‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ Alum Brad Garrett Called This the ‘Most Painful Day of My Life’

Brad Garrett earned three Emmys as Robert Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond. Co-starring alongside Ray Romano for nine seasons, the actor was rising in his career as his marriage was becoming more strained. Garrett’s toughest task was telling his two kids that their parents were separating.

Ray Romano, Brad Garrett and Doris Roberts of 'Everybody Loves Raymond'
Ray Romano, Brad Garrett and Doris Roberts of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ | Gale M. Adler/CBS via Getty Images

Brad Garrett rushed into marriage in 1999

In his 2015 book, When the Balls DropHow I Learned to Get Real and Embrace Life’s Second Half, Garrett shared his journey to sobriety after coming to terms with his alcoholism. About six months into his wellness path, he met waitress Jill Diven, where the two quickly embarked on a serious relationship.

“After a short two-month courtship and a lot of persuading on my part, Jill moved into my recently purchased home in the Hollywood Hills,” Garrett wrote. “We couldn’t have been more different… and I’m sure she felt that way as well. But Jill being from humble beginnings in Pueblo, Colorado, and me needing to feel loved and important immediately, we plowed through with our eyes closed, never stopping to figure each other out.”

Upon reflection, Garrett realized his major life shift coupled with Diven’s needs prompted them accelerate their relationship.

“Though it was odd for me to dive into something so quickly, I believe my sobriety amped up my fear of being alone,” the Everybody Loves Raymond alum remarked. “And after getting to know Jill a little bit, I realized she hated being alone as well. … Three months into our courtship, Jill found out she was pregnant, and we rushed into marriage in hopes of acquiring what I’d only dreamed of and never really had: a real family.”

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‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ star and his wife split

After tying the knot in 1999, Garrett and Diven had two children, Max and Hope. Soon, their relationship was on rocky ground.

“Unfortunately and predictably, our marriage started to crumble shortly into our fourth year, though we hung in there for seven,” Garrett wrote. “We found ourselves in something that felt like a long-distance 30-year marriage. I was not a faithful husband, and the apathy on both sides was overwhelming. The bottom line was we were decent people who just didn’t belong together.” 

The couple decided to split. Garrett recalled the torment he felt having to break the news to his children.

“I came to realize with insurmountable guilt and dread that I had repeated something from my own childhood that I had prayed never to encounter again: a divorce,” he said. “The day I sat down with my two young children to try and explain that Daddy was going to move out was the most painful day of my life. They were at those ages when it would never make sense to them, but they were old enough to experience the loss and pain.” 

Brad Garret and his ex-wife focused on parenting

Garrett was devastated at the breakup of his family while simultaneously, his professional life was soaring.

“Ironically, at the same time, my career was at its peak,” the former Everybody Loves Raymond star explained. “I had just won my third Emmy for Raymond and was appearing on Broadway alongside the great Nathan Land and Matthew Broderick in Odd Couple. But I was dying inside, because my lifelong unrealistic dream of being the perfect father was disintegrating before my eyes.”

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Though the idea of divorce was heartbreaking, Garrett and Diven knew that a tumultuous relationship would have created a volatile home environment for their children. They both focused on co-parenting their kids after their split.

“In hindsight, I think maybe I wanted to be a parent more than a husband,” Garrett wrote. “What was important was figuring out what was best for everyone in the long term. As in all failed marriages, the tension between me and their mom would have been more devastating in time than the much needed separation, which has ultimately allowed us to become friends but, more importantly, better parents.”