When celebrities live their life in the public eye, it is natural for their fans to be curious about the star’s private life. It is also natural for the celebrity to want to keep some things private – just for themselves. This can be a delicate balancing act and one that funny lady Wanda Sykes is no stranger to.
The actor, comedian, and writer has created a meaningful family life that she uses in her routines but still manages to have a private, intimate life as well. Before we tackle what we know about Sykes’ personal life and marriage, let’s take a look at Sykes’ early life and career.
Wanda Sykes’ early life
Wanda Sykes was born on March 7, 1964, in Portsmouth, Virginia. She was raised in Anne Arundel County, Maryland near D.C. with her brother Harry by her mother Marion Louise, a banker, and her father Harry Ellsworth Sykes, an army colonel. She attended Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, and graduated with a degree in marketing.
Upon graduating college, she got a job with the National Security Agency, but this witty woman was not meant to be a government bureaucrat. She would enter a local radio station’s talent contest and get hooked on the comedy bug.
After years of working the comedy circuit, her big break would come after opening for Chris Rock. Rock was so impressed by Sykes that he offered her a job on The Chris Rock Show. Sykes and the writing team won an Emmy for their outstanding work in 1999. This would open doors for Sykes to create a remarkable career.
Wanda Sykes’ career highlights
Sykes has an extensive number of credits on her impressive resume. Sykes has appeared in many television series such as Curb Your Enthusiasm, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and Blackish. She also dabbled in voice acting, playing characters in Over the Hedge, Barnyard, and Brother Bear 2.
She has also appeared in films like Pootie Tang and Evan Almighty. She has had her own sit-com Wanda at Large and comedy stand-up specials such as HBO’s Wanda Sykes: Sick & Tired.
Wanda Sykes’ previous marriage
Sykes was previously married to Dave Hall, a music producer, for seven years from 1991-1998. Hall worked with big-name musical stars such as Mary J. Blige, Madonna, and Usher. Sykes did not publicly come out until 2008 at a protest rally against Proposition 8 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
One month before coming out, Sykes had married Alex Niedbalski but we are getting ahead of ourselves.
What we know about Alex (Niedbalski) Sykes
In an interview with The Guardian. Wanda revealed that she first noticed Alex on a ferry ride to Fire Island in New York. She was immediately drawn to her but they did not connect that day. Wanda complained to her friend about her love life and her friend told her to stop talking about her kitchen and start saying pick-up lines instead.
Wanda did not listen and continued to talk about her kitchen. This would lead another friend to introduce her to someone to help her remodel her countertops. In a moment made for a romantic comedy, this woman ended up being the same woman Wanda saw on the ferry: Alex Niedbalski. The beautiful French Alex Niedbalski sold granite countertops and just so happened to be single.
Wanda and Alex exchanged vows on October 25, 2008. They wore matching dresses and Alex took Wanda’s surname, Sykes. Incredibly, they kept the marriage private until Wanda publicly came out.
Wanda’s conservative Christian parents did not attend the ceremony, and it took them some time to accept their daughter’s homosexuality. There was a period of estrangement but Wanda now enjoys a relationship with her parents.
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes twins…
In 2009, Alex gave birth to fraternal twins, a boy and a girl. Because of Alex’s nationality, they are raising the twins to be bilingual, speaking both French and English. This is comedy gold because Wanda cannot speak French although she is trying as seen on her Instagram account.
She told Seth Myers that the three French-speaking members of her family sometimes plot against her. “I’m picking up little words, but I can tell when they’re about to pull something over on me because they speak fast and in a lower tone.” One time Wanda thought they were going to brunch but somehow ended up on a boat instead. “And they’re like ‘well, yeah,’ and next thing you know, I’m sitting in the middle of a lake on a canoe.”
Wanda and Alex seem to love being parents. Wanda told NPR’s Terry Gross last year that what she loved most about being a mother was caring for someone other than herself.
I guess it takes you out of yourself, you know, just to be able to just love something so much and just want to be there and take care of them and not worry about yourself. It’s just good to know that I have that capability. You know, it’s like, oh, I could do this. I thought I was so self-absorbed, but this is – wow. Look at me. Look at me parenting and being caring about something else, you know, other than myself. Yeah, it’s just beautiful. And they – yeah. I’ve just learned a lot about myself.
Fans can rest assured that even though Wanda and Alex do keep some things private their love for each other and their family is strong and a great source for Wanda’s ongoing comedy career.