Bernie Mac’s Widow Tells Highs & Lows Of Their Marriage, Now We See Why He Loved Her

Posted On : May 16, 2022
Bernie Mac and wife, Rhonda McCullough

This year, it’ll be 12 years since Bernie Mac passed away in August 2008, but that doesn’t mean fans have forgotten about him at all. The “King of Comedy” legend definitely left his mark on the world and fans will never forget how much he made them crack up every time he graced the stage. Even today, Bernie’s throwback stand-ups are just as hilarious as they were the first day we saw him say “I ain’t scared of you muthaf—-s on Def Comedy Jams.

Fast forward to today and Bernie’s widow, Rhonda McCullough, is doing something else to keep his legacy alive. During a prior interview with Ebony magazine, she shared details about their life together; the humble beginnings, his rise to stardom, and how his legacy will live on.

Humble Beginnings:

Like most celebrities, Bernie’s rise to fame wasn’t easy. He struggled to become a household name and Rhonda McCullough, who was married to Bernie from 1977 until his death in 2008, always stood by his side. However, Bernie’s decision to be a full-time comedian, surprisingly, came after a downfall. He’d actually lost his full-time job.

After being laid-off, Bernie decided to take time to think about what he really wanted to do with his life. During the interview, McCullough shared details about the rough times they shared.

“One day he came home and said, ‘I got fired,’ ” McCullough shares. “I’m thinking ‘Why?’ because we had just kind of got on our feet and were able to put a little money away, but I didn’t trip out.”

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She revealed they’d just gotten on track with their finances when he was laid off. But when he decided to take on comedy full-time, she took on a second job while working as a full-time psychiatric nurse at Chicago Read-Mental Health Center.

“At that point I remember him saying, ‘I can do comedy; I can really do this,’” she said. “I thought, ‘Well, I don’t want to be the person who kills his dream because if he never makes it, I’ll probably hear for the rest of my life: ‘You stopped me, you didn’t believe in me.’ So I said, ‘You know what? Do what you need to do. If I need to, I’ll get a second a job.’ And I did.”

Bernie’s Rise To Fame:

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The couple struggled for quite some time, but things turned around when Bernie won the Miller Lite Comedy Search. McCullough admitted their lives took a major turn at that point. After winning the Comedy Search, Bernie ended up on the fast track. “It just snowballed; [it was] like a domino [effect],” she said. “It got bigger and bigger, and next thing I knew, he was getting movie offers.”

Most fans probably know all about Bernie’s movie offers. From Mo’ Money, Who’s the Man?, House Party 3, Def Jam’s How to Be a Player to Ocean’s Eleven and of course Spike Lee’s The Original Kings of Comedy, Bernie was everywhere. In fact, he had also become a household name. In 2001, The Bernie Mac Show aired and he had success with the show for five years until the series ended in 2006. The roles had successfully reversed in their marriage. McCullough was now holding down the home front:

“I believe the reason he was able to do all he did is because I was back here at home taking care of everything so he didn’t have any worries,” she said.

His Legacy Lives On..:

Although Bernie is no longer with us, McCullough works tirelessly to make sure her husband’s legacy lives on. In 2007, just one year before his passing, The Bernie Mac Foundation was established to raise awareness about the debilitating illness, sarcoidosis, which ultimately led to Bernie’s demise. Since his death, The Bernie Mac STAR Center at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System has been established and April has also been declared National Sarcoidosis Awareness Month. The Bernie Mac Foundation will also host its Purple Carpet Fundraiser on April 26th. The annual fundraiser is usually held to raise money for sarcoidosis research.

Rhonda lost the love of her life when Bernie died, but she admitted that she’s grateful for the time they had together.

“I’m thankful for the 33 years we had together,” McCullough says. “I miss him every day, but he’s in my heart.”

Long live the legacy of Bernie Mac- one of the greatest ‘Kings of Comedy’ to ever grace this green earth. Continue to rest easy King.