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NY Post
Page Six
2 Dec 2023

NextImg:Tiffany Haddish’s friends fear downward spiral after second DUI: ‘Don’t know what’s troubling her’

When Tiffany Haddish was a little girl, after her father abandoned the family and left her with a mother struggling with mental health, she was bullied in school because her mom didn’t know how to do her hair right and she had a big mole, or what she called a “horn,” on her forehead.

Haddish began cutting the mole herself — right in the classroom.

The kids would go “Tiffany’s bleeding! Oh my God, oh my God she cut her horn off!,” Haddish wrote in her 2017 bestseller, “The Last Black Unicorn.”

These days, it looks as if Haddish, who rose from the ashes of a nightmarish childhood to become one of Hollywood’s hottest comedians and actresses, is hurting herself again — with her second DUI arrest in two years, last week.

Haddish, who turns 44 on Dec. 3, was caught on video being taken away in handcuffs after she was found slumped over the wheel of her car at 5:45 a.m. Nov. 24 in the middle of Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills Police said.

She got back on stage the very next day at the Laugh Factory in Long Beach, Calif., and joked about the incident.

Haddish was arrested on suspicion of DUI Nov. 24 in Beverly Hills when she was allegedly found slumped over the steering wheel of her car.
Tiffany Haddish, who was arrested for a second time for DUI last week, was seen here in October at a Variety party.

A few days later she sounded more contrite.

“I’m going to get some help so I can learn balance and boundaries,” she said. “This will never happen again,” she vowed without giving further details.

But six years after her triumphant breakout role in “Girls Trip,” which she nearly stole from her powerhouse co-stars Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Regina Hall, the jury is out on whether her Hollywood friends will stick by her or abandon her.

Haddish performs at the Laugh Factory in LA, one day before she was arrested for DUI in Beverly Hills.

“As soon as I heard it, I said ‘goddamn, I’m glad she’s okay,'” a close friend of Haddish told The Post.

“But it seems weird to me. You would think that someone would have a driver in that situation. This is tough because there’s nothing anybody’s gonna say to take away that this is her second offense.

“The way people look at drinking and driving. Hopefully there’s a lesson to be learned. If people want to be critical, I say f–k that — you don’t know what a person is going through. You don’t know what’s troubling a person.”

Haddish was a scene-stealer in “Girls Trip” six years ago. Now her friends are expressing concern about her second DUI arrest. Photo credit: Michele K. Short
Haddish’s (far left) breakout role came in 2017 with the smash hit, “Girls Trip” alongside (from second left) Regina Hall, Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith

The arrest is the latest in what appears to be a downhill spiral for Haddish, who was born and raised in south-central LA and endured great hardships before she broke through in Hollywood.

Her Eritrean-born father, Tsihaye Reda Haddish, left when Haddish was 3. (She later reunited and reconciled with him, when she was 27, and he attended her 2008 wedding to William Stewart. Haddish and Stewart divorced in 2013 and Tsihaye died in 2017.)

When Haddish was 8, her mother was in a car accident. She claimed in her book that her stepfather later admitted he had tampered with the brakes in her mother’s car so as to kill her and collect life insurance.

The comedian has written and spoken about the trauma of her childhood, with a mentally-ill mom and a father who left when she was just 3. @tiffanyhaddish/Instagram
A photo of Tiffany Haddish’s mother, Leola, in her youth. Leola reportedly suffers from mental illness.

Her mother Leola survived but, according to Haddish, suffered brain damage so severe she became schizophrenic and often abusive.

Tiffany and her half-siblings were placed in foster care. Her stepfather has never been traced, while her mother, who Haddish says has spent time in mental institutions, has never spoken publicly.

Haddish lived in her car at times before she started getting sitcom and TV movie roles beginning around 2006.

After the success of “Girls Trip” and her first Showtime comedy special, “Tiffany Haddish: She Ready! From the Hood to Hollywood,” she became the first female African-American non-cast member to host “Saturday Night Live,” in 2017.

Tiffany Haddish with her Eritrean-born father at her wedding to William Stewart in 2008. Her dad died in 2017.
Haddish’s bestselling 2017 memoir, “The Last Black Unicorn,” was a raw, hilarious tale of her tough childhood and later Hollywood success.

But the wheels started coming off her storybook success late in 2018.

That year, Haddish, by her own admission, bombed onstage at a New Year’s Eve show in Miami.

The morning before the show, she took to Instagram looking very disheveled and spoke about how hard she’d been drinking the night before — until 7 in the morning.

