"If the communication were better and more open and honest, I think we could solve our problems," Kenya Moore tells PEOPLE exclusively of her relationship with Marc Daly
Kenya Moore is setting the record straight about her surprising split from husband Marc Daly.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta star, who shares 1-year-old daughter Brooklyn Doris with Daly, opens up for the first time about the breakup exclusively in this week’s issue of PEOPLE — saying that the two haven’t filed for divorce yet and she’s hopeful they can find a way back together, but only if she and her estranged spouse can work through their issues.
“I didn’t get married to quit,” Moore says. “I love my husband. I don’t doubt that he loves me. Let me be clear, I took my vows seriously. I believe in for better and for worse and I believe in trying it all before you walk away, especially when we do have a child and we are a family.”
Unfortunately, she “doesn’t get the sense that [Daly] feels the same way.”
“I am hopeful, and have always wanted to work on our relationship. But I just don’t know if that’s even a possibility at this point, honestly,” Moore admits. “Marc doesn’t seem to be there. I’d feel more comfortable calling it quits if I knew I’d tried everything and it still didn’t work. And we definitely didn’t do everything we could have done to save our relationship.”
Back in September, Moore, 48, and Daly, 49, shocked fans when they announced in back-to-back statements exclusively to PEOPLE that they were going their separate ways after two years of marriage. (They wed in June 2017.)
Just days earlier, the pair had appeared like a united front on The Tamron Hall Show as they sat alongside Brooklyn Doris, with Moore calling Daly “the love of my life” as he recounted how he supported her through her long IVF process.
Their out-of-the-blue split left fans whirling, something Moore understands. “I think a lot of people were rooting for me, rooting for us, and rooting for our beautiful family,” she says. “So for something to come out of the blue, I know it really hurt and confused a lot of people who were on our side.”
But with that confusion came a sea of rumors about the breakup, with gossip blogs reporting about blowout fights and accusations that Daly was unfaithful and living with a secret family.
None of that is true, Moore says. “I can tell you I’ve heard a lot of rumors about secret families. I can tell you that’s completely made up; there’s zero truth to that,” she says. “In terms of infidelity, I’ve had no proof of that. That’s not our issue.”
So what is their issue? Well, some of it stems from the fact that Moore and Daly were living and commuting between two households: her home in Atlanta and his in N.Y.C., where he owns several restaurants.
“The distance had really been taking a toll on us,” says Moore. “Initially when we had the baby, it was great. He was there for every single doctor’s appointment, every ultrasound, every scare, we were 90 percent together. He was a very supportive husband during that time.”
After Brooklyn’s birth, though, that became harder.
“Marc opened up two new businesses and is opening up another,” Moore explains. “It was frustrating for me that he kept opening businesses in New York, but listen — I want him to be successful and that’s how he feeds his family. So I couldn’t be selfish. But if you’re living in two different places, you have to be together during the times you are in the same place; either you’re both in NY and you’re both in Atlanta. And when we’d be in the same place, we weren’t always in the same place. So with the businesses, the distance, and the baby, it just became hard for us to figure it all out.”
Asked why they didn’t just move, Moore says they “each liked where we lived and wanted to split our time.”
“A lot of couples do and they do it successfully,” Moore says. “New York and Atlanta, it gave us a full life. There’s no other city like New York in the world; I loved our life there. And Marc, he loves Atlanta. He has his own friends here, and it’s a family environment where there’s a home and a yard for kids to play, without the daily anxiety of living in a big city. It was the best of both worlds.”
Still, the real problem between Moore and Daly, she says, was the basic communication issues the two were having and never seemed to surpass.
“We communicate in very different ways,” Moore reveals. “I’m seen as tough on the show because I take up for myself … [but] in my relationships at home, I am the opposite. I’m not a fighter. I don’t want to fight at home. I want to be able to talk; I want to be able to rationally discuss things. And I get to the point where, I’ll withdraw if it seems too combative or not healthy.”
“If the communication were better and more open and honest, I think we could solve our problems,” Moore continues.
She went on to tell PEOPLE that she pushed Daly to go to counseling, but that he hasn’t agreed.
That’s something that still leaves Moore frustrated.
“Counseling could be a big proponent in flushing out issues a couple may have. Then after a considerable amount of time and effort, you can make the decision whether you can come to a common ground and you can still work on the relationship or not. And I never got that opportunity,” Moore says. “I’m not saying that opportunity may not exist in the future. But I just don’t have a complete sense of if that’s something that he’s still willing to do.”
- For more on Kenya Moore, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
Daly, through his rep, had no comment about Moore’s claims.
Though he and Moore haven’t seen one another since the day before they released their statements, she says things between them have been “pretty civil” during the time they’ve been apart and that he has even seen Brooklyn following the split.
“He had a great time with her,” Moore says. “And he FaceTimes her every day. He’s a great dad to her.”
And that’s the most important thing to Moore.
“I’ll always want Marc to be in Brooklyn’s life,” she says. “Brooklyn is a special girl. She’s vibrant and just makes people happy. Having her is a blessing.”
“Look, all this, it’s definitely tough because when I’m with her, I think about what I thought was my fairytale happy ending,” Moore reflects. “I thought Marc was my forever love — that I had met this handsome, smart, funny, successful man who was single and who fell for me as fast as I fell for him and who would be there by my side forever. I thought this was the one and that with Brooklyn, I finally got the family that I wanted. I just don’t know what to say about all that now.”
The Real Housewives of Atlanta premieres Sunday (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.