The ABC comedy is loosely inspired by Barris' life and relationship with his wife.

By Rachel Yang
August 12, 2019 at 11:15 PM EDT
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Kenya Barris, who created the ABC comedy black-ishhas filed for divorce from his wife of 20 years, Dr. Rania “Rainbow” Barris, the Associated Press reported.

Los Angeles Superior Court documents show that Kenya Barris filed the papers on Friday, the day of his 45th birthday, according to the outlet.

Barris and his wife, an anesthesiologist, married in 1999 and have six kids. He also co-created the black-ish spinoff, grown-ish; and the prequel spinoff, mixed-ishwhich follows the upbringing of Rainbow Johnson (Arica Himmel).

Dr. Barris previously filed or divorce in 2014, but the two reconciled and withdrew the request the following year.

Black-ish is loosely based on Kenya Barris’ own upbringing, and the onscreen relationship between Andre “Dre” Johnson (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow “Bow” Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross) is also partly inspired by his marriage. In an interview with EW, Dr. Barris said that direct storylines from the show have come from her life, such as the season 4 episode where Bow experiences postpartum depression after the birth of her fifth child.

Dr. Barris also said that the fourth season plotline showing Bow and Dre’s marriage nearly collapsing wasn’t reflective of her marriage, but noted that it was an amalgamation of difficult moments from their past. She told Barris as the separation narrative was being discussed, “I think you owe it to your viewers to show this.”

Ahead of black-ish airing the plotline, Barris released a statement explaining why the show chose the topic for its first serialized arc. “Dre and Bow have never been immune to tough situations, just like marriages in real life, including my own,” he wrote. “We want to shine a light on the challenges a relationship can face and the necessary effort to try and work through them together.”

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