Steve Madden’s unlikely romance with Wendy Ballew ended in divorce after 10 years together

Steve Madden knew his ex-wife for his entire adult life. After finally proposing to her in prison, their marriage lasted nearly 10 years before it was divorced amicably.

Divorce finalized in 2015

Not every romance follows a predictable pattern. It’s not always a case of meeting, dating and finally getting married and having children. Steve Madden had known Wendy Ballew since his youth. She was his first ‘real’ employee when he started his shoe empire over 25 years ago. She’d been with him since the beginning and she stuck by his side even through the worst of times.

Steve and wife Wendy at an Awards Ceremony

Steve and wife Wendy at an Awards Ceremony

If you’ve seen Wolf of Wall Street, you’ll know that Steve ended up with a 31-month spell in prison after being found guilty for stock manipulation and securities fraud. He was only one of the participants in the scheme spearheaded by Danny Porush.

Steve said that the experience of his prison time had been humbling and that he learned a lot from it. But aside from serving the time, he did not suffer too much hardship. Wendy, his director of operations, visited him regularly in prison and somehow the friends fell in love. Steve proposed to Wendy even before his release in 2005. After his release the two were married.

Over the next few years Steve rebounded with his business, but this time he stayed clear of illegal activities. Instead he became a father, first of twin boys Jack and Stevie and then daughter Goldie Ryan.

Alas, his marriage to Wendy didn’t last. In May 2015 it was announced that the couple had arrived at a peaceful dissolution of their marriage. It’s not clear when the couple separated. But by May they had managed to amicable formalize all details pertaining to their divorce and the custody of their children.

The details of their agreement were kept confidential, but we can assume a fairly equal division of all assets as well as shared custody. In the aftermath of the announcement we learned that Wendy kept the Trump Palace condo that the couple had owned. She even paid out $9.5 million to Steve, which was a bargain considering that Steve originally paid $15 million for the pad.

He in turn kept their brownstone townhouse in the Upper East Side for which he paid Wendy out $3.95 million. Both properties are only a few blocks apart from one another. Since the two are said to have separated amicably and are likely sharing custody, this proximity is not entirely unexpected.

In the meantime Steve is once again concentrating on the future. Last year was a year of losses for him. Not only did he get a divorce, but he also lost his brother, which hit him hard. It’s not known whether or not he is currently dating anyone. He is, no doubt, busy enough with his business and his children.


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