The Astonishing Life of Hollywood Legend Eddie Murphy

Before Kevin Hart, Katt Williams, Mike Epps, Dave Chappelle, Tracy Morgan, or any other Black comedian started grabbing the spotlight, there was Eddie Murphy, a shining star from New York who was all the rave in the comedy industry. For decades, Eddie Murphy has made our sides ache with laughter.

Eddie Murphy and Paige Butcher / Eddie Murphy / Eddie Murphy / Eddie Murphy and his kids.
Source: Getty Images

Only a few comedians have attained the kind of success that Eddie Murphy has. His talents and versatility are incredible. But his enviable success isn’t the only thing we should know about the man. Let’s go behind the scenes to the less glamorous parts of his life.

Born to Be Many Things

Eddie Murphy was born Edward Regan Murphy on April 3, 1961, to Lillian (Laney) Murphy, a telephone operator, and Charles Edward Murphy, a sometimes police officer, actor, and comedian. Eddie was raised in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, the well-known New York City borough, and that little boy grew up to be a household name in the entertainment industry.

A portrait of Eddie Murphy, dressed in jeans, a white shirt, and a red necktie, as he points his fingers at the camera.
Photo by Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

Eddie is best known as a stand-up comedian. From 1980 to 1984, he was a regular cast member of the popular comedy show Saturday Night Live where he rose to fame. But he is also an actor, producer, writer, and singer.

A Rough Start to Life

Eddie Murphy may now have all the good things life can offer—fame, children, love, money, and more—but it wasn’t always like that. He had one of the worst starts to a life you could imagine. First, he was only three years old when his parents split up.

Eddie Murphy’s high school photo.
Source: Tumblr

And his father died when he was eight. Eddie didn’t know much about his father who was stabbed to death by a woman. Eddie said, “It was supposed to be one of those crimes of passion: ‘If I can’t have you, no one else will’ kind of deal.”

There’s Opportunity in Chaos

After Eddie’s father died, his now-single mother became ill. So eight-year-old Eddie and his older brother, Charlie, lived in foster care for a year. But his time in a foster home turned out to be one of the most useful periods of his life.

A portrait of young Eddie Murphy.
Source: Pinterest

Murphy has revealed in several interviews that this time played a significant role in developing his sense of humor. After their time in foster care, he and his brother were raised by his mother and stepfather, Vernon Lynch, in Roosevelt, New York. At that time, Lynch was a foreman at an ice cream factory.

In the Game a Long Time

Eddie Murphy started doing stand-up comedy early. He routinely practiced his stand-up routines on his classmates at Roosevelt Junior-Senior High School. They even voted him Most Popular Student because they loved his impromptu performances. But Murphy didn’t have anything handed to him on a silver platter.

Eddie Murphy performs at The Comic Strip.
Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

That’s why his dedication to his art was crucial to his future success. He kept working hard for the fame and success people now enjoy. He has now become an A-List entertainer, a hilarious stand-up comedian, a star of the big screen, and the voice of Donkey, everybody’s favorite animated character in Shrek.

Making History Early On

Murphy’s first comedy special, Delirious, was filmed in Washington, DC, in 1983. Due to its success, his next comedy film, Eddie Murphy Raw, released in 1987 and shot in Madison Square Garden in New York City, received wide acclaim.

Eddie Murphy performs onstage at Madison Square Garden during his 'Raw Tour'.
Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

Eddie Murphy Raw made $50 million at the box office, making it the highest-grossing stand-up comedy film of all time. Russell Brand, Dave Chappelle, and Chris Rock are among the comedians who credit Murphy with inspiring them.

An Incredible Start as a Director

Eddie Murphy has had many challenges but has met them all head on. If there was any doubt about his potential to become a star, he put that to rest with his hit debut as director of the 1989 movie Harlem Nights. It was a box office hit, generating more than $60 million.

Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor in a still from Harlem Nights.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/Copyright: Paramount Pictures

It is still a favorite with Murphy fans. However, it did not go over well with critics. “Harlem Nights offers a depressing answer to that not entirely pressing question, ‘Will success spoil Eddie Murphy?’ It looks as if it has,” wrote Richard Schickel in a 1989 issue of Time magazine. Thankfully, Murphy doesn’t read reviews.

