There is no denying that one of the most talented comedians in recent memory is the one and only – Eddie Murphy. The actor is best known for his appearances in hit movies such as Coming To America, The Nutty Professor, and Shrek, to name a few. From day one, Eddie Murphy’s life has been riddled with moments of craziness. His family saw many twists and turns in his formative years and, in order to cope with the drama, he used the one tool that has kept him going his entire life: comedy. Join as we explore the non-stop crazy life of one of the greatest personalities of the last 30 years – Eddie Murphy.
Eddie Murphy’s life has seen more twists and turns than possibly any movie he’s ever starred in. We know and love his humor, but we don’t necessarily know the man behind the character.
With all that has happened throughout his long career, it’s hard to keep up with everything going on in his life. But recently, his eventful life has taken another unexpected turn…
In order to understand the crazy nature of Eddie Murphy’s story, we need start at the very beginning. From day one, there was never a dull moment in little Eddie’s life. “My mother and father broke up when I was three, and he died when I was eight, so I have very dim memories,” he said.
But the circumstances surrounding his father’s death are absolutely horrific. How does Murphy cope with it? The answer is simple: through comedy.
The Murphy Charm
In an interview, Murphy described how his father was killed by a woman who he was dating at the time. “He was a victim of the Murphy charm,” he said, in mid-laughter. “A woman [killed] my father.
I never got all the logistics. It was supposed to be one of those crimes of passion: ‘If I can’t have you, no one else will’-kind of deal. Someone said to me one day, ‘That’s why you don’t trust women.'”
Birth Of A Comedian
It was during his formative years that Murphy started to develop his sense of humor. His mother’s illness and time spent in foster care with his brother triggered this natural inclination to make jokes in the most dire of situations.
Once she got better, Eddie’s mother took him back and raised him with his stepfather Vernon Lynch. Then, at 15 years of age, Eddie started to draw inspiration from comedians such as Richard Pryor while writing his early routines.
Coming Up In The Game
As a young, handsome man, Murphy quickly developed a reputation as one of the funniest guys of the standup scene in New York. Hit standup shows such as Delirious and Eddie Murphy Raw are considered by many comedic aficionados to be essential viewing for all aspiring comedians.
His unforgiving, racy humor put a fresh, bizarre spin on black culture that people had never really seen before. This was just the start of something truly special…
From New York To Hollywood
Murphy’s rise was to stardom was absolutely rapid. He quickly became a household name after he single-handedly brought Saturday Night Live back from the dead. During his time on the show, the actor created many memorable characters such as a grown-up version of the Little Rascals character, Buckwheat.
However, Murphy infamously had the character “killed” after getting tired of fans ordering him to “Do Buckwheat!” Rolling Stone ranked Murphy as the second greatest SNL performer ever, behind John Belushi.
The Eddie Murphy Show
This directly coincided with his debut movie role. In 1982, Murphy starred alongside Nick Nolte in the classic 48 Hrs. Then, when Nolte became ill after being scheduled to host the Christmas episode of SNL, Murphy stepped in to save the day.
He became the first person ever to host an episode of SNL while still being a regular cast member. He famously opened the show with the line, “Live from New York, It’s the Eddie Murphy Show!”
The Early Years
Throughout the ’80s, Murphy was one of the most in-demand in the world of cinema. The actor struck gold with classics such as Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, and Coming To America.
For many fans, it was Eddie Murphy in his absolute prime, demonstrating his raw talent at his most hilarious. The aforementioned movies were both commercially and critically successful. While his professional career was completely blowing up, his personal life also started to get increasingly interesting…
Eddie Didn’t Write It?
After Coming To America‘s success, filmmaker Art Buchwald accused Murphy of stealing ideas from his script to make his own version of the movie. The case went on for four years, until eventually, Paramount Pictures paid Buchwald $150,000 in what was called a summary judgment.
