Boris Kodjoe opened the door and stuck his head into Nicole Ari Parker's trailer while they were both on the set of Soul Food back in the day, and said, "You know we're going to get married and have kids right?" and then left.
Parker remembered how she grinned, and thought to herself: "Yeah, he's right." She confessed during an interview with Essence Live that it was Kodjoe who spoke their union into existence.
Kodjoe and Paker have been on the press circuit lately promoting their new talk show, The Boris & Nicole Show, which they're co-hosting as husband and wife. And since I'm obsessed with marriages—well, seemingly healthy marriages—I Googled a bunch of their interviews to get a better sense of their union and why it's working. And what immediately jumped out at me was Kodjoe's insistence about the kind of marriage he proactively works to have with his wife.
In the interview below with a New York City radio show, Kodjoe said that he's exactly where he wants to be: married to Parker. And that clarity helps both of them get through the hard times: the inevitable trials and tribulations that come with being married—especially dealing with groupies (Kodjoe has had to take several paternity tests to disprove the claims of crazy women who claim he fathered their child); the stress and instability that comes along with being professional actors in Hollywood—especially for black actors and actresses; and caring for their 10-year-old daughter, Sophie, who was born with spina bifida.
I also got a glimpse of their connection in 3-D.
Kodjoe and Parker received a humanitarian award this past weekend at an awards dinner hosted by Face2Face Africa. They spoke about how quickly their priorities shifted after Sophie was diagnosed with spina bifida the day after she was born. They went from being a hot and sexy Hollywood couple to meeting with top specialists and experts from all over the world who could weigh in on what the defect is and what kind of life their daughter would lead.
As Parker delivered her portion of their thank-you speech, Kodjoe stood right behind her, being her spine, her backbone, so to speak. You sensed their connection, their bond, and his unwavering support for his wife and his family. I sensed that Kodjoe understood that the secret to a healthy and long marriage is, well, your kids—but more than that: It's understanding that a huge part of being a good father is being an excellent husband to your children's mother.
I'm raising my proverbial glass to Boris Kodjoe, and to husbands everywhere who take pride in showing up for their wives each and every day. For refreshing their romantic memories as to why they first fell in love with their women. Cheers to you, Boris!
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Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.