Murphy and Reviews

Murphy got his first lead role in the comedy movie Beverly Hills Cop in 1984. It was a huge blockbuster but got some negative reviews. Murphy said in an interview with Rolling Stone that he discovered early in his career that he needed to block out the criticism.

A still of Eddie Murphy as Det. Axel Foley.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/Copyright: Paramount Pictures

“I remember when Beverly Hills Cop came out, they gave it some horrible reviews . . . back then I would listen and trip,” he said. “Now I don’t listen to anything. I haven’t read a newspaper in 20 years. . . . You have to have a filter on what you let in.”

Just a Kid, but Already a Star

Murphy joined Saturday Night Live (SNL) at the age of 19 after excelling as a stand-up comedian. He stayed for four seasons, bringing renewed interest to the show that had been dubbed “Saturday Night Dead” by critics following the departure of original cast members Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and John Belushi, as well as series creator Lorne Michaels.

Cast of the TV show
Photo by Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

When Murphy was set to leave SNL in 1984 to focus on feature films, the show’s producers were so desperate to keep its star attraction that they offered him a deal to stay for a portion of the 1983–1984 season. Murphy taped 15 sketches that could be used throughout the season.

A Favorite on Saturday Night Live

Murphy was a regular on Saturday Night Live from 1980 to 1984. For one of his famous comedy sketches, “White Like Me,” Murphy applied makeup to go undercover as a white man. He used humor to call attention to the many privileges that white men enjoy daily through various common activities.

Eddie Murphy in white face makeup.
Source: YouTube

Other notable Murphy characters included the scornful green clay Gumby whose trademark slogan “I’m Gumby, dammit!” became an SNL catchphrase. In Rolling Stone’s 2015 rating of every SNL cast member, Murphy came in second after John Belushi. “It’s like Harvard for the comic actor,” Murphy said of SNL.

Friends with the King of Pop

Murphy appeared alongside supermodel Iman and basketball star Magic Johnson in Michael Jackson’s Remember the Time music video in 1992. Murphy released the single “Whatzupwitu” the next year, which featured none other than Michael Jackson himself. Murphy opened to Rolling Stone about his bond with Jackson, and it was an eye-opener.

Michael Jackson and Eddie Murphy arrive at the AMA’s.
Photo by Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

Murphy said, “There was a whole regular person in there. Michael, he’s much more in touch than you would ever imagine. He wasn’t off in Never Neverland and not aware of the world that was spinning around him. The problem was the drugs.”

The Voice of Donkey in Shrek

Murphy has become a frequent voice actor in children’s films. Among the characters he has voiced are the Chinese dragon Mushu in the Disney movie Mulan, Thurgood Stubbs in The PJs, and, most famously, Donkey in the Shrek series. Murphy was replaced by Dean Edwards in Scared Shrekless.

Shrek and Donkey looked shocked in a still from Shrek.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/Copyright: Dreamworks Pictures

But he returned as Donkey in Donkey’s Christmas Shrektacular. Murphy performed several songs in the Shrek film franchise, including a version of the Monkees’ “I’m a Believer” and Ricky Martin’s hit “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” He also performed “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).”

The Eddie Murphy Cartoon We Never Saw

In 1987, at the peak of Murphy’s fame, he was on the verge of getting one of the most prestigious honors bestowed on any entertainer—his own Saturday morning cartoon series. Murphy was said to be in talks with Hanna-Barbera for a series, the premise which was never revealed.

Eddie Murphy during 1993 MTV Movie Awards.
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

It would’ve offered a G-rated interpretation of his comic sensibility. However, the untitled Murphy project never saw the light of day. Then in 2011, he was cast as the title character in Hong Kong Phooey, a live-action, computer-animated remake of the 1970s cartoon about a martial art–trained dog.

Head on a Spike

Many successful entertainers will tell you stories of how they’ve faced criticism at one stage of their careers. Eddie Murphy has many of those tales to tell. Murphy worked with his brother, Charlie Murphy, on Harlem Nights (1989), as a director, producer, star actor, and co-writer.

Spike Lee and Eddie Murphy attended the screening of Boys'N The Hood.
Photo by Micheline Pelletier/Corbis/Getty Images

Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx, Murphy’s comic idols, played supporting roles. During that time, Murphy was heavily criticized by filmmaker Spike Lee for not leveraging his reputation to help Black actors. That was despite the fact that as Murphy’s fame grew, his movies, especially those he produced, featured predominantly Black casts.

