Scandal, Lost Trust & Marital Problems: Inside Kendra Wilkinson Baskett and Hank's Highs & Lows
“Kendra is just not happy,” the source said. “She’s always been someone who wanted to be fully committed, married forever, and was definitely a ‘I’ll never get a divorce’ kind of girl, but she really lost trust in her marriage and she’s realized there’s no turning back.”
On Tuesday, an insider close to the Kendra on Top star revealed that the duo is focused on executing a “graceful separation” for the sake of their son Hank IV, 8, and daughter Alijah, 3.
“They’re still talking, but it’s mostly for the kids,” an insider said about the couple, who has been upfront about their marital woes. “It’s really important to both of them that they don’t traumatize the kids.”
Here’s a look back at the highs and lows they’ve faced throughout their relationship.
Kendra, who met the former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver in 2008, admitted that she and Hank were dating during an interview with Chelsea Handler on Chelsea Lately, and about a month later, news broke that the couple was engaged.
“[She] has met someone who she would like to spend the rest of her life with,” Kendra’s ex-boyfriend, Hugh Hefner, said in a statement at the time. “I have given her my blessing and will be giving her away at a very special wedding ceremony at the Playboy Mansion this coming June.”
After seven months of planning, the engaged couple announced in June 2009 that they would be expecting their first child together in December.
“I want her to enjoy this wedding because if she’s happy, I’m happy. That’s all that matters,” the former NFL star told PEOPLE about helping Kendra balance pregnancy and wedding planning.
Later that month, the former Playmate married Hank at her onetime residence, the Playboy Mansion, in Los Angeles.
Six months after tying the knot, Kendra and Hank welcomed their son.
“We’ve already decided to name our son Hank Baskett IV,” she previously said. “Hank’s dad and his grandfather were both named Hank, so it was very important to us to carry on the family tradition.”
After giving birth, Kendra opened up about her battle with postpartum depression.
“It got pretty bad, [but] not to the point where I would harm my family,” she told PEOPLE in 2011. “I was a great mom and did what I needed to, but I was definitely very depressed. [Motherhood is] a big change in life and it happened overnight.”
“Your baby is no. 1 100 percent of the time, but I do still take me time — you need to do that every now and then,” she added. “I’m back to being that Kendra that everyone knew at the Playboy Mansion, but a lot more mature and grown up. I’m more aware of life.”
In 2013, the couple had a second baby on their minds.
“Right now, we found the key to happiness. We have the key to marriage, we have the key to parenting, why not right now bring a new life into this world while we’re this happy? It just makes sense,” she previously told PEOPLE.
Marriage Rocked By Scandal
In 2011, the duo decided to embark on a new adventure together in the reality TV world. Starring in WE tv’s Kendra On Top, the duo shared their deepest secrets and relationship woes with viewers for eight seasons.
Three years later in 2014, news broke that Hank had an affair with a transgender model while Kendra was eight months pregnant with their second child, daughter Alijah.
“I messed up,” Hank previously told PEOPLE. “I put myself in a bad situation. And everything through me brought pain upon this family.”
“I was this big former football player,” he added. “I was the alpha male. I could do anything to protect my family but I couldn’t protect myself.”
After the media frenzy and just five weeks after their daughter’s birth, Kendra “went ballistic,” she said, kicking Hank out, flushing her wedding rings down the toilet and threatening divorce. “I couldn’t control my emotions.”
However, once Hank came clean and displayed honesty, Kendra stood by him. “I don’t say the word ‘cheat.’ I can say he was not loyal to me,” she said. “I don’t care about the act. I care about how he reacted to it and how I was told by the media what happened. That scarred me.”
Finding Trust Again
The couple, who has been open about their experience with couples therapy, participated in a season of WE tv’s Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars, and viewers watched as the couple just couldn’t seem to put their past behind them.
Despite their relationship strife, they were committed to fighting for each other, their marriage and their family.
“He loves me, and we’re going to be together for the rest of our lives. We’ll prove it … until we’re 100 years old. We’re gonna be together forever,” she said during an appearance on Access Hollywood Live in November 2014.
“I’m finding the trust again,” she told PEOPLE in 2015. “And I’m actually very happy Hank went through this now because he’s able to teach his son and his daughter what it’s like to make a mistake and what you do after making a mistake.”
RELATED VIDEO: Kendra Wilkinson & Hank Baskett Are Preparing to Separate: ‘She Realized There’s No Turning Back’
A Step Forward
During an explosive fight on a 2015 episode of Kendra On Top, Kendra asked Hank, “How do you think it makes me feel to be told repeatedly that you don’t want to be married anymore?”
“I’m sitting here doing everything I can to pick up the pieces and fight for our marriage,” she said. “But it doesn’t seem like it’s ever good enough.”
But in 2016, the couple revealed that their marriage was better than ever.
