Gabourey Sidibe appeared on Live! With Kelly and Ryan to discuss her new holiday movie, All I Didn’t Want for Christmas. But she discussed a lot more than just the movie, revealing that not only did she get engaged during the pandemic, but she got married, too.


Gabourey began by sharing the details about how Brandon Frankel proposed back in 2020, which, by the sounds of it, was super adorable.

“It was kind of a weird day…we were going to get our nails done and right before we left the house, in one of the guest rooms, the light was on and I went in to turn it off. And there was the big like, ‘Will you marry me?’ balloons, rose petals…” she explained. “This was three hours earlier than it was supposed to be. We were supposed to leave and then come back…he’s not that great at planning things.”

She went on to tease her husband, saying she’d seen a photo of the engagement ring over a month before she stumbled upon his elaborate proposal. But when Ryan Seacrest started asking her about wedding planning, she looked torn.

“The thing about weddings is, I don’t like them,” she said. “Here’s an example of how much I don’t like weddings. I’m actually married. We got married over a year ago.” 


Her husband, in the audience and on the spot, raised his ring finger when Kelly asked first if it was true, and second whether it is breaking news.

“We got married at the kitchen table,” Gabourey explained. “It was just the two of us.”

I’ve been critical about marriage as an institution. Much of that has to do with my own sour relationship experiences, but much of my critiques are backed up by data, research and more importantly, the guaranteed flood of messages I get from women who say they feel validated and identify with a lot of my criticisms. That being said, hearing Gabourey’s story really restores my faith in the idea that people can get married on their own terms and in their own way. 

Back when I worked in TV, I produced a segment with two women who had co-authored The New Wedding Book. It detailed the ways in which weddings as we knew them would be forever changed because of the pandemic. It touched on the surge in microweddings, less formal occasions, smaller guestlists, and more affordable affairs. Basically, the pandemic served as a universal excuse to throw weddings our way and on budget.


A lot of that sounded appealing to me, largely because I could never wrap my mind around who could afford to pay for the lavish weddings I’d watched on TLC’s Four Weddings all those years anyway. But if there’s anyone that can afford to have them, it’s celebrities. Celebrities like Gabourey Sidibe.

Even beyond her, though, there have been so many celebrities opting for these secret, low-key weddings. Last May, Ariana Grande married Dalton Gomez at her home in California. The photos were stunning. Over the summer, J Lo and Ben’s elaborate wedding celebration was really only a follow-up to to an unfussy Vegas ceremony, which is also how Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian got married. 

Of course, a smaller more private ceremony would be ideal for people who spend their days on the run from the paparazzi, but at this point, is it less about doing something out of obligation and more about it becoming a preference? 


Earlier this year in May, Gabourey graced the cover of the style issue of BridesAt the time, she told the magazine that when she married Brandon, it likely wouldn’t be in a white wedding dress – and suggested it might be an African print instead. How sneaky of her to have done the entire shoot, foreshadowing a wedding, knowing damn well she was already a married woman!

During her TV appearance yesterday, she hinted that there would be some type of wedding to appease her mother-in-law, but that growing up as the child of a mother who was a wedding singer left quite a bad taste in her mouth, and that weddings were just “too much”.

“I’ve been at a lot of weddings, uninvited. I’ve been the weird kid eating cake at a stranger’s wedding and now I don’t like them.”

To me, that is the power of being a celebrity. Getting to decide what you like and don’t like, make your own decisions and do life on your own terms – never out of obligation. Making decisions from a place of self-agency, and sticking a big (in this case, Black) middle finger up to society’s expectations. 

It’s especially incredible to see Gabourey execute this level of agency because people haven’t been the kindest to her. There’s something about Black women like her and Lizzo and so many others who don’t “fit the mould” enjoying their life and basking in their happiness that can really bother people – which makes it all the better when they do