Eddie Murphy’s acting career may have taken the back seat in recent years. In fact, the Beverly Hills Cop star has appeared in just a handful of films since turning 50 in 2011. But it’s an entirely different story when it comes to his personal life; indeed, an announcement Murphy made suggests that he may have his hands full at home.
Born in the New York borough of Brooklyn in 1961, Murphy endured a difficult childhood. He lost his father aged just eight and was subsequently placed into foster care for a spell when his mother fell ill. The star later revealed that he used comedy to get him through the tough times, though, and by the age of 15 he was creating his own stand-up routines.
Heavily inspired by Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby, Murphy had established a reputation as one of America’s premier comics by his early 20s. Indeed, the likes of stand-up specials Delirious and Eddie Murphy Raw enjoyed huge success in the 1980s. But they were fiercely criticized for their alleged xenophobia and homophobia.
Alongside the work that he was doing in his stand-up career, Murphy also became a vital cast member of Saturday Night Live. In fact, the comedian was widely credited with helping save the once-flagging institution during his four-year stint there. Then, in 1982 he began his Hollywood career starring with Nick Nolte in cop comedy 48 Hrs.
A year later, Murphy appeared alongside another SNL graduate, Dan Aykroyd, in festive comedy Trading Places. But it was his first leading performance in 1984’s Beverly Hills Cop that launched the comedian to superstar status. He then went on to enjoy further box-office success in comedies The Golden Child and Coming to America as well as shining in a second outing as Axel Foley in smash hit Beverly Hills Cop II.
In 1989 Murphy then appeared with his hero Richard Pryor in Harlem Nights, and in the early ’90s he added to his list of hits with Another 48 Hrs. and Boomerang. The comic was then to prove that he has other strings to his bow, reinventing himself as a family-friendly favorite thanks to the likes of the Dr. Dolittle and Nutty Professor films. Plus, he enjoyed one of his biggest successes as the voice of Donkey in the animated franchise Shrek.
However, in the 2000s Murphy struggled to achieve the same level of success with his more adult-oriented fare. I Spy, Showtime and Holy Man all flopped at the box office, while The Adventures of Pluto Nash became one of the biggest failures of all time. Meanwhile, the actor was later slated for his multiple roles in Norbit.
And although around this time Murphy did pick up a number of awards – including a Golden Globe for his performance as James “Thunder” Early in Dreamgirls – he also received three Razzie nods in four years thanks to his roles in Meet Dave, Imagine That and A Thousand Words. And following the latter’s release in 2012, the star took a four-year hiatus from the big screen before returning in the drama Mr. Church.
Yet Murphy has also proven that his talents straddle multiple areas of the entertainment industry. As well as being a successful stand-up and Hollywood actor, the star has pursued a third career as a singer. He reached number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1985 with “Party All the Time” and has also released three studio albums: How Could It Be, So Happy and Love’s Alright. The latter, in fact, featured a guest appearance from none other than the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
Meanwhile, Murphy’s private affairs have been just as eventful as his life in the public eye. In 1997, for example, he was pulled over by police officers after they witnessed him picking up Shalimar Seiuli, a transgender prostitute. That said, although Seiuli was apprehended at the time for an outstanding warrant, Murphy was let go after insisting that he was only offering his passenger a ride.
The Hollywood star has also become renowned for having numerous children to different mothers. Murphy first became a father in 1989, when his then-girlfriend, Paulette McNeely, gave birth to son Eric. Then a year later he had another child, Christian, this time with partner Tamara Hood. And in 1993, following another separation, the comic then married fashion model Nicole Mitchell.
Murphy and Mitchell welcomed five children into the world: sons Myles and Shayne and daughters Bria, Zola and Bella. However, sadly the couple divorced in 2006 – but there was more to come from Murphy. That same year he briefly dated ex-Spice Girl Mel B, who ultimately claimed that she’d fallen pregnant with the star’s child. And while Murphy initially waved off any paternity claims, a DNA test would later show that Angel Iris – coincidentally born in 2007 on his 46th birthday – was, in fact, his daughter.
Murphy then very nearly married Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds’ ex-wife Tracey Edmonds in 2008, although he later went on to date TV personality Rocsi Diaz. Then, in 2012, he began stepping out with Australian actress and model Paige Butcher. And four years later she gave birth to Murphy’s ninth child, Izzy. But even that didn’t signal a cap on the size of the star’s ever-growing brood.
In August 2018 Hello! magazine disclosed that Murphy and Butcher were having a second child together. In fact, speculation about a possible pregnancy had mounted ever since the model was pictured in Los Angeles with an apparent baby bump. And in an official statement, the pair revealed that Izzy’s little sibling is due in December 2018.
Meanwhile, in 2016 the Shrek star told People magazine about how proud he was of each of his children. He said, “I really got lucky with my kids. There really isn’t a bad one in the bunch; every one turned out to be really good people.”
Murphy then added, “None of my kids are like me, and I’m sure parents say this all of the time, [but] they are all totally different from each other. None of them are chips off the old block. They all have their own thing. They’re good kids.”
In August 2018 Murphy also joked with Entertainment Tonight about whether any of his kids were showing signs of ageing. He said, “None of my children are gray and balding. It’s just pretty natural. It’s a natural thing. My world revolves around [my children] – even the old, gray, bald ones.”
Yet despite such openness from Murphy about his kids, he and Butcher have kept pretty quiet about their relationship since they got together in 2012. Butcher even removed herself from social media in a bid to keep her privacy. As she told Vanity Fair in 2013, “I’m in a relationship with a celebrity, so I feel like there’s already enough of me out there. I felt like I was giving out too much information.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, relatively little is known about Butcher herself. What we do know, though, is that she was born in the Australian city of Perth in 1979 and has been both a model and an actress. On screen, the Australian has made minor appearances in Big Momma’s House 2 and Something’s Gotta Give. And it was on the set of the former that Butcher and Murphy reportedly first met.
Murphy, meanwhile, will return to screens shortly after the birth of his tenth child. Specifically, he plays Rudy Ray Moore, the real-life comedian renowned for his risqué stand-up routines, in Dolemite Is My Name. Scheduled for release in 2019, the film is named after Moore’s most famous comic persona, which he adopted while fronting several 1970s blaxploitation movies.