Taye Diggs: What I know about women
Advertisement

Taye Diggs: What I know about women

Occupation Actor and singer. Age 47. Relationship status Divorced. Best known for Broadway musicals. Currently In the movie Set It Up.

"I am solo right now and I don’t know if I would get married again."

"I am solo right now and I don’t know if I would get married again."Credit:AAP

My mom, Marcia Berry, worked as a teacher and actress. She had five children and still found time to read bedtime stories. We burned through The Chronicles of Narnia a couple of times. I am the eldest, born in New Jersey. We moved to Rochester, in New York state, when I was five.

Mom was high on education. She always wanted us to use correct grammar and speak properly. She had a wonderful work ethic, going back to study theatre after my youngest sister [Shalom Israel, 37] was born. We'd all go to rehearsals and watch her perform – that's where I got the acting bug.

I never knew my father, Andre Young, but have seen pictures of him. My parents separated early in my life. My step-dad, Jeffries Diggs, helped raise me from the age of five. He died from colon cancer. I wasn't that close to him but I remember him being very much a part of our lives.

Advertisement

I grew up going to church every day. As a result of my very conservative upbringing, I was a late bloomer with girls. As a teenager I used to act in front of my brothers and sisters to make them laugh. And, as the big brother, I always felt I had to be protective of my siblings.

We were all very well behaved because we were severely disciplined if we did anything wrong. Everybody was afraid they'd get popped in the lip if they stepped out of line. We were also very close because we had to do everything together – that included church, soccer, or any sport.

I don't remember going through an icky girl phase. I had a crush on a girl in kindergarten, but didn't understand girls until seventh grade.

Watching my mom embrace the theatre was really eye-opening for me. I saw her become new characters rather than the woman at home raising a family.

My maternal grandmother, Naomi, and my mom had a strained relationship, but my mother made sure she was around and would visit during the holidays.

My celebrity crush as a child was Linda Carter, who played Wonder Woman. I also loved watching I Love Lucy. She was a mad cat, independent and funny. As I got older, I developed a huge crush on supermodel Naomi Campbell. Not many models looked like her when she came onto the scene – she was so dark and so beautiful. She's still a knockout.

My first kiss was in junior high – a girl taught me how to kiss on the late bus one afternoon. Cheesy, but it happened.

I longed to be in love with a girl and be like everybody else but it didn't happen for me. I hung out with the nerds at school. I had some difficulty in the beginning with women. I wasn't confident. When I started performing I began to gain more confidence.

Mom took me out of my public high school to go to Rochester's School of the Arts. My world opened up there, but I was transferred against my wishes. I was sad to leave my friends but it worked out in the end. I thank art school and Mom for pushing me.

I met my ex-wife, Idina Menzel, when we were both in the cast of Rent on Broadway. We married in 2003 and divorced in 2014. We have an eight-year-old son, Walker.

Dating someone in the same industry had positives and negatives. We understood one another's desire to perform but the downside was being away from each other. The overall psyche that comes with being an actor is stressful. You're either looking for work or stressing when you don't have it. It's not easy on your relationship.

I knew actress Lucy Liu from our time on Ally McBeal – I played Jackson Duper. Reuniting with her in the rom-com Set It Up was lots of fun. Watching actress Zoey Deutch [in the movie] work alongside Glen Powell was totally eye-opening, too. Seeing the way she allowed the chemistry between them to come through her scenes was wonderful.

I am solo right now and I don't know if I would get married again. I am focused on my son and keeping my life together. I have learnt so much since becoming a father. A child forces you to be patient, and a better person.

When it comes to dating, I need to feel a connection. I love a woman who has a sense of humour and doesn't take herself too seriously.

This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale August 12.