Lil Wayne has had several high profile relationships during his career, dating fellow artists like Christina Milian and Nivea as well as models like Lauren London. That said, the rapper has only been married once, to reality TV actress Antonia ‘Toya’ Wright. Wayne and Toya first met when they were kids, and their relationship has lasted well into both of their careers.
“Wayne and I, we have a really good relationship,” she told Essence Magazine. “It took us a minute to get to this point but I’m happy that we are here. When my brothers passed, he jumped on a jet and came immediately. When things are going wrong with him, I’m always there because before anything… I’m his friend and I’ve been in his life since we were like 13 years old.”
Here’s what you need to know about Lil Wayne’s ex-wife Toya Wright:
1. She Gave Birth to Their Daughter Reginae When She Was 15
Toya first met Lil Wayne when she was at a corner store in New Orleans, Louisiana. They began dating soon after, and she became pregnant with their daughter at age 14. Wayne was signed to Cash Money Records at the time, and went on the road to support Toya, who gave birth to Reginae Carter on November 29, 1998. In an interview with VIBE, Toya says that they had plans to get married at an early age.
“Wayne and I were dating since middle school,” she revealed. “He actually proposed to me my second Mother’s Day. We were like 16, 17 when he first proposed to me, but we were 21 when we decided to get married. I was 20, he was 21.” The couple were on and off following Reginae’s birth, as Wayne became involved with R&B singer Nivea.
“[We dated] on and off,” Toya said. “When he started dating Nivea, I didn’t know anything about it. Then I found out and he admitted it to me that he was dating her and that’s when the marriage came apart. That’s why you can’t believe everything you hear. It’s crazy how it goes. We were planning a wedding, and he was with Nivea. Him and Nivea split up and six months later me and him were married. It was crazy.”
2. They Got Married on Valentine’s Day 2004 & Divorced 2 Years Later
Wayne and Toya were eventually wed on Valentine’s Day 2004. That was the same year Wayne’s album Tha Carter made him into a solo star, and Toya said the strain his career put on their marriage was severe. “Wayne is the type who likes to have his cake and eat it, too,” she said. “So we were together, but that didn’t stop him from doing what he had to do and I wasn’t happy with that. A person can only take so much.”
Toya filed for divorce on January 1, 2006, citing an inability to cope with her husband’s lifestyle. “I wanted to start my new year off right because I was going to Atlanta and I was hearing all of these things – he’s with this one, he’s with that one,” she said. “I’m thinking maybe he wasn’t ready to get married but that’s not what he was telling me. He was saying he’s a changed man and he’s giving the game up. I knew he wasn’t really meaning that, but I at least thought that he’d still put family first.”
Despite their differences, Wayne and Toya have remained supportive of one another’s careers. “I look at him like family,” she told Essence. “I’ll always have his back, I’ll always go to bat [for him] because I’m like a real loyal person that’s just who I am and the way I was raised. That’s my daughter’s father and that’s my friend. That’s just the relationship we have.”
3. She Starred on the BET Reality Series ‘Tiny & Toya’
Toya Wright rose to prominence when she starred on BET’s Tiny & Toya. The series, which saw her play opposite T.I.’s ex-wife Tameka ‘Tiny’ Cottle, ran for two seasons between 2009-2010 and elevated both women to celebrity status. The titular duo stayed close after the series ended, and even supported one another when Wayne and T.I. were sentenced to prison.
“She’s seen me go through it. She’s been there for me, and I’ll be there for her,” Tiny told XXL. “We’ll just be supportive; I’ll be there whenever she needs me. As far as the baby, Reginae, you know I keep her over here when we’re working.I know she’s going to miss her daddy but I’m going to try keep her busy, to keep her going and uplifted.” In 2011, Toya starred on a lone season of the reality series Toya: A Family Affair.
Beyond her television career, Toya has also published two books. The first, titled In My Own WORDS…MY Real Reality, is based on personal experiences she had, while the second, How to Lose a Husband, is made up of fictional stories.
4. Her Brothers Josh & Rudy Were Killed In a 2016 Shooting
In 2016, Toya’s brothers Ryan “Rudy” Johnson, 24, and Joshua “Fish” Johnson, 31, were found dead in a car in New Orleans. Both men had been shot. “I got a call from my sister-in-law and she was like, ‘Your brothers just got shot,’” Toya recalled to PEOPLE. “The music was loud and I’m [thinking], this can’t be real. It was the worst news ever.”
“Murders happen every day and this is another dark night in New Orleans,” she added. “You hear about stories like this all the time, but it doesn’t really hit you until you get that call. It hits so close to home.” Toya would later tell Essence that Lil Wayne dropped what he was doing to be there for her during her time of need. “When my brothers passed, he jumped on a jet and came immediately,” she revealed.
New Orleans police arrested Antoine Edwards on second degree murder charges on March 13, 2017. According to TMZ, the force was able to narrow the suspects down to Edwards after several tipsters mentioned that a man named “Toine” or “Tweezy” was responsible. Edwards reportedly told someone that he did the shootings. “All we want is justice for my brothers,” Toya told TMZ. “We thank everyone for their prayers and support.”
5. She Gave Birth to Her Second Child, Reign Ryan Rushing, In February
In 2011, Toya married music producer Mickey ‘Memphitz’ Wright. Memphitz is a former Senior Vice President for A&R at Jive Records, and is best known for discovering pop artist T-Pain. The couple divorced five years later, and according to Dreshare, Memphitz was angered that Toya kept his last name.
Toya began dating Robert ‘Red’ Rushing last year. Red is an Atlanta sports manager and owner of the 2 Commas clothing brand. They gave birth to their first child together, Reign Ryan Rushing, on February 8.
Toya commemorated the pregnancy by posing for a series of Instagram photos, and when it came time to give birth, she used Snapchat to keep her fans informed. In one screenshot, she wrote: “Mood because we will be expecting a little Reign really soon and I can’t wait.”
Recently, Toya posted a video of Reign crawling on the floor with the caption: “It’s time to child proof my house…. this little one is about to be crawling everywhere.”