In 2017 Haddish made history as the first African-American woman not in the cast to host “Saturday Night Live,” in a show which also featured Taylor Swift. SNL
Haddish spoke about drinking until 7 in the morning before a disastrous gig in Miami on New Year’s Eve 2018. @tiffanyhaddish/Instagram

“Not gonna lie… I’ve been partying all night. I’ve been partying all morning… I can still feel the Ciroc (vodka) in my system,” she said.

Her performance that night was a disaster. Her jokes, the ones she could recall, fell flat and the audience began to heckle and boo her. In response she pulled out a bottle of vodka and drank onstage while asking the patrons to tell jokes.

After the Miami debacle, Haddish seemed to be on an upswing. She began dating the rapper and actor Common in 2020 and said it “felt safest out of all the relationships [she’s] ever had.”

Common, the rapper and actor, and Haddish dated in 2020. After a failed marriage, she said that the relationship was both safe and fun. Penske Media via Getty Images
Common and Tiffany Haddish attend the Grammy Awards in 2020. They split up in 2021.

She called their romance “the healthiest, the funnest” of her life.

Then he dumped her in 2021 — by phone, she said.

Always blunt, she said at the time that Common’s claims that the breakup was “mutual” was false.

“It was more him saying, ‘I think this relationship has run its course,’” she told the Washington Post. “And I was like, ‘OK. Like, you gonna be a 50-year-old single man. OK?’”

Haddish, seen here in 2022, wrote a children’s book version of her 2017 bestseller, “The Last Black Unicorn.”

She claimed at the time she was trying to stay positive and hoping to find a new partner.”But also, I guess I’ve been alone for so long. And so used to being abandoned, I expect it. Which is sad, right?”

In January 2022, in an incident similar to what happened in Beverly Hills, Haddish was arrested at 2:30 a.m. in Peachtree, Georgia on suspicion of being under the influence of both alcohol an drugs.

Prosecutors alleged that she fell asleep at the wheel of her car, according to court documents. She was released on bond and has formally denied the charges.

A trial was scheduled for December 12, but this week Georgia prosecutors were reported by TMZ to have asked for the bond to be updated to include weekly drink and drug testing.

Haddish’s mug shot from her 2022 DUI arrest in Peachtree, Georgia.

In Aug. 2022, a woman, reportedly once a friend of Haddish, filed a child sex abuse lawsuit against Haddish and fellow comic Aries Spears, accusing them of coercing minors into taking part in sexually explicit skits at a comedy camp.

Both Haddish and Spears’ attorneys called it “a shakedown.” The suit was dropped a few months later but Haddish said the damage was done, telling a TMZ photographer, “All my gigs gone. Everything gone… I don’t have no job.”

Just 10 days before her most recent arrest, Haddish filmed a video of herself in an angry rant about how because people thought she was a “nice person” they were taking advantage of her and not paying her what she deserved. She has since deleted it.

Haddish unleashed an angry tirade about people taking advantage of her and being “lazy” just 10 days before her last arrest. She later deleted the video. @unwinewithtasha/X

“I’m tired of being nice to y’all raggedy ass mother-f—kers!” she shrieked. “I’m just tired of people playing with me.”

Haddish and her reps did not respond to calls from The Post. Tracy Oliver, the co-writer of “Girls Trip” who has said “Girls Trip 2” is in the works, was not reachable.

Haddish’s has also said that she’d secretly suffered eight miscarriages over the years. But she explained that she kept it to herself so no one would feel sorry for her.

Haddish has been open about her troubled childhood but spent many years not discussing the eight miscarriages she suffered, saying she did not want people asking, “Are you okay?” Getty Images for Disney

“I don’t want people saying: ‘Are you okay? Are you all right?’ Like a wounded animal, I just rather go in a cave by myself. Lick my wounds.”

But concerned friends and industry insiders say she has to come out and face what’s happened.

Veteran entertainment journalist and TV producer Brian Balthazar, who’s also long had a foothold in standup comedy, said that Haddish can right her ship — if she’s smart and strategic.

Haddish can still come out on top, according to veteran entertainment journalist Brian Balthazar — but only if she quickly addresses her DUI and the circumstances around it. Getty Images

“We live in a world that simultaneously embraces cancel culture, but also loves a redemption story,” Balthazar told The Post. “So where does Tiffany fall in that spectrum? There’s the justice system and there is the court of public opinion, and they can yield wildly different results.

“You don’t have to look far to see there is actually a pretty sizable list of celebrities who have been charged with one or more DUIs in the past.”

“It doesn’t necessarily mean an end to your career,” he added. “But Tiffany’s next move is really important.

“Tiffany Haddish is incredibly talented and funny. If she’s quick to address the situation and does it properly, I believe she can overcome this and continue on with a very successful career.