As Black as It Gets

Whether as a response to Spike Lee or that he was just doing what he had always done, Eddie Murphy’s movies then featured Black actors more often. Many Black actors who would later become big names in the industry made early appearances in Murphy’s movies.

Chris Rock and Eddie Murphy in a still from Beverly Hills Cop 2.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/Copyright: Paramount Pictures

They include big names such as Damon Wayans in Beverly Hills Cop, Martin Lawrence and Halle Berry in Boomerang, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson in Coming to America, Chris Rock in Beverly Hills Cop II, and Dave Chappelle in The Nutty Professor. The list goes on and on.

Worst Actor of the Decade

Murphy has excelled in virtually every art he has set his mind to. So it’s difficult to attribute the term bad to him and even less the word worst. But in 2009, he was named worst actor of the decade. Unbelievable, right? He also got the Golden Raspberry Award (a “Razzie”) for Worst Actor for his performance in Norbit.

Eddie Murphy in a still from Norbit.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/Copyright: DreamWorks Pictures

This was just days after winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor. He received the same nomination for Showtime, I Spy, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash in 2002; Meet Dave in 2008; Imagine That in 2009; and A Thousand Words in 2012.

Drama at the Oscars

Eddie Murphy may be a talented actor, but the drama that happened when he infamously stormed out of the Oscars in 2007 was real! Murphy was so devastated after losing the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor to Alan Arkin, the Little Miss Sunshine star, that he stormed out of the ceremony the moment Arkin’s name was called.

Eddie Murphy attends the 79th Annual Academy Awards.
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

When US Weekly asked Murphy about the incident, he downplayed his disappointment and said, “It’s fine. It happens. It’s OK.” Murphy didn’t stick around to see Jennifer Hudson win Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Dreamgirls or his fellow castmates Hudson, Keith Robinson, Beyonce, and Anika Noni Rose perform the show’s nominated songs.

Robbed of an Oscar

Chris Rock considers Murphy’s performance in The Nutty Professor so good that he says Murphy was “robbed of an Oscar” and that his varied performances were Peter Sellers-esque. “It’s just an amazing performance, and you feel that mother, you feel that father, and the brother, and Sherman,” he told Entertainment Weekly.

Murphy in a still from The Nutty Professor.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/Copyright: Universal Pictures

“It’s one of the best performances you’re ever going to see. . . . Eddie was on fire. . . . I also love it because it’s like the blackest movie—a real African American movie,” Chris Rock said when asked about The Nutty Professor. Rock’s list of his top five comedies included The Nutty Professor; Broadway Danny Rose; Superbad; South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut; and Borat.

Quitting the Oscars in 2012

Eddie Murphy has quite the history with the Academy Awards ceremonies. He had stormed out of the event in 2007, but that wasn’t the last case of disrespect for the Academy. In November 2011, Murphy announced he would no longer host the Oscars. It was surprising, but there is a backstory.

Eddie Murphy speaks onstage at the First Annual Comedy Awards.
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

His decision came a day after producer Brett Ratner, a friend of Murphy’s, resigned after publicly using a derogatory term. Murphy’s connection to hosting the Academy Awards came through Ratner who had personally asked him to take the role. So we can only imagine that ending his role with the Academy was out of respect for Ratner.

Ignored – For the Umpteenth Time

We’re starting to get the feeling that many award institutions don’t like Eddie Murphy as much as we do. Murphy had a big year in 2019, thanks to his performance in Dolemite Is My Name in which he played real-life movie legend Rudy Ray Moore. But the Academy didn’t think so.

A still of Eddie Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/Copyright: Netflix

A Golden Globe win probably would have pushed him into strong contention for an Oscar, but Murphy surprisingly lost to Taron Egerton for his performance in Rocketman. As you would expect, Murphy came up short for the Oscar for Best Actor nomination the following Monday. It was a tough time for Murphy and awards.

Finally Got His Golden Globe Award

With the tension over awards and being ignored, you’d think he’d never win. Murphy eventually won a 2007 Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as soul singer James “Thunder” Early in Dreamgirls.

