Eddie Murphy has been in several relationships throughout his career in the spotlight.
The comedian has welcomed ten children with different partners, and has said there’s no greater joy than fatherhood. “Things happen in cycles, and right now, I’m in a cycle where there’s no higher blessing than having a child,” he said in January 2020, just months after his son Myles welcomed a daughter. “There’s no sweeter blessing than seeing your grandchild.”
Murphy’s high-profile relationships include his romance with Whitney Houston, who was reportedly very enamored with the comedian, and his marriage to ex-wife Nicole Murphy, with whom he shares five children.
The actor also welcomed children with exes Paulette McNeely, Tamara Hood and Melanie Brown, who filed a paternity suit against the Coming to America star after he publicly questioned if he was the father of their daughter.
These days, Murphy is settled with his longtime love and fiancée, Paige Butcher, with whom he shares two children.
A source previously told PEOPLE that Butcher has a great relationship with Murphy’s children from previous relationships. “They are all about family. Paige is very close to Eddie’s kids. They are a very special and happy family,” the insider said, adding, “They vacation and spend holidays together. Paige loves being a mom and is very involved. She takes her daughter to the park and for play dates.”
From his long-term relationships to his shorter romances (including his 14-day marriage to producer Tracey Edmonds), here is a look back at Eddie Murphy’s dating history.
Her friend Ellen White told PEOPLE that Houston was so enamored with Murphy that she made her friends watch his film Coming to America repeatedly. White also said that Murphy and Houston had something special. “I watched them once at a party,” she recalled. “Eddie came in, cameras were flashing and they just looked at each other and talked and laughed like they were the only two people in the room.”
Houston’s good friend Robyn Crawford also addressed Murphy and Houston’s relationship in her book A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston. Crawford wrote that, even as Houston was building a relationship with Brown, “she was more interested in Eddie Murphy, but he was elusive.”
Murphy was apparently also invested in Houston. Crawford also wrote that Houston received a phone call from Murphy on the morning of her wedding to Brown. “[That day] Eddie Murphy called to say she was making a mistake,” she wrote.
Murphy met model Nicole Mitchell in 1988, and the two got married in 1993. The couple welcomed five children together: daughters Bria, Shayne, Zola and Bella, as well as son Myles. In 2005, Nicole filed for divorce from Murphy after 12 years of marriage. Murphy issued a short statement about their divorce, explaining, “The welfare of our children is our main concern and their best interest is our first priority.”
Murphy and Nicole have not commented publicly on what led to their split, but in August 2012, Nicole said that the two had a good relationship. “Eddie and I are friends,” Nicole told Radar Online after appearing on season 1 of Hollywood Exes. “He’s my babies’ daddy so we speak to each other and have a great relationship and I think that’s important when you have children involved. We can be in the same room and hang out, it’s all good!”
In 2016, Murphy and Nicole proved they were friendly exes when they attended the premiere of their daughter Bria’s film Amateur Night together.
Murphy started dating Paulette McNeely sometime in 1989, though little is known about their relationship. On July 10, 1989, the couple welcomed their only child together, a son named Eric, just months before Murphy welcomed his first child with Nicole.
Sometime in 1990, Murphy began seeing Tamara Hood, and the pair welcomed a son, Christian, together in November 1990.
While very little is known about Murphy and Hood’s relationship, their son Christian has shared photos of him celebrating holidays with Murphy and his half-siblings on Instagram.
Murphy dated Melanie Brown, aka Spice Girl Mel B, in 2006 and the two share one daughter named Angel Iris. Although Murphy initially disputed Angel’s paternity, Brown has always insisted that she and Murphy planned their pregnancy and even intended to get married.
“This was a completely planned pregnancy,” Brown told Essence in 2007. “This wasn’t some random, ‘Oops I fell over and I’m pregnant.’ I don’t live my life like that. … As soon as I had my IUD removed we proceeded to get pregnant. It happened quicker than we expected but it was perfect timing.”
Murphy confirmed his paternity with a DNA test, and after giving birth, Brown sued Murphy for sole legal and physical custody of Angel. In an interview with Larry King, Brown explained that the relationship she and Murphy had shared was real. “Our relationship may have been brief but it was intense,” she said. “We were very much in love and wanted to have a family together. That’s that. I mean we’re both tattooed. You don’t tattoo somebody’s name on your body if it’s brief and unimportant, let’s put it that way.”
While on the press tour for her book Brutally Honest in November 2018, Brown said that Murphy was the love of her life: “He always will be. I mean, I’ve never really spoken about it before, so this book, I wanted to address it because a lot of people have a misconstrued thing of how everything actually did happen. And at the end of the day we have a beautiful daughter together, Angel, who is 11 years old, and she’s actually staying with him right now whilst I’m here working.”
Earlier that year, a source told PEOPLE that Murphy is “an amazing father” to Angel. “She texts Eddie and is on the phone with him all the time. She loves her dad.”
Murphy and TV producer Tracey Edmonds shared an intense relationship and a brief, symbolic marriage before they parted ways. The two got engaged in 2007, and Murphy’s rep told PEOPLE, “Tracey and Eddie are both very much in love and are excited about spending the rest of their lives together.”
The couple were coy with wedding details; Edmonds told reporters, “We want to make it fun and casual — small.” They walked down the aisle on Jan. 1, 2008, on a private French Polynesian island. Edmonds told PEOPLE that the ceremony almost didn’t happen due to rain — but they took advantage of a short break from the downpour. “It was as if we’d been blessed. We ran to the beach and had just enough time to get married before the raindrops started falling again,” she said. “It was simply perfect.”
Murphy and Edmonds split only two weeks after their wedding ceremony. One wedding guest told PEOPLE that Murphy didn’t seem engaged at the wedding, and another said that the couple fought the entire time. The second guest added that several people “could hear them yelling and her crying during the honeymoon evenings. It was pretty dramatic.”
Some suggested that Murphy’s mother, Lillian, didn’t like Edmonds. “[Lillian] basically said, ‘It’s me or her,’ to Eddie,” a friend told PEOPLE. Additional sources added that a combination of issues, including whether Edmonds would change her last name, ultimately led to the relationship’s downfall.
Murphy and Edmonds announced the end of their relationship in January 2008: “After much consideration and discussion, we have jointly decided that we will forgo having a legal ceremony as it is not necessary to define our relationship further. While the recent symbolic union in Bora Bora was representative of our deep love, friendship and respect that we have for one another on a spiritual level, we have decided to remain friends.”
In 2012, Murphy began dating Australian model Paige Butcher. The pair welcomed their first child together, daughter Izzy Oona, on May 3, 2016. In August 2018, a rep for Murphy confirmed that the actor was expecting his tenth child (his second with Butcher.)
“Eddie Murphy and longtime girlfriend Paige Butcher are pleased to announce that they are expecting their second child in December,” a rep for Murphy said in a statement.
One month later, Butcher was seen sporting her baby bump and a large diamond ring while running errands in Los Angeles. A rep for the actor then confirmed to PEOPLE that Murphy and Butcher were engaged. The couple welcomed their second child, son Max Charles, on Nov. 30, 2018.
Ahead of their new arrival, a source told PEOPLE that the two were “very happy to expect another baby.”
“They wished for a younger sibling for their daughter,” the source said. “They live a pretty low-key life. They are all about family. Paige is very close to Eddie’s kids.”