Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover: Divorce and Other Life Lessons

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I have said a lot of prayers, shed a lot of tears, and then learned how to laugh a lot of belly laughs in 2020. With the pandemic, social issues, and then what’s going on in my own home with divorce number two, this year has been tough, guys. But, in spite of all the difficult moments and the uncertainty of the times, and the fact that I just want to crawl back into the comfort of my mom’s lap and have her tell me that it will all be okay, this year has also been really dang beautiful.

I realize that I don’t owe any explanations about my divorces, or about my current relationships, or about anything to anyone. But Chris and I made a decision twelve years ago to live in the public eye, and in doing so, I’ve opened up an invitation for you to sit at my table. I get that you might have questions, and I get that there’s a natural curiosity for what’s going on and how we’re choosing to navigate all this newness, so I don’t have a problem sharing these intimate parts of my life with all of you. The only thing I ask for is respect. And kindness.

The MOST asked questions about this stage in my life are:

  • “Did you leave Chris for Derek?”
  • “Are you still in love with your ex?”
  • “How could you leave two husbands?”

I’ve tried answering subtly, and I’ve tried ignoring these questions, but they continue to flood my inbox and my DMs every single day since Chris and I announced our separation. After engaging (positively) with a few comments, it finally dawned on me that I can understand why people think some of the things they’re asking. They’re seeing a combination of the three of us hanging out, and laughing, and participating in family events together with the kids. Derek’s been such a huge part of our lives for years, and since he now works with Transform, he’s with both me and Chris a lot. So, while I know it’s nobody’s business but ours, I can see the curiosity, and I understand why I’m fielding all of these questions.

What you’re seeing now is that I’m happy. I didn’t feel this way on day one. It was hard, and it’s been a healing process. To set the record straight, while Chris and I announced our split/divorce at the end of May 2020, the divorce was actually decided back in August of 2019. This means I’m 15 months outside the hardest news I’ve ever had to accept. Ever. Divorce was never something I chose, even if my happiness, optimism, and constant laughter these days may have you thinking otherwise. And while I fought it as hard as I could humanly fight, and I didn’t fully understand the reasons WHY myself, I am WELL aware, now, 15 months into healing, that Chris made the most courageous decision of the two of us. He really did, guys.

We were both stuck. In a really bad way. He may be more so than I, and it was painful for us, our kids, and anyone near us, including our business partners and close friends. Deep down, I KNEW us separating would set both of us free, but I was far too prideful and terrified, to be brutally honest, of being the woman who couldn’t keep two marriages together, and I completely froze at the thought of the comments that would inevitably (and have since) come. I didn’t want any of it.

My hardheadedness, and both of our unhealthy co-dependence, was keeping together a thing that was slowly killing us both and taking our kids as victims as well. And that was the final breaking point.

Chris did what I didn’t have the strength to do. And for the longest time, I was so mad at him for it. He ripped the band-aid off, and we both bled for months. Not a day passed through the end of 2019 where I didn’t cry myself a river MULTIPLE times a day, including random, uncontrollable breakdowns in the lobbies of NYC hotels. (I will forever be thankful to you, Alexa, for being there during some of my darkest moments). Our friends’ shoulders are all most certainly pruned up and raisiny as a result of the tears from both me and Chris.

Divorce is hard. Yet through it, we BOTH found one of the greatest friends and allies on planet Earth. And that is in Derek. He’s always been a part of our blended family, so this is nothing new.

There isn’t a soul in the universe who can see and appreciate all four of my kids (with both dads) 1000% for who they are the way he does. He is one of the only ones who laughs as hard as I do at their quirks and who hurts as much as I do over their heartbreaks.

Derek has been a Godsend for both Chris and myself. It has been a major blessing to have his no-strings-attached love and support through this process and even his helping hand in mediating the separation of our assets (for real…no attorneys were used by me and Chris). And while he shows up in my posts and stories more often, he and Chris have JUST AS MUCH, if not MORE one-on-one time as bros, co-fathers of the kids, and work associates. I guess guys just don’t record as much as I do. ?

So, here’s everything in a nutshell:

  • Derek and I are NOT getting back together.
  • I DID NOT leave Chris for Derek. And I am not IN love with him.
  • I love both him AND Chris very much for being the fathers of my kiddos, my friends, and my #1 supporters AND for choosing LOVE over HATE—in spite of our faults and quirks—during a time most cannot.
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I don’t have all the answers. I only know and am discovering what works for ME and my family. But here is what I CAN tell you: YOU are the only person who is responsible for your happiness. No matter your circumstances and no matter how much tragedy you have experienced, YOU are the only one who can climb out of any dark hole you may find yourself in. And you deserve happiness. Never forget that.

Divorce stinks. It really does. And there are days that are still hard to swallow. But at the end of the day, I know that no matter what, Chris, Derek, and I will always put our differences aside to make sure our kids feel safe, secure, and SO completely loved. Co-parenting, with THREE parents in the mix, is a juggling act. But it’s one that requires a fair amount of humility, dropping our egos at the door, and celebrating each other—often—in front of the kids.

