It was a busy weekend for Porsha Williams, former cast member of Real Housewives of Atlanta, who wed her husband, Simon Guobadia, in not one, but two lavish ceremonies.
On Friday, the pair had a traditional Nigerian ceremony, honouring Simon’s roots, with 250 guests in attendance. And one day later, there was an American ceremony at the St. Regis Atlanta. This ceremony had 350 guests and saw Porsha go through three outfit changes, each complete with a wig change, a performance by R&B group Dru Hill, and a cake so tall, she told PEOPLE she’d need a “sword” to cut it.
The anticipation for the wedding has been building since the couple got engaged in 2021 – which sparked criticism from fans and social media users who couldn’t help but wonder how Porsha could be marrying Simon, considering she used to be close friends with his ex-wife, Falynn Guobadia.
The whole situation is very messy – or at least looks to be. But Falynn’s hands don’t appear to be clean either. Last June, Simon took to social media to slam her for cheating on him and becoming pregnant, which he says is what really sparked their divorce, rather than his blossoming relationship with Porsha, which he insists began months after he and Falynn separated. He outed Jaylan Banks as the man in question and online sleuths quickly tracked down photos of the three of them together, learning that he had been a friend of the couple and even travelled with them to the Dominican Republic in 2020.
In the now-deleted post, Simon said: “Let’s start with why I filed for divorce. Let’s start with who she cheated with and is currently pregnant for and living in a home I paid for – post divorce.”
It didn’t help Falynn’s case when another man, celebrity assistant London Gillespie, came out and alleged he had been having an affair with Falynn in the weeks leading up to her marriage to Simon. He claimed they met in a hookah bar a year before she was set to marry Simon, but insisted he wasn’t breaking up a “happy home”. He insisted Simon knew about him and even hired an experienced private investigator to look into the nature of their relationship. Despite mounds of evidence of an affair, Simon still proceeded to marry Falynn in 2019.
I’m not sure what it is about the love lives of the rich and famous, but complicated storylines and timelines sure lend themselves to a lot of gossip. But today I find myself asking whether it’s the other way around. Is gossip what fuels the online firestorm we so often see?
Recently, I wrote about the optics of Chris Redd dating Kenan Thompson’s ex-wife, from whom he filed for divorce in My, despite rumours of initially wanting to do so in 2019. Despite the terrible optics, Kenan didn’t seem too flustered by it and insisted he was unbothered. But when Chris was attacked by a man donning brass knuckles in New York in late October, some people actually speculated about whether Kenan orchestrated the hit.
And even more recently, Blair Underwood announced his engagement to long-time pal Josie Hart, just 18 months after his divorce from Desiree DaCosta, whom he was married to for 27 years. In each of these situations, social media users expressed one of two sentiments. They either alluded to these blossoming relationships being proof that you can’t trust just anyone around your partner. Or, people simply shared in the joy of others finally finding their person.
We’ve heard so much about “girl code” and “bro code” and all of the other systems people allude to put in situations like these, but relationships also have to be strong enough on their own to withstand certain circumstances and temptation, which is heightened when you’re a celebrity and have boat loads of money. Just like London said, there were already issues in Simon and Falynn’s relationship – he wasn’t breaking up a “happy home”. None of this is to say that people who have affairs only do so when their relationships are in trouble, or that it doesn’t stem from an inherent place of emotional confusion.
I don’t think the fact that everyone is moving on so quickly helps either. Earlier this year, I joined an online masterclass called Loving Me After We. In it, women work with relationship expert and psychotherapist Ginger Dean to reflect on our dating experiences and the trauma that’s stemmed from it. We’re given a workbook that forces us to look at our past and answer questions we likely haven’t faced before. Each month, we’re assigned a book to read, and on the last Sunday of the month, we join a Zoom call to reflect on the learnings of the last few weeks. The course focuses on things like boundaries, codependency, and how to recognize narcissistic and sociopathic behaviour.
I joined this course thinking it would give me a soft place to land after many failed relationships. But really, it served more as a mirror than anything. Yes, I was dating some weird men. But I was also hopping from relationship to relationship without ever taking a break to reassess, heal and make a plan on how to move forward. I had narcissistic tendencies, too.
Porsha said something to PEOPLE I thought was very sweet. She said, “It's a blessing to be able to find your person. It doesn't happen often." And she’s right. With that framing in mind, perhaps Blair Underwood getting engaged to a woman he’s known most of his life isn’t the scandal we think it is. In the months after his divorce, perhaps she offered a sense of support to him that he was truly grateful for – and it opened his eyes to the possibility of love and life with her after his ex-wife left him.
Perhaps Kenan had nothing to do with the brass knuckle punch. Maybe he really is unbothered by Chris and his ex-wife dating. Who knows? Gossip is a buffet, and to an extent, we see what we want to see in these stories. But what I do know is that we are human. We are complex. And doing the work takes time. Reflecting on our emotions and experiences takes introspection. And seeing celebrities prove that they’ve got issues, just like the rest of us, is what makes gossip so therapeutic sometimes. Because though we’re looking at them, we’re also looking at ourselves – and sometimes, we learn a thing or two.