NEW YORK • From the outside at least, Oscar-winning actress Mo'Nique and her husband of 11 years, actor and producer Sidney Hicks, would seem to be in the middle of a rocky marriage. Both have had sexual relationships with other partners for years - and continue to do so. And each is well aware of the other's escapades.
But, the couple insist, the relationship is actually quite stable and they are quite happy. In fact, it has been a decade since Mo'Nique revealed in an Essence magazine article that they were in an open marriage.
Now they have begun a podcast, Mo'Nique And Sidney's Open Relationship, on Play.It, the CBS podcast network.
The open-marriage concept has been around for a long time, but some marital experts (though not all) say couples interested in reaching a golden anniversary, or maybe even a first one, should be wary of following the example of Mo'Nique and Hicks, who are both 48.
The arrangement, which the couple agreed to before their 10- year-old twin sons were born, was her idea.
"I wanted to continue to see the gentlemen that I was seeing and I felt comfortable telling my best friend," she said, meaning Hicks. "I'm grateful he taught me I had to play fair."
The couple met as high school sophomores in Baltimore, and they stayed friends through Mo'Nique's first two marriages, as well as relationships that Hicks was involved in.
Mo'Nique also has a son from a previous marriage and Hicks, a son from an earlier relationship.
Hicks said his long friendship with Mo'Nique gave them "a level of flexibility" in their relationship.
"Before she was my wife, she was my sister. And there have been moments when she was like my little girl," he said.
"We got into this knowing that we both wanted to be with someone who's going to allow you to be who you are. I think one of the most romantic things you can do as a couple is be honest with each other. And we are."
Other Hollywood couples have been in open marriages, though few have been as open as Mo'Nique and her husband have been.
Comedienne Margaret Cho, for example, spoke about her open marriage in 2013, but she filed for separation last year after 11 years of marriage.
NEW YORK TIMES