Is ‘Blackish’ Star Jenifer Lewis Married?

Few TV shows are more popular than Black-ish. The series, which premiered on television in 2014 and is still going strong to this day, features a talented ensemble cast, comprised of veteran actors and up-and-coming young stars alike.

One of the most respected actors in the entertainment business has a prime part in Black-ish, with her work in the series becoming one of her most popular roles. Jenifer Lewis has appeared in everything from Broadway productions to major motion pictures, but when it comes to her home life, Lewis likes to keep things a little more low-key.

How did Jenifer Lewis get into acting?

Jenifer Lewis attends 2019 Essence Black Women In Hollywood Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 21, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.
Jenifer Lewis | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

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Lewis was born in Missouri in 1957. Raised in a large family as the youngest of seven children, Lewis started performing when she was a very young child, singing in her church’s choir when she was five years old.

Lewis went on to attend Webster University in St. Louis, later receiving an honorary degree from Webster in 2015. After her stint in college, Lewis moved to New York City, intent on pursuing a career in the performing arts.

In the late ’70s, Lewis began appearing on Broadway, in plays such as Dreamgirls. She started receiving attention for her incredible singing voice and even worked as Bette Midler’s backup singer for a time.

In the ’90s and 2000s, Lewis transitioned to a career that focused more heavily on film and television, with a few of her high-profile movie roles including parts in Poetic Justice, What’s Love Got to Do With It, The Preacher’s Wife, The Cookout, and Baggage Claim. Lewis became well-known for her habit of often playing maternal characters. 

What role does Jenifer Lewis play in ‘Black-ish’?

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In 2014, Lewis was cast as Ruby Johnson in Black-ish. As the mother of Anthony Anderson’s character in the show, Lewis was only a sporadic performer in the first season, but she quickly became so popular with viewers that she was quickly promoted to series regular.

Lewis’s work in the show has been critically acclaimed, and in 2016, she received the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series nomination.

Lewis has become closely associated with her role in Black-ish, and the series has brought her a whole new set of fans, many of whom might not have been familiar with her earlier work in television and on Broadway. 

Is Jenifer Lewis married?

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Although Lewis has a high-powered Hollywood career, she keeps things chill on the homefront. She married retired Marine Arnold Byrd in 2012, becoming a stepmother to his daughter from a previous relationship.

In a 2010 interview, Lewis opened up about her relationship with her then-boyfriend Byrd, stating: “I am so in love and so happy. He’s tall, dark and handsome. He’s intelligent. He’s the father of three children. So he has lived. He has a life and he doesn’t have to borrow mine. I found myself a grown man-a grown man who was looking for an adult relationship. I am one of the most fortunate women in the world.”

In addition to her work in entertainment, Lewis works as a tireless advocate for mental illness, and has been open about her own struggles with bipolar disorder: “When I have the opportunity to use the media to encourage people to get to get treatment for mental illness, I do. Bipolar disorder is like high blood pressure or lupus or sickle cell or cancer or any other disease. It is a disorder.”