By this stage though, the settlement was just a small speed bump in the ever-growing fame and fortune of Eddie Murphy. It was around this time that Murphy was also getting into some personal entanglements…
Towards the end of the 80s, Murphy dated a variety of women, but refused to settle down. In spite of this, the actor wasn’t afraid to sow his seed and in 1989, Murphy had his first child with his girlfriend at the time, Paulette McNeely.
Soon enough, she gave birth to Murphy’s son, Eric. However, it wouldn’t take long before Eddie jumped ship and started dating Tamara Hood. With her, he had another son – Christian, who was born in 1990.
After a string of failed relationships and kids from different mothers, it looked like Murphy had finally found the one. Murphy met Nicole Mitchell in 1988 and started dating shortly after. For a while, they seemed inseparable.
After living together for two years, the couple tied the knot on March 18, 1993, at the Grand Ballroom of The Plaza Hotel. Eddie was on top the world. But the most incredible thing about their relationship was yet to come…
Amazingly, Eddie and Nicole had five children together: Bria, Myles, Shayne, Zola, and Bella. The couple had created a huge family and for a while, things were good.
However, after putting a huge focus on his family life, his film career became somewhat stagnant and the movies that he starred in just weren’t as successful as previous ones. It would take over half a decade for Murphy to find a healthy balance between his personal life and professional life…
In 1996, Murphy was able to get his career back on track with a stunning performance as Sherman Klump in the hit comedy, The Nutty Professor.
Critics lauded Murphy with his ability to portray a modern-day rendition of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: a professor who starts to rapidly fluctuate between his overweight self and a much skinnier version of himself. Murphy’s renaissance paved the way for other hit movies such as Dr. Dolittle, Mulan, and the Shrek franchise.
In the thick of his 90s resurgence, Murphy got into another entanglement with the law. On May 2, 1997, police stopped Murphy after they spotted him picking up a transgender escort.
However, Murphy did not end up getting arrested after he claimed that he was purely giving the lady a ride. In his words, he was just being a “good Samaritan.” In the end, the escort earned enough money from the sheer publicity and pursued a career in professional dancing.
Turn For The Worse
It was a small hiccup in an otherwise successful time for the actor. However, this couldn’t change the fact that Eddie and Nicole’s relationship gradually deteriorated.
After citing “irreconcilable differences,” Mitchell filed for divorce in August 2005, which was finalized a year later. So here he was, a divorced father of seven. Thankfully, Eddie had the funds to pay towards both his kids and alimony. A new chapter was just around the corner, but was it a good one?
Spice Up Your Life
It didn’t take long before Murphy moved on from his divorce and started dating again. Naturally, he got into a relationship with one of the Spice Girls, and he decided to try his luck with the craziest one of all – Scary Spice…Mel B…Melanie Brown.
The relationship was extremely brief and the two went their separate ways after just a couple of months of dating. However, something beyond their control was destined to keep them close…
Although they tried to keep their brief relationship under wraps, the world would only find out about the couple’s romantic involvement after Mel B announced that she was pregnant with Murphy’s child.
However, the actor did not respond well to the news, denied the possibility of him being the father and demanded a DNA test. At one point, he even accused Mel B of getting pregnant on purpose. But if Eddie was not the daddy, who could it possibly be?
Who’s The Daddy?
A few months had gone by, and it was still unclear whether or not Murphy was actually the father or not. After Dutch reporter, Matthijs Kleyn asked the actor what the truth actually was, Eddie simply answered by saying, “I don’t know whose child that is until it comes out and has a blood test.
You shouldn’t jump to conclusions, sir.” The actor was just as perplexed as everyone else, but the truth would soon be revealed…
It’s A Girl!
On April 3, 2007, Mel B gave birth to a baby girl. After a DNA test, it was revealed just a couple of months later that Murphy was in fact, the father. Coincidentally, Angel Iris Murphy Brown was born on the same day that Murphy turned 46 years old.
Initially, Mel B suggested in interviews that Murphy was not interested in developing a relationship with his daughter. However, he denied this and claimed to be keen to connect with Angel.