Eddie Murphy backstage at the 64th Annual Golden Globe Awards.
Photo by Getty Images/Bob Riha Jr./Getty Images

This came after earning several nominations for his performances in 48 Hrs, the Beverly Hills Cop series, Trading Places, and The Nutty Professor, among many others. But there were some Grammy Awards for Murphy. In 1984, he won a Grammy for his album Eddie Murphy: Comedian.

Go into the World and Multiply

Eddie Murphy has 10 children from five women. He had his first child, Eric Murphy, in 1989 with his girlfriend at the time, Paulette McNeely. In 1990, he had a son, Christian, with girlfriend Tamara Hood. In a long relationship with Nicole Mitchell, they had five children—Bria, Myles, Shayne, Zola, and Bella. Eddie and Nicole were married from 1993 to 2006.

Eddie Murphy and his family arrive at a premiere.
Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Former Spice Girl Melanie Brown (Mel B) is the mother of his daughter Angel. Paige Butcher, his current fiancée, is Izzy and Max’s mother. Murphy and Paige have been together since 2012 and engaged since 2018, although they are not yet married.

Girls, Girls, Girls – Eddie Has Been Around

There are many impressive things about Eddie Murphy. He has had a fantastic career with many impressive accomplishments. He has also built a family of 10 children. But that’s not all. Murphy has a long list of women he has been romantically attached to. First, there are the five women he had kids with.

Thandie Newton and Eddie Murphy during
Photo by Jason Merritt/FilmMagic/Getty Images

But it’s not just his baby mamas he’s been with. More than 20 women are linked to him! And they are not just any women. There’s Halle Berry, Toni Braxton, Amber Rose, and Naomi Campbell. Crazy, right? He’s had quite the journey.

Turning a New Paige

Paige Butcher and Eddie first met on the set of Big Momma’s House 2 in 2012, and they’ve been seeing each other ever since. Paige is an Australian model who started modeling at the age of 13 and subsequently moved on to acting.

Eddie Murphy and Paige Butcher arrive at the Premiere of
Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Her first cameo appearance was in Something’s Gotta Give. She didn’t get much screen time in Big Momma’s House 2 in her role as Background Model #1. But even though she only had a marginal role in the movie, she was about to become the leading role in a celebrity’s life.

Butcher for Gold or True Love?

Paige Butcher is sometimes accused of getting into a relationship with Eddie Murphy solely for the money and status. Okay, we’ve seen it before, but that’s harsh speculation. She proved this notion wrong by deactivating all her social media accounts in 2013, and she explained why to Vanity Fair.

Paige Butcher and Eddie Murphy attend a basketball game.
Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Paige said that merely dating Eddie Murphy is enough. “I’m in a relationship with a celebrity, so I felt like there’s already enough of me out there. I felt like I was giving out too much access. I was giving people too much access. I like to keep as much private as possible now,” she explained.

Just Friends with Toni Braxton

Before settling down with Paige Butcher for the last 10 years, Eddie was rumored to be dating the “Un-Break My Heart” diva, Toni Braxton. We first heard about the relationship when Eddie cheered for the singer at her concert in Los Angeles in February 2012. And a reputable source revealed something juicy.

Toni Braxton attends The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards.
Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

According to the Daily Mail, the relationship was “getting very serious.” The source even revealed that Eddie’s and Toni’s kids had already met. But Eddie and Toni refuted the news. A spokesperson for Toni said they were “just friends and have been fans of each other’s work for a long time.”

Hold Your Horses, Diaz

Eddie Murphy certainly had an eventful year in 2012. He also dated 106 & Park host Rocsi Diaz. The rumors of them dating had been making the rounds, but neither said anything. They decided to stun us at the pre-BET Awards with their first public appearance. But the relationship was short-lived.

Rocsi Diaz and Eddie Murphy attend an event.
Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage/Getty Images

The reason for their break-up, according to Diaz, was that they wanted different things. She wanted to make their relationship more serious and even get married quickly. But Murphy wasn’t in the same boat and was wary of things moving too quickly. Coming from a man who’s been divorced before, well . . .

Rumble with Amber Rose

Eddie was also linked to Amber Rose, a model whose past relationships include Kanye West, 21 Savage, and Wiz Khalifa. Could Eddie Murphy be attracted to a certain type of woman? In 2010, their relationship developed quickly. The news broke when Amber and Eddie were hanging out with their buddies.

