When Phylicia Rashad married for the first time, her name was still Phylicia Ayers-Allen. That was in 1972 and her groom was dentist William Lancelot Bowles, Jr. In 1973 they had son William Lancelot Bowles III. But by 1975 the marriage was over and ended in divorce.
We know next to nothing about that relationship or why it fell apart. Phylicia doesn’t much talk about her private life. But she didn’t take her husband’s name, not that that is necessarily a bad sign.
Next she married Victor Willis, who was the original lead singer of the Village People. That was in 1978, but the marriage was just as short-lived as the first one. The divorce was finalized in 1982. The two did not have any children together. And again, she didn’t take her husband’s name.
Incidentally it was after her second divorce that Phylicia’s career took off. She became a regular on One Life to Live and ended up being cast as Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show from 1984 onwards.
In 1985 she married again. This time it was to ex-NFL players and sportscaster Ahmad Rashad, whom she had been dating for about a year and who had been introduced to her by Bill Cosby. His proposal was one of the most public ones in Hollywood history, because he asked her live on TV during the Thanksgiving Day football game, if she wanted to marry him. Obviously she said yes, roughly 40 million people were watching, after all. And this time she took her husband’s name.
At the wedding it was Bill Cosby who gave Phylicia away and O.J. Simpson, who was best man to Ahmad. A somewhat conspicuous combination, given what happened years later to Simpson and then Cosby. But at the time it was a gathering of some of the most powerful and well-known African-Americans.
The couple welcomed their one and only child, daughter Condola, in 1986. The pregnancy had to be concealed on The Cosby Show, something that Bill Cosby insisted on, because he felt that the Huxtables had enough children already.
But as public as the proposal had been, as quiet became the divorce. In 2001 Phylicia filed for divorce from Ahmad, apparently citing abandonment. It was said that by the time Phylicia filed for divorce, the couple had already been leading separate lives for some time. It’s been said that they had delayed the inevitable for the sake of their daughter, who was 14 at the time.
The divorce was finalized that same year, but we don’t know any of the settlement details.
Keeping the surname Rashad, Phylicia nonetheless moved on, but not to dating other men. Instead she threw herself into work. One can easily say that the 15 years since her divorce have been the most successful of her career. She won a Tony Award in 2004 and became the first African-American woman to do so. She also shined in a performance in Oscar-nominated movie Creed last year and has received accolades for the off-Broadway play she is currently starring in.
Phylicia has most certainly been busy since her divorce and seems happy enough. She doesn’t speak about her private life. She may or may not be dating, but she certainly didn’t get married again.
Lately she courted controversy with some unkind remarks about the women accusing Bill Cosby of rape and abuse. Curiously Phylicia is oddly focused on Bill Cosby’s legacy and its destruction rather than the accusations or the alleged actions purported by the man she holds in such high regard. She behaves a little like the wife, who didn’t see and perhaps didn’t want to see what her husband was capable of doing to others.
Ahmad Rashad moved on as well, he married for a fourth time and was divorced for a fourth time as well. If there will be a fifth wife for him is currently not quite clear.