One of my favorite quotes comes from John Wayne, and it says, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” Well, guys, I’m in the saddle. I’m choosing to be a courageous person, and I refuse to be anything other than courageous for me and my kids. It’s through tragedy and the scary unknowns that we can allow a little bit of light to shine in through the darkness, and I believe my life is as happy as I choose to make it. Thank you for supporting me during this time of a lot of unknowns, and it’s my hope that through these hard talks, we can all do our part to spread a lot of positivity, empathy, and love.

xo,

 

P.S. if you’re looking to start your TRANSFORMATION journey, check out my 100% FREE 5 Days to Balance Bootcamp >>

Related reading:

Setting Realistic Expectations Can Help You Be Happy Now | Heidi + Chris Powell
12 Lessons Failure Taught Me
How to Find Strength in Our Struggles
How to Keep Your Momentum Even When Your Life Is Turned Upside Down | Chris Powell
Life Lessons Learned | Developing Integrity, Learning to Love Yourself, and Setting Boundaries

36 Responses

  1. I?m stuck in my life too and can understand all of this very well. The best decisions are often the hardest ones. If you don?t move forward, even without another person whom you love, you will slowly wilt on the vine. Good luck and thank you for this blog post. I?m inspired to make some hard decisions about my own life.

  2. I?m stuck in my life too and can understand all of this very well. The best decisions are often the hardest ones. If you don?t move forward, even without another Roberson whom you love, you will slowly wilt on the vine. Good luck and thank you for this blog post. I?m inspired to make some hard decisions about my own life.

  3. Heidi, divorce is hard but I’m glad you are happy and working on the best for yourself and the family. You & Chris are always an inspiration. I loved seeing the new pics of you with the kids. Be good to yourself and do not beat yourself up. Life the life you have and be happy no matter what people say.

  4. I am also divorced 2 times. I like to go to the roots of any problem and so I did with my case. I found out I came with issues from childhood which I was not aware. Thanks God , I learned to face my issues and I am liberated. Codependency is an issue. I think 2 divorces should be telling you there is an issue vor more luring your life. Spirit , Soul and Body we are. Take care of the two : Spirit and Soul

  5. I find it courageous and see because of being in the public eye why you feel the need to explain but really it?s no ones buissness what goes on in your personal life. I grew up until the age of 6 with drug addicted and alcoholic parents and a mother who chose men over her children and my childhood was lived in foster care with more bullying and abuse. Divorce is hard on everyone especially children but it would be worse living in a situation where it?s toxic and seeing unhappiness that?s not something kids should be exposed to. You guys made a courageous decision. Your kids are loved on all sides and I can?t even begin to tell you how important that sense of love and belonging is for a child you are doing what?s right for them showing your children that loving ones self enough even if it means walking away seeing your value especially in gods eyes trusting his plan for your life even if it means not having companionship is the best and most courageous choice you will ever make. God will lead you where you should be. Your talents and gifts and motherhood and inspiration to others doesn?t change who you are to the core doesn?t change just because you are walking away from companionship. Doesn?t make Derek or Chris bad guys it just means that they weren?t meant for you. Keep being the inspiring wonderful mother and person you are Heidi and Thankyou for sharing your life with us I wish you all the love and best in the world

    1. Hi M: Heidi, in no way, is glamorizing divorce. This year has been one of the most difficult ones of her life due to her divorce from Chris. She really tries to find the good in every situation, and she also believes firmly in learning from every experience in life (both good and bad) to help her learn how to become a better person for herself and her kids.

    2. Hi Heidi,
      I love your show that you did with Chris ?EWL?. I was sad to hear about your divorce as you guys are both great people. I know you both are smart loving people and your best interest is in your children. It?s hard to do the thing in life that you fear most but proceeding knowing it?s for the best. Time heals all. You are a beautiful person, you are smart and genuine. I wish you both the best

    3. Seriously!!! It was much better when people were forced to live in unhappy marriages for the rest of their lives.

      That was the very definition of “functional”.

      Chris is happy, Heidi is happy….their kids are happy.

      Please take your poison elsewhere ?

    4. Wow how arrogant are you to think she is in anyway glamorizing divorce, not even sure how you got that with what she wrote.

    1. I wouldn?t say at all that she?s glamorizing it. She?s making the best out of a bad situation. If we took every bad situation and let it crush us, what kind of world would we love in. She?s taking what?s in front of her and finding the good in it. I let a divorce crush me once. And it hung around my neck like a loose noose (ha! I rhyme!) for years until I finally let go of all the hurt and looked at what good those 13 years did for me. Bravo Heidi!

  6. You didn’t need to share any of these personal details, but I so appreciate that you did! Sometimes the best decisions for us, and our future, are the hardest and most heart-breaking ones. I hope and pray you find peace, happiness, and direction as you move through the next phase of your journey. You are amazing and I love following all you do and share; you constantly inspire me!!!