Amber Rose Hosts A Party.
Photo by Prince Williams/WireImage/Getty Images

It was a good time. But it was merely another of Eddie’s ephemeral and fleeting relationships. This man was just there to have fun, right? If you think his short relationship with Amber Rose was short, wait until you hear how long he lasted with Tracey Edmonds.

Not Enough Spice for Eddie

Before we talk about Eddie’s unfortunate marriage to Tracey, there was one girl who broke Eddie’s heart—former Spice Girl Melanie Brown. You probably know her as Mel B. In her memoir, Brutally Honest, Mel B reminisced about her relationship with Eddie, claiming it was love at first sight.

Melanie Brown aka Mel B arrives at an event.
Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images

She even refers to Eddie as the “love of my life.” But they had no idea that their relationship would end in court with Mel having to pay nearly $27,500 in child support. They lasted less than a year together, and they had a daughter, Angel.

Is That My Child?

Murphy began seeing Mel B after his divorce from Nicole Mitchell in 2006. Mel B got pregnant and claimed the child was Murphy’s. When RTL Boulevard asked Murphy about the pregnancy in December 2006, Murphy told Dutch reporter Matthijs Kleyn, “I don’t know whose child that is. . .”

Melanie Brown and her attorney hold a press conference announcing the filing of a paternity case against actor Eddie Murphy
Photo by Toby Canham/Getty Images

“. . . until it comes out and has a blood test. You shouldn’t jump to conclusions, sir.” Mel B gave birth to daughter Angel Iris Murphy Brown on April 3, 2007, Murphy’s 46th birthday. Mel B’s representatives stated on June 22, 2007, that a DNA test had confirmed that Murphy was the father.

Rebound Marriage with Tracey Edmonds

Eddie Murphy married Tracey Edmonds, the Soul Food star, in 2006. Tracey had recently divorced her husband who she cofounded Soul Food with, and it didn’t take long for her and Eddie to fall in love. Eddie, like Tracey, had just ended a relationship.

Eddie Murphy and Tracey Edmonds during
Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Images

Eddie and Tracey found each other while they were both still grieving. Eddie proposed to Tracey shortly after she finalized her divorce, and she accepted. They tied the knot in French Polynesia. Only their family and closest friends were invited to the wedding, which drew a total of 25 people.

Should Have Thought about That

After the wedding, Tracey and Eddie fought a lot. They had certainly not had any time to work through those difficult conversations before jumping into marriage. The quarrels continued over Tracey taking Eddie’s surname, which she refused to do. They also argued over where they would live. And that wasn’t all.

Eddie Murphy and Tracey Edmonds arrive at the
Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images

Eddie wanted Tracey to move in with him in his Los Angeles home that he shared with his mother and a friend, musician Johnny Gill. Tracey would only agree to it if Eddie’s mother and Johnny left. And no one was willing to compromise. So the marriage lasted just two weeks.

Then There Was That Relationship with Nicole Mitchell

Eddie Murphy may have had a handful of short-lived relationships, but he wasn’t always like that. His first marriage was a pretty long one (for his standards). Nicole Mitchell Murphy was Eddie’s first wife and the mother of half of his children. They were married for 13 years from 1993 to 2006.

Eddie Murphy and wife Nicole Murphy attend a Benefit.
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The couple never revealed why they divorced, but they always kept a strong relationship with their children. Even though Eddie is now engaged to Paige Butcher, he is still close to Nicole.

Other Names Linked to Eddie

We mentioned earlier that there are about 20 names of women who have been linked to Eddie Murphy. No, we aren’t kidding. But it’s hard to keep up. And we’re sure that even the man himself must have trouble keeping up with the women he’s had relationships with in the past.

Eddie Murphy and Diane Lane are out for dinner.
Photo by Robin Platzer/Images/Getty Images

Other names on his list of lovers are Tamara Hood, Halle Berry, Nicole Rader, and Paulette McNeely. Although most of the relationships were short-lived, Eddie has kids with some. He had Christian with Tamara Hood and Eric with Paulette.

Wanting to Be Like Dad

Eddie Murphy’s comedy career has spanned decades, garnering nominations for prestigious awards, box office successes, and rave reviews. But as he’s built his career, he’s also built his family, a total of 10 children born in the last 30 years. And he has influenced a couple of them.

