The rainbow over Hollywood shone a little brighter on Monday, as perennial fave Niecy Nash made a major announcement: She’s newly married! Adding her name to the list of celebs who’ve been making major life changes during these months of quarantine (we’re looking at you, Elaine Welteroth and Jodie Turner-Smith), Nash staged a seemingly gorgeous surprise wedding with an added surprise to many of her fans: She took her third and hopefully final trip down the aisle to marry musician Jessica Betts.
Using her given first and middle name, Nash posted a celebratory picture of her flower-festooned outdoor nuptials, planned by William P. Miller (we’re still awaiting details on her incredible dress). Photographed by Robert Ector, she captioned the post:
“Mrs. Carol Denise Betts 💍 @jessicabettsmusic #LoveWins🌈 📸”
Betts confirmed the good news, writing, “I got a whole Wife 👽💍,” adding the adorable hashtag “#Bettsofbothworlds #LoveWins.”
Love wins, indeed. We have no idea how long the duo have been together, but as People noted, the two were also pictured in an Instagram story on Nash’s page, which features Betts’ poignant love song “Catch Me,” ending with a picture of the couple embracing tagged “#Plot Twist” with a rainbow emoji. And it really is; Nash filed for divorce from ex-husband Jay Tucker in December 2019, after the two reportedly separated the previous June, days after their eighth wedding anniversary. She publicly referenced their years together as a “gorgeous ride,” stating that she felt “fortunate for the love we share—present tense.” Nash again spoke on the split during an emotional acceptance of the 2020 Vanguard Award at this year’s Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards Luncheon, as reported by People this February:
“The untethering from my family’s beliefs, the internet’s expectations and my marriage ending caused me so much pain,” she said, as she recalled asking her family, “‘But what about my happiness?’”
Additionally, she shouted out “a sisterhood that...absolutely blessed me where I was.” Her “village” included Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington and Iyanla Vanzant—and Oprah Winfrey also reportedly played a role, asking Nash at one point: “Who are you without a man?”
“I said, ‘Girl, I don’t know,’” Nash recounted, adding. “There was a huge myth that I inherited from the women in my family specifically, which is ‘You are nothing without a man. Get one, keep one, no matter what. Blind, crippled, crazy, married or lazy. Get one baby girl because they will validate you,’ ... This long line of women that I come from had never been taught what choosing themselves looks like.”
We’d wager that Oprah meant “without a partner,” and was simply referencing Nash’s relationships to date; but regardless, the actress said she did the emotional work necessary to break a dysfunctional cycle, going to therapy and practicing self-forgiveness and accountability.
“The only way to get back was to do the work. I did my work. I put my life back together piece by piece,” she told the Essence audience, noting that she was breaking that “generational curse” for her daughters.
“I can’t help you do your work but what I can do is invite you to think differently,” she added. “I can encourage you to walk in your truth, to heal your trauma and live your best damn life...You will always be the thing, whether you have a man or not. Whether you have one chasing you, it does not matter. You’re the thing and you get up every single day and you choose yourself and you teach your children how to do the same.”
Nash turned 50 later that month, celebrating the milestone with a rollerskating party and seminude photo shoot. “I have never been better in my entire life and I don’t belong to nobody but myself,” she told People. “There is something about knowing exactly who you are and curating a life that brings you joy every day.”
“I felt I was becoming for a while,” she added, “and now the things that I was becoming, have manifest. I’m out of the cocoon. I’ve got my wings.”
In Betts, Nash has also got her new life partner, plot twist, or no. Since we know sexuality is fluid, ever-evolving and exists on a spectrum, “out of the cocoon” feels a better way to reference Nash’s same-sex marriage than “out of the closet.” Most importantly, this qualifies as the Hollywood ending the Claws star deserves. Like her, we believe in love—and love wins.