It was during this tumultuous time that Murphy would receive the most acclaim in his acting career when he starred in 2006’s film adaptation of the Broadway musical Dreamgirls.
His role as soul singer James “Thunder” Early earned him universal acclaim from critics and fans alike and many championed him as a serious contender for Oscar consideration. But would Murphy finally be given the nod by the Academy and be considered one of the true acting greats of his generation?
The Highest Honor
The seemingly impossible happened when Murphy received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards. Although he didn’t win the award, it was nevertheless an astonishing achievement for an actor who many didn’t believe had the acting chops to contend with the best in Hollywood.
However, Murphy did win the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor. It seemed like Murphy was finally getting the credit where it was due, but could he build on his success?
The Lowest Honor
Murphy’s world came crashing down just a year later when he managed to win three Golden Raspberry Awards for the same movie. The comedy Norbit saw Murphy return to performing in multiple roles.
Incredibly, he won Worst Actor for his role as the lead character Norbit, Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Mr. Wong and Best Actress for his transformation as the heinous villainess, Rasputia. Just like that, Murphy went from the pinnacle of the acting world, to the bottom…
Back To Square One
It was as if Murphy had completely undone all his good work on the set of Dreamgirls by returning to the silly, audacious comedic style that was already old by the end of the 90s.
Not only was it a career move that seemed to turn critics and studios away from the actor, but Murphy also seemed to become disillusioned with the career he had built for himself. However, there seemed to be more exterior factors at play…
On January 1, 2008, Murphy exchanged vows with film producer Tracey Edmonds in a private ceremony close to Bora Bora. Just two weeks after though, the couple released a statement: “After much consideration and discussion, we have jointly decided that we will forgo having a legal ceremony as it is not necessary to define our relationship further.”
Murphy and Edmonds referred to the ceremony as a “symbolic union”. This meant that, according to U.S. law, the couple were not technically married…
Covering Up The Cracks
This was just a cover-up for something much more serious. It turns out that just weeks after the ceremony, Murphy and Edmonds’ “symbolic union” would come to an abrupt end.
Apparently, a variety of signs showed how the relationship was doomed from the very start. According to guests at the “wedding,” they “could hear them yelling and her crying during the honeymoon evenings. It was pretty dramatic.” But something else seemed to get in the way…
Some guests commented on the bubbling tensions that mainly involved Murphy’s mother, Lillian Lynch.
“[Lillian] basically said, ‘It’s me or her,’ to Eddie,” one guest said. Another attendee claimed that “his mom never liked her or her mother, and she really went off on Tracey and Jackie…Just before the wedding, there was a huge argument, and words were said and Eddie took his mom’s side.” Although Eddie showed where his priorities were, things went sour fast.
The ordeal made Eddie appreciate the benefits of singlehood, so the actor took a break from the dating game, for a couple of years, at least. However, another decade had begun, and for Murphy, it sparked new opportunities.
The actor started dating once again, this time with young Australian model Paige Butcher. In light of their blossoming relationship, Butcher shut down all of her social media outlets and together, the couple had a daughter, Izzy, who was born on May 3, 2016.
Tragedy turned its ugly head for Eddie in 2017, when his brother, Charlie Murphy, died from leukemia. He was 57.
The Murphy family posted a statement: “Our hearts are heavy with the loss today of our son, brother, father, uncle and friend Charlie…[He] filled our family with love and laughter and there won’t be a day that goes by that his presence will not be missed.” Like his brother Eddie, Charlie was also a comedian and was renowned for his work on The Dave Chapelle Show.
As you can see, Eddie Murphy’s career has been an absolute rollercoaster ride. He seems to be doing great with his new family. However, his professional career is at an absolute low after recent flops such as A Thousand Words and Mr. Church.
Nevertheless, as seen in the past, the comedian/actor has the amazing ability to pull incredible performances out of nowhere. So don’t be too surprised if Murphy wins an Oscar in the next few years – he’s just that good.