola, 16, Beau, 14, Kass, 12, and Bronx, 5 — have been separated since September 2020. In addition to requesting joint and legal custody of their kids, Kenya also indicated that spousal support will be paid to his ex, per the document.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 14: Writer Kenya Barris and Dr. Rainbow Edwards-Barris attend the premiere of Music Box Films' "Norman Lear: Just Another Version Of You" at The WGA Theater on July 14, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
Michael Tullberg/Getty

This isn't the first time couple has move to legally sever their marriage — Rania, 47, first filed for divorce in 2014 but withdrew her request less than a year later, after the duo reconciled, per the Associated Press.

The outlet also reported Kenya, 47, filed for divorce in 2019 before later calling it off.

The Barrises wed in 1999. Their love story served as inspiration for the ABC sitcom's central relationship, earning Emmy nominations for actors Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross as Andre "Dre" Johnson and Rainbow "Bow" Johnson.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Notably, black-ish's season 4 finale seemed to draw from the real-life couple's experience as it showed Dre and Bow's marital struggles.

In a 2018 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rania said she told her husband, "I think you owe it to your viewers to show this."

She added, "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."

RELATED: Anthony Anderson: Kenya Barris Is 'Still My Partner In Crime' on black-ish

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

"When I was growing up, I never saw couples fight on the family sitcoms I loved to watch," he told EW in 2018.

"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.'"

Kenya is also a producer on the sitcom's spin-off grown-ish and was a writer on the 2017 movie Girls Trip.

His representatives did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Related Articles