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

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.



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

40 Responses

    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.

  1. 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:)

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 ??

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

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

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