Nearly a year after her divorce, Claws star Niecy Nash surprised the internet by sharing photos of her wedding to musician Jessica Betts on social media. On Instagram and Twitter yesterday, the 50-year-old Nash re-introduced herself to the world as “Mrs. Carol Denise Betts” tagging her now-wife Betts and including the hashtag #LoveWins. According to Out, the actress’ legal name is Carol Denise, with Niecy catching on as her popular nickname.
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Previously Nash had been married to pastor Don Nash, with whom she has three children, and Jay Tucker, an electrical engineer. Nash’s marriage to Tucker came to an end in 2019, with their separation in June and divorce announcement in October, via People. The couple assured fans that their marriage had come to a peaceful and mutual end in a joint statement that concluded: “thank you all out there for your support of us as a couple over the last eight years. We are grateful.” (E!Online).
While the statement released by Nash and Tucker in 2019 was lengthy and detailed, Nash’s new announcement of marriage was brief, only sharing the one image, and left fans wanting more. Not only was Nash and Bett’s relationship entirely private prior to the wedding photo, this marks the first time Nash has publicly come out as queer. Out reports that Nash “notably kissed Mindy Kaling” for a role on The Mindy Project in which the comedian played a lesbian doctor. Kaling herself was one of the first to comment on Nash’s Instagram post, saying: “you look GORGEOUS! Congratulations!! So much love to you both!” Turns out, that a small role as a queer character on Kaling’s sitcom was not the last time fans would see Nash married to a woman, only this time the relationship is off-screen. Nash seemingly reveled in the surprising nature of the announcement including a photo of herself and Betts on her Instagram story with the hashtag “plot twist.”
Bett’s Instagram story upon the couples’ announcement yesterday included her song “Catch Me”, which the singer preformed on the show Claws. Out refers to Claws as a “queer-inclusive TNT series” and speculates that the newlyweds first met and kindled a spark on set when Betts played a character named Nadege who performed at the wedding of Nash’s character Desna Simms. Betts posted a video of the two behind-the-scenes of Claws on Instagram in 2018, which features Nash singing “Catch Me”. Perhaps another indicator of their relationship, in February Betts posted a underwear-clad photo of Nash on Instagram with the caption: “Happy Birthday to a Real One.”
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Celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon (Big Little Lies), Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween), Chelsea Peretti (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) chimed in with love and support for the couple in response to both Nash’s posts on Instagram and Twitter. The LGBTQ+ civil rights group, The Human Rights Campaign, retweeted Nash and wished the couple “a lifetime of joy, love and happiness.” Cedric Yarbrough (Carol’s Second Act, Speechless), a comedian who acted alongside Nash in Reno 911! joked about their romantically-involved characters on the cult comedy series, including a screenshot from the show. Director Ava DuVernay (Selma, When They See Us) attended the wedding and gave fans a glimpse inside the ceremony with her tweet congratulating the newlyweds.
— Cedric Yarbrough (@cedricyarbrough) September 1, 2020
I love you, friend. It was an honor to witness your wedding to Jess. May you both have more happiness than your hearts can hold. xo pic.twitter.com/DKeoxDN4Jb
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) September 1, 2020
Claws was renewed for a fourth season at TNT, but COVID-19 imposed production shutdowns mean a stall in the season’s release. However, Nash can currently be seen on Kaling’s project Never Have I Ever, renewed for a second season at Netflix shortly after it’s debut this summer, and on season 7 of Reno 911!, now streaming on Quibi.