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22 Dec

LeToya Luckett On Her Divorce And Overcoming A Season

Cameron Reed for ESSENCE

This story appears within the September/October issue of ESSENCE, available on newsstands now.

Of all of the ventures and endeavors that LeToya Luckett is working on— including her YouTube series Leave It To LeToya; a recurring role on the second season of Starz hit Power Book III: Raising Kanan; and successful fashion collaborations with stylist J. Bolin—her biggest project is the one closest to her heart. And it has nothing to do with entertainment.  

The 41-year-old singer and actress has just finished constructing her first home in her native Texas. It has rooms for each her 3-year-old daughter, Gianna, and 2-year-old son, Tysun—in addition to a play room for them to have their very own space to “run around,” she notes. It has the kitchen she has at all times wanted, a piano room and a bedroom that she says she “cannot wait” to rest in. Positioned in a comfortable community greater than 30 miles outside of Houston, the home is the proper place for Luckett and her children to have a fresh start.  

LeToya Luckett On Her Divorce And Overcoming A Season Of Loss: ‘I Still Dont Understand How I Coped With That’
Cameron Reed for ESSENCE

Greater than a yr ago—and lower than a yr into the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic—Luckett found herself also coping with the top of her marriage. She announced that she was getting divorced shortly after her third anniversary.  

“You’re already having to cope with the lack of normalcy,” she says. “After which, on top of that, having one other death, the death of a wedding. Truthfully, to this present day I still don’t understand how I coped with that, outside of prayer, meditation, a very good therapist and just really putting the whole lot within the hands of God.”  

She needed all of the support she could get—from family and friends, her therapist and her spiritual source—to make it through what she calls her “season of loss.” She had just given birth to her second child and was coping with postpartum depression while caring for a toddler. On top of that, she was trying to come back to terms with the truth that she would soon be a single mother. So as to not crumble, Luckett selected to confront every feeling head-on and take things “daily, minute to minute, second by second, emotion by emotion.”  

“This isn’t something you’ll be able to just glaze over and move on like nothing happened,” she says. When Luckett was 10, her own parents divorced. She watched her mother, Pamela, turn into a “superhero,” getting the whole lot done while keeping her feelings concerning the dissolution of her marriage tucked inside. But when Luckett found herself in an identical situation, facing the top of a covenant she took very seriously, she wasn’t taken with wearing that very same cape. She desired to keep it real. “I just knew that I needed to be strong—but in addition, I’m not a superhero; I’m a human being,” she says. “I desired to feel all the sentiments in order that I wouldn’t need to revisit this at a later date. I didn’t need to shelve my emotions.” 

LeToya Luckett On Her Divorce And Overcoming A Season Of Loss: ‘I Still Dont Understand How I Coped With That’
Cameron Reed for ESSENCE

When asked how she’s coping now, after doing the work, her voice perks up. “An entire lot higher,” she says. “It’s lit! I’m in an important place,” Luckett adds. “I’ve learned about creating healthy boundaries for myself. I’ve learned to listen. I feel that’s what I’ve learned most—a lesson on listening to myself, and trusting myself, and all of that, but in addition listening to other people. They’ll inform you who they’re. They’ll show you.” 

She’s also learned to prioritize her peace, not just for herself but in addition for the sake of her kids. “A very powerful thing to me is my mental health and taking those moments to go, You might want to get still,” she explains. “You’re overwhelming yourself. You’re attempting to be an excessive amount of for too many individuals. You’ve got to take a pause.”  

The necessity for such mindful self-care was tragically magnified by the premature death of her close friend, makeup artist AJ Crimson. “He taught me about what I should do with my time, how I should focus my energy and all these various things,” the multihyphenate says. “He taught me that you would be able to’t accomplish the things that you ought to accomplish unless you create a healthy space for yourself.” She’s learned other lessons during this season as well. “Having the fitting people in your life, having the fitting people in your ear,” she shares. “Letting go of things that don’t serve you anymore. It’s major.” 

All these experiences have ushered in what Luckett calls a “rebirth of Toya.” While one a part of that restoration was doing the work to guard her mental well-being, one other aspect involved shedding greater than 60 kilos, gained from having children, in order that she could feel like her old self again. And it also included constructing and moving into her dream home.  

LeToya Luckett On Her Divorce And Overcoming A Season Of Loss: ‘I Still Dont Understand How I Coped With That’
Cameron Reed for ESSENCE

“Your environment matters,” Luckett asserts. It’s why she designed her surroundings right into a place that’s sure to bring her and her kids joy. She worked with designer Michael Erno of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams to fill the home with fresh, neutral, earthy tones. Curating furniture by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Erno helped her pick pieces that may complement the natural shades in her space but in addition add a “fun pop.” These include a contemporary turquoise console, striped marble tile in her entryway, and “cool, calming wallpaper” in her bedroom. Abstract wall art here and a printed accent chair there complete the look. 

It’s a spot Luckett says she’s proud to have created. And within the category of things she takes pride in, she also includes herself—for making the hard but essential decisions to bring about this recent starting, and for being an example of each strength and vulnerability to her children.  

“‘Mommy is resilient,’” she says when asked what she hopes her kids will sooner or later say about this time of their lives. “‘Mommy never gave up. Mommy did whatever she needed to do, to fight for us and to fight for herself.’ I do know I probably could have lots of inquiries to answer from them afterward in life, but I don’t mind answering them,” Luckett adds. “And I’ll answer them truthfully, truthfully and from an actual space, in order that they know that Mommy was just fighting to do what was best, what she thought was good, and attempting to keep my peace in the method.”

She pauses, then continues thoughtfully. “I feel had I operated out of fear, I might’ve made some different decisions,” she reflects. “But this was a faith walk. So I hope they’re happy with me. I hope that they may understand.” 

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