“We poke fun at each other all the time now. Before it was so serious,” Kendra said. “The drama that we went through just shook us up. It ate us up and spit us out new people. I’m so thankful we both held on.”
And in March 2017, the couple celebrated their 9-year anniversary of when they first met.
“9 years ago I met the person who would take me all the way to the top and hold me there even during the weakest times. We met that day out on the golf course and knew he was mine. Even with little bump in the road, nothing or nobody can be greater or make me feel more successful than @hank_baskett,” Kendra wrote in a sweet Instagram post. “Imperfection is where great change and growth happens with us. We are true best friends who f— good, fight good, golf good, BBQ and drink beer good. Thank you Hank for being there on the golf course that day and being that shy guy. Thank u for my happiness and our children… here’s to eternity.”
Hank expressed his gratitude on social media as well. “In life you’re told to go with your gut. Well, 9 years ago I did just that. This day is special to me not because it’s my Pops birthday but it’s also the day this picture was taken, the day I met @kendra_wilkinson_baskett. I wasn’t going to attend the Playboy golf tournament because they said I couldn’t have Pops out to play with me and for his birthday I told him we were going to play golf,” he wrote.
“When I told him where I might be instead he looked at me like I was crazy and said ‘Boy, you better take your butt to LA!’ Not because of Playboy but because I was going to golf on a nice course. We had no idea that trip would change my life. I sit here 8 years later having it all, and by all I mean my family. Kendra, Lil Hank and Alijah. Had I skipped the tournament as planned who knows where I’d be,” he wrote. “Luckily a wise man told me to go play golf. Instead of just a day of golf I found a lifetime of love! Things happen for a reason and I’m eternally grateful they did that day! I love you bayba!!”
More Marital Problems
Last month, Kendra admitted that the duo was “having issues” and denied that their “marital problems” are made up for cameras.
“1. how do u fake marital problems? makes absolutely no sense,” Kendra began an Instagram post, which accompanied a screenshot of an article titled, “Made-Up Marriage Problems?! Kendra’s Faking It for TV.”
“2. Yes we are having issues,” she continued. “3. My job has been reality tv for 13 years 4. My show was a comedy and light hearted til sad times happened then we had to change my show from comedy to drama. Not what i wanted but was a part of my journey and story.”
In a fifth point, Kendra shared that “these issues Hank n I are having in our home which we are tryin to hard to over come, everyone knows about, including producers and network, friends and family.”
“6. My job is reality TV and I love my job unfortunately these issues at home are affecting my decisions cuz the last thing i want to do is hurt Hank,” she shared. “7. I hope to get back to the fun Kendra you all know. That’s all i want n aim for. I hate drama!!!”
She concluded by thanking fans for their “support and understanding me at this time. I’ve been in a lot of therapy lately n hope all gets resolved for me, Hank,kids and even for TV. Lol 😂.”
RELATED VIDEO: Kendra’s Ultimatum! Wilkinson Threatens to Cut Mom Off From Her Kids Over Exposé: ‘There’s No Coming Back’
Differing Parenting Styles
On top of fighting through their relationship battles, the duo has been struggling to connect when it comes to their parenting techniques.
“They love each other and the family dynamic they’ve built together but just aren’t on the same page when it comes to parenting styles,” a source close to Kendra told PEOPLE.
“Hank is definitely more of the disciplinarian, but they’ve been trying to work together. Kendra has always been focused on her career – but loves her kids. It’s a tough balancing act for her as with any working mom. She spent half of 2017 performing her play in Las Vegas but would fly home as much as she could. Hank would take the kids to see her often too,” said the source.
“They love each other very much and will always support one another,” the insider added. “Hank is such a blessing — he’s a great father. He’s always helping out and is very hands on.”
Going Their Separate Ways
After nearly nine years of marriage, Kendra confirmed on April 6 that the pair has decided to split.
“Today is the last day of my marriage to this beautiful man. I will forever love Hank and be open but for now we have chosen to go our own ways,” she captioned a photo of herself and Hank.
“I’m beyond sad and heartbroken because i did believe in forever, that’s why i said yes but unfortunately too much fear has gotten in the way. We are both amazing parents and our kids will be happy n never know the difference other than seeing mama smile,” she continued.
“Sometimes love looks funny. We are told to make sacrifices in life if it’s true love well in this case it’s me. I want to see happy Hank again… i miss that,” Kendra wrote. “Marriage was just a piece of paper and a piece of jewelry but our hearts will always be real. U will prob see us together a lot but it’s because there’s no hate.”
She concluded: “Love wins in this case it’s just looks a little funny. Thank you Hank for a beautiful 8 years of marriage and 2 beautiful kids. I feel so thankful and blessed. ❤”
Filing for Divorce
Also on April 6, Wilkinson filed court documents to legally end their nearly nine-year marriage. In documents obtained by PEOPLE, Wilkinson cites irreconcilable differences as the reason for their separation.