Marlon Wayans and His Ex Are Proud Co-Parents — but There's a Reason They Never Married

Marlon led by example in 2023 when he discussed his “unconditional love” for his trans son.


Feb. 20 2024, Published 3:31 p.m. ET

Marlon Wayans with sons Kai and Shawn
Source: Getty Images

Marlon Wayans with sons Kai and Shawn

Though comedian Marlon Wayans and ex-partner Angelica Zackery never married, the former couple did bring two children into this world. And Marlon’s relationship with son Kai made headlines recently when the comedian discussed Kai’s trans identity.

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“I just want my kids to be free,” Marlon said on The Breakfast Club in November 2023, per ABC News. “I want them to be free in spirit, free in thought, free to be themselves. The more you know yourself, the more you can govern yourself, the more you live your truth, the happier your existence. So, if they can’t get that in a household with their father and their mother, how the f--k do I send them out into the world with that kind of confidence?”

Read on for more about Marlon’s family life.

Marlon Wayans
Source: Getty Images
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Marlon Wayans never married but did have a two-decade relationship with Angelica Zackery.

From 1992 to 2013, Marlon was in a relationship with Angelica Zackery, but the duo two never married, according to a 2021 Essence profile. And it was his devotion to his mother, Elvira, who died in 2020, that stopped him from ever walking down the aisle, as he told the magazine.

“On her deathbed, I said, ‘Can I tell you something, woman?’” he recalled. “She was in a lot of pain, and she was fighting to stay alive, and I say, ‘I’m 47 years old, and I’ve never been married because I always wanted you to be my number one girl.’ … I never got married because I knew my mom needed me.”

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Actor Marlon Wayans and guest attends the Premiere of 'Most Wanted' on October 7, 1997 at Cineplex Odeon Cinema in Century City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Source: Getty Images

Angelica and Marlon at the October 1997 premiere of 'Most Wanted'

He had another reasons for never taking the leap into matrimony, too. “I like to bend and not break, and I feel like when you get married, you have to get divorced in order to either be separated or together,” he told Essence. “I like friendships because you just learn each other, and you just grow, and you just get better.”

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He and Angelica have two kids, Kai and Shawn.

Marlon and Angelica welcomed their first child, Kai (born Amai), on May 24, 2000, followed by second child Shawn on Feb. 3, 2002, according to People.

And in the aforementioned Breakfast Club interview, Marlon said that Kai is trans and uses he/they pronouns. “I talk about the transition, not their transition, but my transition as a parent going from ignorance and denial to complete unconditional love and acceptance,” he said. “And I think there’s a lot of parents out there that need to have that message.”

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In an Instagram tribute in honor of Kai’s 22nd birthday in 2022, Marlon wrote, “I love you unconditionally and always will. … Proud of the human we raised. Smile every day. Be you. Be fearless. Be strong. Know how f--king dope you are… then kick life’s ass.”

Marlon also has big praise for son Shawn. “As much as I have accomplished in my career, I will truly say God’s greatest gift has been my children,” he wrote on Instagram in a 2023 birthday message for his younger son. “My baby boy is turning 21 today, and I am so proud of the human and the spirit this young man has. @shawnwayansss you’re a natural-born leader. You’re handsome, kind, humble, confident, sweet, aloof as f--k, funny, charming, lovable, and most of all honorable.”

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