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‘I Am the Happiest I Have Ever Been In My Life’: Tisha Campbell Talks Life After Divorce from Duane Martin, Reconciling with Martin Lawrence Ahead of ‘Martin’ Reunion  

Actress Tisha Campbell has found the silver lining in life after divorce. 

For more than 20 years, Campbell and fellow actor Duane Martin were married. But in 2018, the actress, citing irreconcilable differences, announced she had filed for divorce. Two years later, the divorce was finalized, but not before Campbell accused Martin of being emotionally, mentally and physically abusive, as well as hiding $50,000 from her during their marriage. The former couple share two sons, Xen, 12, and Ezekiel, 20.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 20: Host Tisha Campbell speaks onstage at The “2021 Soul Train Awards” Presented By BET at World Famous Apollo on November 20, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)

Now, having risen from the ashes of her former life, Campbell says she is walking into the brightest days she has ever experienced. “I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. The happiest,” Campbell recently shared while appearing on “CBS Mornings.” “You know what, it was a little bit, a combination of the newfound freedom in my life and COVID isolation and I really had to sit with myself and my children.”

The “School Daze” actress shared that choosing to leave her marriage and embark upon a new phase of life was a difficult, but necessary decision. “I had maybe seven dollars to my name and I was scared — it was like I was starting all over,” she said in 2019.

But since becoming single and having her last name restored — while married the actress went by Campbell-Martin — the “My Wife and Kids” leading lady also has found a renewed sense of self without the doubt planted by others.

“I learned that I’m super intelligent, and resilient, and that I was a really good role model for my kids. I took being married very seriously, I took being a mother very seriously, and at this point it’s really about ‘who am I?’ and discovering who I am,” she said. 

“Everything that you go through it’s like a beautiful devastation; you’re gonna learn something, something really interesting about yourself. Sometimes things come in a really complicated, interesting, ugly gift. It’s wrapped in a very strange package.” 

One of Campbell’s equally public devastations was the end of “Martin.” The Fox sitcom starring Martin Lawrence aired from 1992 to 1997. At the show’s peak, Campbell and Lawrence endured a major falling out that prevented them from filming together, and lead to Campbell’s ‘96 departure from the show, as well as moved the actress to file a sexual assault lawsuit against the comedian.

The duo later settled the suit and for decades remained tight-lipped on the matter., though in a 2020 interview with Essence, Lawrence shared that the suit was “bulls—t” and did not need to be talked about. Given the tense ending of the show and Campbell and Lawrence’s working relationship, it seemed impossible that the two would ever reconcile. Yet, the impossible happened. 

However, despite the two actors counting their years apart as water under the bridge, fans won’t be getting the “Martin” reboot they have longed for. Instead, the cast, sans Tommy Ford, reunited for a 30-year reunion. 

“We worked really hard to reconnect,” said Campbell of how she and Lawrence managed to come together again. She continued by saying they also worked “to forgive, and its really this reunion is about a celebration of everything that we’ve accomplished, and our growth as human beings. We concentrated mostly on that.”  

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