After getting married three times and divorced twice, Vanessa Williams has learned a thing or two when it comes to dating. The former Miss America recently opened up about her failed relationships and she was kind enough to offer some incredible advice for those struggling in a similar situation.
“Now that I’m on my third marriage, I’ve realized its key to not expect one person to be able to fulfill every need in your life,” the 56-year-old beauty — who is currently married to accountant Jim Skrip — told Glamour. “I’ve got my friend who I go to the theater with, the friend I want to play tennis with. It puts a tremendous pressure on your mate to have to fulfill every desire you’ve ever had.”
Vanessa, who was previously married to film producer Ramon Hervey II from 1987 to 1997 and Canadian basketball player Rick Fox from 1999 to 2005, explained that she struggled with making her marriages a priority while starting out in showbiz more than 40 years ago.
“I was always working my professional life and my life as a wife and mother simultaneously,” the Ugly Betty actress recalled. “That means you have to be independent and make decisions. The kids’ schedules came first and my career came second, even though I was the main moneymaker. Unfortunately, that meant the marriage came third.”
The “Colors of the Wind” songstress — who is the mom of Melanie Hervey, 32, Jillian Hervey, 30, and Devin Hervey, 26, with Ramon, as well as 19-year-old Sasha Fox with Rick — further explained how difficult it was to succeed in her failed marriages. “There were a lot of demands on my time, so you do the best you can. There’s no such thing as balance,” she said. “When you’re working hard, you’re feeling guilty. You hope your partner understands the kids have to come first a lot of times.”
Although divorce is never fun, the Desperate Housewives actress had a ton of takeaways from her experiences. “You have to hear people, and I’m not talking about the ‘This is what I did today’ kind of listening. When you consciously or subconsciously shut someone down, constantly correct or always try to be right, those are relationship killers,” she explained. “The other person feels like they’re not being heard. That leads to resentment and then feeling cut off from each other. Once emotional distance is established, it can be hard to bridge. It takes more than apologies to rebuild that connection, to get back to what brought you together in the first place.”
Vanessa also had another piece of advice for fans who can relate. “Before you get married, be really clear about who it is you’re marrying,” the Bronx native insisted. “Make sure you listen loud and clear because chances are, what bugs you a little bit now is going to be completely amplified after a few years, after 10 years.”