Niecy Nash, whose real name is Carol Denise Ensley, announced on August 31 that she married singer Jessica Betts. Nash, 50, captioned the wedding photo on Instagram, “Mrs. Carol Denise Betts 💍 @jessicabettsmusic #LoveWins.”
The big announcement came as a shock to her 2.3 million fans on Instagram, as the Claws actress hadn’t gone public with a new relationship since her divorce from ex-husband Jay Tucker, nor has she publicly discussed being gay or bisexual.
Betts, who’s originally from Chicago, posted the exact same wedding picture on her Instagram page. She captioned the photo, “I got a whole Wife, @niecynash1 #Bettsofbothworlds #LoveWins.”
While neither Nash nor Betts went officially public with their romance prior to their marriage, it appears they’ve been dating for at least six months. On February 23, the singer hinted at a romantic connection between the two on Instagram. Betts posted a photo of the actress wearing nothing but her underwear with the caption, “Happy Birthday to a real one.”
On June 29, Betts tagged Nash in a selfie on Instagram. With a Louis Vuitton scarf around her face she wrote, “Challenge accepted @niecynash1 #WearADamnMask it’s real in these streets. Stay safe y’all.”
Nash previously tied the knot with ex-husband Tucker at the Church Estate Vineyard in Malibu in May 2011. The couple announced that they were going their separate ways in October 2019. Nash has three children with her first husband, Don Nash, an ordained minister whom she married in 1994. They divorced in 2007.
Nash Said Following Her Divorce, ‘It Is Much Easier to Walk in Your Truth Than It Is to Run Towards a Lie’
While Nash never publicly discussed that she was attracted to women, the actress hinted that she was tired of living a lie while accepting the Vanguard Award the 2020 Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards Luncheon in February, as reported by People.
Nash said of her divorce from Tucker, to whom she was married for eight years, “In this season of our lives, we are better friends than partners in marriage. Our union was such a gorgeous ride. And as we go our separate ways now, we feel fortunate for the love we share — present tense.”
Because so many perceived them to be the perfect couple, Nash admitted that deciding to divorce was incredibly difficult. She said her family asked, “’Well if the man ain’t beating you… What are you leaving for?’ The untethering from my family’s beliefs, the internet’s expectations, and my marriage ending caused me so much pain,” Nash said, explaining how she asked her family in return, “‘But what about my happiness?’”
“Trust that it is so much easier to walk in your truth than it is to run towards a lie,” the Reno 911! star continued. “Make a decision about what you now know. You gotta own the part you play, that’s important. You gotta forgive yourself and others.”
Nash Opened Up About Being a Black Christian & Playing a Gay Character on ‘The Mindy Project’
Nash has posted numerous photos on Instagram supporting the LGBTQ community, and while guest-starring on The Mindy Project in 2014, she portrayed a lesbian doctor that kissed Mindy Kaling in the memorable episode.
In a 2017 interview with Pride Source, Nash was asked about reconciling her Christian religion and homosexuality, and discussed how it’s “especially challenging in the black community.” She said:
My philosophy now is that you can be whatever you want to be. People feel you have to put blame on everything, but whether you label it or not, your truth is your truth. And I don’t wish to live a lie on anybody. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. And yes, it can be challenging, but the people who really love you and who are standing in support of you will be all right with it. This hits home for me and I pause to talk about it because it’s not fair for me to tell that part of that story. But the one thing I don’t wish on anybody is to live a lie. That’s gotta be the hardest thing to imagine.
Nash Has Been a Fan of Betts’ Music for Years
Nash has been a fan of Betts for years. In 2016, she posted a video of Betts singing and playing guitar on Twitter. She captioned the clip, “Addicted,” with a heart emoji.
Betts, who won Missy Elliott’s Road to Stardom reality competition series in 2005, thanked Nash for helping celebrate the singer’s birthday on the set of TNT’s Claws in June 2018.
It’s not yet known when the relationship between Betts and Nash first became romantic, or the details surrounding their nuptials. Hours before sharing the big news on Instagram, Betts shared her song “Catch Me.” During the taping of the season finale episode of Claws in August 2018, Betts shared a video of Nash in costume for her character’s wedding day, and the two of them were singing “Catch Me.”
According to Betts’ IMDb page, she also penned and performed the song “Get Up,” featured in the 2000 film Big Momma’s House.