  7. Heidi,
    Your are seriously THE BEST EXAMPLE to everyone out there that has gone through a divorce. ????? Divorces are not meant to be ugly. ? They are meant to learn, grow, and share with others, & hopefully help someone else get through difficult times by learning from others mistakes.

    In my book… your family situation should be an example for all to follow with keeping a blended family from being another statistic!!! ??

    You are STRONG, BEAUTIFUL (on the inside & out) & have a ? OF GOLD to helping others get through tough situations. ???? Your family dynamic could give hope to those who need humility in their life. Thank you for always being sooooo willing to share your life with all of us.
    Sending you all BIG HUGS!!! ??

    1. You’re so courageous and giving, Heidi. I always felt like you and Chris gave so much of yourselves to help others. It seemed like you were putting peoples oxygen mask on before your own. Seven years ago I posted a picture of my 1 year and newborn daughter and you commented on it. I was thinking, “does she go back and comment on every picture or post she gets, I hope she is taking care of herself.” From the outside, all I saw was a picture perfect woman. But looks be deceiving, right? I used to live in Arizona (I live in Oregon now) and never had the chance to meet you. I am still saddened by not meeting you and Chris! I hope you take time to take care of yourself, and I wish nothing but the best for you, Chris, Derek, and your babies ?

    2. I agree with Shaunna, you are a beautiful lady inside and out with a heart of gold. I love your show, “Extreme Weight Loss.” I would like to give you a word of encouragement. My second husband husband and I were married for 2 yrs from 1995 to 1997. We divorced and married other people, but God had other plans for us! We reconnected in 2012. We remarried each other in 2013. We have been back together now as of March 13, 2013– 9 yrs and as of May 25,2021 married 8 yrs. Over the course of being away from each other we never stopped loving each other. I have seen on your tv show the love, respect and devotion you and Chris have for each other. I could be wrong, but I believe you and Chris will find your way back to each other; just the way my husband and I found our way back to each other! May God Bless you and your family. You are in my prayers. Pastor Deborah Dent

    1. Thank you for sharing this part of your life. It?s no ones business, but you made yourself transparent anyway. Your words made me tear up. Kudos to ALL of you as you navigate something new and I?m sure very hard time. You?re a light in a lot of people?s lives.

  8. There are no high fives ?? After divorce, there?s only judgement from everyone and anyone, continue loving yourself and your baby birds. Positive vibes sent your way:)

  9. Families should be functioning like yours does. 3 parents co-parenting, with the kids best interest at heart. You guys are doing a great job! All the kids seem happy and well-adjusted. I am sure we don?t see the tough times, but you guys sure do seem to have fun together. A lot of laughter in these homes.

  10. For some reason people cannot accept a divorce being mutual, respectful and decent. The expectations are you must fight and be ugly to each other and haven forbid people can still get along and love one another after divorce. People rather follow hate then to follow love. So mind boggling to me!!

    1. You guys are all amazing courageous and awesome people…. Wish all of u to be blessed with much more sunshine and grace and love and smiles…. Keep going… Heidi… As they say… When going gets tough… Tough gts going… N u r tough strong and courageous…god bless u all

    2. Amen to that!! I have a very good relationship with my ex husband and his fianc? and I cannot tell you how many times we?ve been looked at or they?ve said something about her and I hanging out. It?s almost like society wants us to be bitter because things didn?t work out, I truly believe in doing the right thing for your child. They are the ones who benefit or suffer from the aftermath. I am blessed to have his stepmom because she loves my child as her own and she is there when I can?t comfort him, we are not in competition with each other because she is my equal. I think coparenting can be a beautiful thing for families, it allows our kids to see positive relationships despite not working out the way we intended.

  11. Such an amazing message and once again you are so gracious with your life with us and I truly hope people can start showing some grace back and let the subject rest ??

  12. Thank you for sharing. You are incredibly brave to open up the way you did. I have so much respect for the 3 of you. I am in a very codependent relationship. Well I am codependent and working on myself. I think we are both waiting to rip the bandaid off, I?m just not strong enough yet, as soon as I think of it I get paralyzing anxiety. I have started reading the book you read Codependent No More. I can?t wait to have the strength and courage that you have. One day at a time. Hugs and Much love. ??

    1. Hi Heidi! Thank you for sharing and clearing that up with everybody, it’s silly people assume things! I’m going through a divorce as well and it’s very tough! We have no attorney involved either and just want the best and happiness for each other! We still hang out and very friendly towards each other. There’s no reason to be ugly in a divorce.

  13. Thank you for your candidness and honesty. It?s refreshing! I am happy for you all!
    I recently bought a picture for my home that says ?You are entirely up to you!? Continue to heal, be kind to yourself and know you are thought of so highly by so many. ?? God Bless!

  14. Heidi, thank you so much. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate everything about you!!! Sending you loving hugs.

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