Bria Murphy and Eddie Murphy attend the gallery opening of Bria Murphy's
Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Bria, his eldest daughter, chose to follow in her father’s footsteps and pursue a career in comedy and modeling. She has been in many Hollywood films, most notably the 2017 thriller Conflict of Interest and the reality TV show Hollywood Exes. She’s also a cofounder of the ArtUs gallery.

Inspired by Richard Pryor and Bruce Lee

Virtually every big name we know today has an inspiration. Sometimes the inspirations are understandable. But in Eddie Murphy’s case, his inspirations cut across several professions, which makes you wonder if that is how he got his incredible versatility. Eddie Murphy was 15 when he discovered his first role model.

A portrait of Richard Pryor.
Photo by Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images

Murphy was inspired to become a comedian after listening to Richard Pryor’s comedy album That Nigger’s Crazy. Murphy also practiced imitating his acting hero, Peter Sellers, by performing a variety of roles. His other early influences include Bruce Lee, Redd Foxx, Bill Cosby, Muhammad Ali, Charlie Chaplin, and Robin Williams.

A Huge Tragedy Strikes

One could say Eddie Murphy has only had his big brother, Charles, as a companion and friend for most of his life. They were together after their dad died, during foster care, and even when their mother died in 2000. But tragedy struck when Charles sadly died in 2017.

Charlie Murphy and Eddie Murphy arrive at an event.
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images

According to Eddie’s representative Domenic Nati, Charles died in New York after battling leukemia. Charles was also a stand-up comedian and actor. He made his feature-film debut alongside his brother in the 1989 movie Harlem Nights. The Murphy family had previously suffered a devastating loss when Charles’ wife, Tisha Taylor, died of cancer in 2009.

Paying Tribute to Charlie

Eddie Murphy has been seeing Australian model Paige Butcher for the last 10 years since they started dating in 2012. The pair hasn’t gotten married yet, but they do have two children together. One of them has a name that is very special to Eddie.

Eddie Murphy and Charlie Murphy pose at the premiere of
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In May 2016, Murphy and Paige had a daughter, Izzy. Two years later, in November 2018, they had another child, a son named Max. It’s Max’s middle name—Charles—that is so special to Eddie. It pays tribute to Murphy’s late brother.

Enough Music for a Lifetime

Part of Eddie Murphy’s many talents and versatility is making music. But contrary to what people may think, he has never stopped making music. That is despite the fact that his musical albums received mixed reviews in the 1980s. He has been steadily releasing new music through home recording studios.

Stevie Wonder and Eddie Murphy perform onstage.
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images

In a 2019 interview with Krista Smith on her Netflix Present Company podcast, Murphy said, “I’ve never stopped doing music. . . . I stopped putting it out, though, because the audience gets weirded out by it. And I don’t want to be that guy.”

Barrack Obama Influenced Murphy’s Return to Stand-Up

Eddie Murphy announced his return to stand-up comedy in 2019, and Barrack Obama may have been influential in that decision. Although a mammoth $70-million deal with Netflix could have played a part, Murphy attributed his return to comedy to an infamous conversation he had with the former president.

Eddie Murphy speaks onstage.
Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

When Murphy accepted the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2015, President Obama asked him when he will be doing stand-up comedy again. “When you go into the Oval Office and the President asks when you are doing stand-up, it’s time to do some jokes,” Murphy said.

Problems with His Public Image

Murphy was stopped by the police in Santa Monica, California, on May 2, 1997, while driving with a 20-year-old transsexual prostitute named Atisone Seiuli. Murphy’s spokesperson, Paul Block, refuted that he intended to pay Seiuli for sex, claiming that he was only offering her a ride home. Seiuli was arrested.

A photo of Seiuli.
Source: YouTube

That was after police officers discovered that Seiuli had an outstanding prostitution warrant. According to Deputy Benta Nichol, Seiuli pleaded guilty to breaking his probation and was sentenced to 90 days in the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail. Although Murphy was not charged, the incident brought him a slew of public relations issues.

Trouble with the Law

Murphy was criticized by gay rights groups in the 1980s for his vulgar comedy shows. He was even labeled a homophobe for his anti-homosexual performances. Murphy also landed in court in 1987 after Nicolle Rader, then 19 years old, filed a paternity suit against him.

