Wendy Williams and Kevin Hunter's Ups & Downs: From Launching Her Show to His Cheating Scandals

Despite denying marital trouble, Wendy Williams and husband Kevin Hunter are splitting

In their two decades of marriage, Wendy Williams and Kevin Hunter stood by each other through the good times and the bad.

After years of denying marital trouble, on Thursday, the daytime talk show host filed for divorce, a source tells PEOPLE.

Williams, 54, and Hunter, 46, wed on Nov. 30, 1997, and share son Kevin Jr., 19.

The breakup news comes after a difficult time for the TV personality, who recently revealed that she was living in a sober house. (She has long been open about her past addiction to cocaine.)

She also took an extended hiatus from The Wendy Williams Show from January until March, saying she needed to recover from a fractured shoulder as well as take care of herself due to her battle with Grave’s disease, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid.

Here are all the highs and lows the couple have faced together.

Kevin Hunter and Wendy Williams. John Lamparski/WireImage

Launching The Wendy Williams Show

Williams and Hunter (who was reportedly born in Ontario, Canada) met at a skating rink in 1994 and married three years later.

Despite having no previous television experience, Hunter, who owned a beauty parlor before meeting Williams, became her manager and production partner, helping her launch The Wendy Williams Show in 2008.

Ever since, Hunter worked as Williams’ manager. Additionally, both Williams and Hunter are executive producers of the program and also share a production company, Wendy Williams Productions.

<a href="https://people.com/tag/wendy-williams/" data-inlink="true">Wendy Williams</a>' Hunter Foundation Celebration
Wendy Williams, Kevin Hunter and Kevin Jr. in 2017. Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

Cheating Scandals

Hunter has long been accused of being unfaithful to Williams. Shortly after she gave birth to their son, Kevin Jr., in 2000, Williams caught Hunter cheating when she overheard a late night phone call with his mistress.

“I had already had the baby,” she told VLAD TV in 2013. “When you deliver a baby the mother doesn’t get much sleep anyways. Little Kev might have been one month old…and I wasn’t back to work yet.”

She continued: “I overheard some greasy talk from the next room. Well who is he talking to? I tipped and I crept and I heard what I heard. I was like ‘Wow okay, so this is how it’s going down.’ “

Williams said she eventually decided to forgive Hunter and that the experience made their relationship “stronger.”

“I love him and he loves me and we decided to address this head on,” she said. “I don’t regret [deciding to stay with him.]”

In 2008, Nicole Spence, a former employee of Williams’ radio show, The Wendy Williams Experience, made allegations of abusive behavior by Hunter in a June 2008 lawsuit against him and Williams. The complaint claimed Hunter sexually harassed Spence and created a “hostile work environment,” and alleged that Spence witnessed Hunter physically assault his wife.

<a href="https://people.com/tag/wendy-williams/" data-inlink="true">Wendy Williams</a> Debuts "Ask Wendy" By Harper Collins At The Pink Elephant
Jennifer Graylock/WireImage

“In one instance,” alleged the complaint, “Mr. Hunter stormed into the studio, demanded that other employees leave and openly physically abused Ms. Williams, pinning her against the wall with his hand around her neck, choking her while repeatedly pounding his fist into the wall directly by her head.” The case apparently was settled on Oct. 22, 2008.

And while it has long been rumored that Hunter has had a decade-long affair with a massage therapist, Williams brushed off rumors in September 2017.

“You can believe what you want,” she said on her show while holding up her wedding ring. “I stand by my guy.”

ALIZE Live Presents The <a href="https://people.com/tag/wendy-williams/" data-inlink="true">Wendy Williams</a> Experience with Performances by Kindred, TK Kirkland and Keyshia Cole
Kevin Hunter and Wendy Williams. Johnny Nunez/WireImage

She also has previously hit back at reports that the massage therapist was pregnant with Kevin’s baby. In January, her lawyer sent blogger Love B Scott a cease-and-desist letter.

“Mrs Wendy Williams-Hunter and Mr Kevin Hunter categorically deny each and every allegation made by your ‘sources,’ ” stated the letter.

Through Sickness, and in Health

In 2017, Williams told PEOPLE that Hunter had been a pillar of strength as she grappled with her Graves disease diagnosis.

“My husband was extremely concerned,” she said. “He’s not just my husband, he’s my business partner, one of the executive producers on the show and he’s also my manager. He and I are glued at the hip.”

“He was with me every step,” she added. “For him, seeing me go through all of this, it’s really been trying on him. I’ve been concerned about him. I’m like, ‘Don’t worry about me!’”

<a href="https://people.com/tag/wendy-williams/" data-inlink="true">Wendy Williams</a> Birthday Party at Tens
Wendy Williams and Kevin Hunter. Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Best Friends and Lovers

Williams once again defended her marriage last month, as she addressed her extended break from her talk show and revealed she’d been living in a sober house.

“I want to shout-out to my husband. I’m still wearing my ring,” she said during a March 4 episode of her show.
“Believe me you, when you’ve been with somebody for 28 years, married for 25 years … we know each other. He’s my best friend, he’s my lover. … I know what you’ve been seeing … but honey, let me show you who I fell in love with and who he fell in love with.”

A decades-old photo of the couple popped onto the screen, and the crowd went wild.

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Wendy Williams Show

“I’m still very much in love with my husband and anyone who’s been married … you know.”

“Marriages have ebbs and flows, marriage isn’t easy. And don’t ask me about mine until you see this gone,” she added, gesturing to her wedding ring. “And it ain’t going anywhere, not in this lifetime.”

Less than one month later, Williams would host her show without wearing her wedding ring — and file for divorce.

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