Reps for Eddie and Tracey released the following statement: “After much consideration and discussion, we have jointly decided that we will forego having a legal ceremony as it is not necessary to define our relationship further.” The ceremony in Bora Bora was not legal because Bora Bora has a rule that couples have to reside there for 30 days before they can legally marry. The couple planned to legalize the ceremony back home in the US later with the same minister and with a notary public present.
The shocking announcement has fueled all kinds of speculation. Some claim that Eddie and Tracey’s relationship was loveless—simply a marriage of convenience to further her career in Hollywood, etc.
From close associates of both parties, Sister 2 Sister has learned the truth:
Eddie was so happy that he cried at the wedding and Tracey kissed the hell out of him when the minister gave the okay. But for some reason, Eddie’s mom Miss Lillian and other members of his family were apprehensive about the marriage because they thought the whole relationship was moving too fast.
During and after the ceremony, the serious friction began. Eddie’s mother, Miss Lillian, is extremely close to her superstar son. Miss Lillian has stood by Eddie through his rise to fame and enormous fortune, as well as through the scandals: his ups and downs, his divorce from first wife Nicole, and more recently his babymama drama with Spice Girl Melanie “Scary Spice” Brown. Eddie’s mother has been there to help him with his five children of whom Eddie has primary custody. She’d seen him through a lot of personal difficulties and I’m told that this led to her apprehension of his getting into another relationship.
There are rumors that say Tracey is an opportunist who only sought to use Eddie’s superstar status to further her career as a producer, but sources close to both sides told me they never believed that was true. In fact, we’ve learned that a prenuptial agreement was signed weeks prior to the New Year’s Day wedding. Furthermore, they point out that Tracey has been quite successful for many years in Hollywood with films like “Soul Food” and “Good Luck Chuck” and several hit reality shows like BET’s “College Hill” and “Lil’ Kim: Countdown to Lockdown.” She has been one of The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Most Successful Women in Entertainment for the last few years. Tracey lives in an $8.5 million house filled with antiques and finery that she bought. She travels all over the world and has a wealthy lifestyle. So the truth of the matter is, she didn’t need Eddie’s money, and Eddie knew that Tracey was a self-made millionaire.
Some have reported that Tracey, in her “independent woman” fashion, refused to take Eddie Murphy’s last name upon marriage. According to multiple sources, that’s not true; she would have gladly taken the Murphy name. According to Tracey and her mom, in conversations back when Sister 2 Sister interviewed Tracey for our May 2007 cover story, Tracey genuinely loved Eddie and looked to grow old and gray with him.
There has also been some speculation that Tracey caught Eddie misbehaving with someone else. But I’m told by sources close to both sides that this simply did not happen.
Instead, the real trouble started when one of Tracey’s guests made a comment after the ceremony that ticked off Eddie’s side of the family. As the wedding planner and other staff departed, after having catered to the guests as if they were royalty, this guest said something like, “I guess now they’ve got to wipe their own a##es.”
Some say it was an innocent remark, but Eddie’s family took it seriously and that led to more misunderstandings, yelling and shouting. Harsh words were spoken. It was just a mess. Words are powerful; whether what was said was meant or not, it could not be taken back.
The guest later apologized, telling Eddie’s mom, who had overheard it, that he didn’t mean anything by it. Eddie felt that he’d paid $2.5 million to have guests come and share a sacred moment with him and Tracey. Simply said, it’s a lot of money to spend on what wound up being just a rehearsal.
A big wedding ceremony wasn’t for Eddie. Sources say that he initially wanted to go to Vegas and be done with it, though he later agreed to a large ceremony, telling Tracey to make the arrangements because that’s not really his thing. He was down for what she’d chosen, though. He wanted to make Tracey happy. He felt that her guest’s remark was disrespectful both to him and to Tracey. Eddie just wanted everyone to have a good time.
Then, Tracey, Eddie and Eddie’s mom had words. (Tracey’s mom and Miss Lillian didn’t argue with one another, as has been reported.) Some folks felt that Miss Lillian didn’t feel good about them getting married and that’s why things escalated.
Did Eddie and Tracey always have big fights and arguments? I’m told that they did, but they were nevertheless happy and they never took a timeout during the 14 months that they courted. They saw each other almost every day after putting their respective kids to bed. Does Tracey speak her mind? Yes, she does. I’ve seen it through the many years that I’ve known her. She’s a grown, 40-year-old woman. But Eddie, 46, speaks his, too.
Wedding drama is not restricted to this celebrity couple. Usher and his wife Tameka Foster suffered through some unpleasant quips and quotes at the hands of their respective family members while planning their wedding. Also, when Whitney Houston wed Bobby Brown back in 1992, Bobby’s mother Carol was offended because many of the celebrity guests were cheerfully introduced to Whitney’s family. Meanwhile, Bobby’s mother and other Brown family members were all but ignored during the reception. Sister 2 Sister got in touch with Chicago-based counselor Terrance Pratt who said, “Weddings are a notoriously stressful time for couples, and enmeshed family members might add to this stress due to their fear of letting go and/or seeing their loved one hurt. Couples must remember to be especially considerate of one another during this time and discuss family-related pressures as a team, lest they spiral out of control. Disagreements and relationship doubts should be handled internally, because once the family becomes involved, the bond of trust, respect and confidence in your partner can be easily severed.
“Whether we are discussing celebrities or laypersons, the general rules of love, respect and consideration still apply. Even in the face of disagreement, communicating about the stressful situation can work wonders. Under no circumstances should one partner create a split between the partner and the partner’s family to force a choice between marriage and family. Doing so almost certainly puts the relationship in significant risk of harm.”
To make a long story short, we think of marriage just as a union between a man and a woman, but it’s really between two families. Eddie’s family is a tight-knit unit with his mother at the head, and these families were just not ready to marry each other. This was a multimillion-dollar wedding celebration that ended disastrously, with name calling to boot. The question now becomes, after time for feelings to settle down, will Eddie and Tracey’s desire to be married prevail in spite of this sudden and truly shocking setback?
– Jamie Foster Brown
Photo courtesy of Herald Sun