No one on the internet saw Niecy Nash’s wedding to the singer Jessica Betts coming on August 31. Without so much as a nod to the fact that they were apparently engaged, the actor tweeted a photo of herself walking down the aisle, waving a bouquet as Betts gleefully showed off her ring. Nash’s followers were overjoyed, but also a bit shocked: She had never hinted to the relationship on social media, nor publicly dated a woman. She also had only just officially gotten divorced.
Nash waited a week and a half to share the backstory, which begins when she met Betts on social media in 2015. At the time, Nash told People, she was “happily married” to her now ex-husband, Jay Tucker. “I loved her before I was in love with her because she is such a special human being,” Nash recalled, but “never saw [Betts] as someone [she] would date.”
But when Nash and Tucker filed for divorce last October, something shifted between them. “We began to see each other in a way we never had before,” Nash said. “Sometimes you get so broken by love, you run from it. But I’ve learned that you should always hold space for magic because it can happen at any time.”
To Nash, her announcement wasn’t about exiting the proverbial closet. “I don’t feel like my marriage is my coming out of anywhere, but rather a going into myself and being honest about who I love,” she said. “[My marriage] has absolutely nothing to do with gender and it has everything to do with her soul … the most beautiful soul I have ever met in my life.”
Besides, Nash said, she’s never suppressed her sexuality in her life. “I love who I love,” she continued. “At one point in my life, I married twice and I love those people. And today I love this person. I’ve done everything I wanted to do on my own terms and my own way. So my choice now in a partner has nothing to do with who I’ve always been. It’s a matter of who I am in this moment.”
From the sound of it, Nash couldn’t be happier with life as “Mrs. Carol Denise Betts.” (To some, Nash’s nod to her real first name was another part of the announcement’s surprise.) The couple has since returned from a “mini-honeymoon” to Santa Barbara, and at the moment, Nash “couldn’t be happier. I’ve got my feet up, I’m looking at the ocean and I’ve got the greatest love of my life in my peripheral.”
She’s also been enthusiastically posting photos of the wedding, which actually took place August 29. (Ava DuVernay and Yvonne Orji were among the 25 or so who managed to keep the secret—and make sure they first tested negative for COVID-19. “#ResponsibleInAPandemic,” Nash captioned one of her many posts, which she and Betts have cataloged under “#BettsOfBothWorlds.”