Eddie Murphy waves to the crowd.
Photo By John Leyba/The Denver Post/Getty Images

She named him the father of her daughter Ashlee. Murphy initially denied being the father but later acknowledged “the existence of other children.” Later that year, he was sued by a former agency over a contract disagreement. He agreed to a $700,000 out-of-court settlement.

More Sexual Harassment Troubles

The troubles didn’t go away, and Murphy was named in a tax shelter fraud in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Two years later, he was accused of sexually harassing aspiring actress Michael Michele. The woman claimed that Murphy dropped her from the film Harlem Nights because she didn’t sleep with him.

Eddie Murphy arrives at an event.
Photo by Lars Niki/Getty Images

In 1992, the National Enquirer reported that Murphy had an illegitimate two-year-old son, Christian Edward Murphy. He refuted the accusations and tried to sue the magazine for invasion of privacy, but he was unsuccessful.

He Doesn’t Use a Computer

Murphy is a loving father to his 10 children. His daughter Bria posted a rare family photo on Instagram in December 2018. It showed the entire family, including Paige Butcher and Eddie Murphy’s youngest child, Max Charles Murphy, born on November 30, 2018.

A family photo of Eddie Murphy with all his kids.
Source: Instagram/@bria_murphy

Murphy, on the other hand, is not a fan of social media. “I don’t watch any of it. I don’t know how. The computer is a trip to me. Sit in a room, everybody is on their computer or phone. I don’t do any of it,” he told Rolling Stone.

He Doesn’t Drink Alcohol

Murphy is a teetotaller, which he attributes to his young appearance, considering he’s 60. “You know when I had a drink . . . the night I fought with John Landis on the set of Coming to America, I went back to the house, and Arsenio got me drunk.”

Eddie Murphy poses for a portrait.
Photo by frederic meylan/Sygma/Getty Images

“And I got drunk on my honeymoon when I drank three glasses of champagne,” he told Rolling Stone. “I’m terrible . . . I don’t throw up if I drink, but I can’t drink. That’s why I look 35, I don’t drink and no stress.” Yeah, he does look young!

Mammoth Deal with Amazon

With a net worth of more than $200 million, Eddie Murphy is not resting and certainly wants more. He has now ventured into Amazon. The actor has agreed to star in a three-film and first-look deal with the tech giant.

Eddie Murphy in a still from Coming 2 America.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/Copyright: Amazon Studios

He also collaborated with Amazon Prime for a sequel to Coming to America, which Prime released after acquiring it from Paramount. The latter offloaded it along with numerous other films during the COVID-19 theatrical shutdown.

Breaking Records with Coming 2 America

Many consider Coming to America one of the best movies of the late 1980s. So when it was announced in 2019 that Murphy and most of the cast will be reprising their roles in the sequel Coming 2 America, many were ecstatic. The sequel was eventually released in March 2021.

Eddie Murphy in a still from Coming to America.
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/Copyright: Paramount Pictures

According to Nielsen’s VOD content rating data, Coming 2 America was the most streamed title in the United States the week of its release, with 1.4 billion minutes of total viewing during the week of March 1–7, 2021, among US viewers.

Dreamgirls Made a Boy’s Dream Come True

Eddie Murphy will be incredibly grateful for playing the infamous role in Dreamgirls because his performance brought him a variety of awards. He won Best Supporting Actor at the Africa-American Film Critics Association in 2006 and at the 2007 Central Ohio Film Critics Association.

Murphey performs on stage in a still from Dreamgirls
Source: Moviestillsdb.com/Copyright: DreamWorks Pictures

He also won the Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor Award in a Supporting Role for Dreamgirls in 2007. What a year and what a movie! In 2020, Murphy won the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for Saturday Night Live.

For God and Humanity

While Eddie Murphy has cracked us up with jokes, he has also done the world a lot of good with his philanthropic work. He has donated money to several organizations, one of them the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. And he hasn’t stopped there.

Eddie Murphy attends a Celebration of Black Cinema.
Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Murphy has continued to show his philanthropic side, donating huge amounts of money to cancer and education organizations, the creative arts community, and charities for family support, healthcare, and homelessness. He has also donated to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center and $100,000 to the Screen Actors Guild’s strike relief fund.