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Kendra Wilkinson and Hank Baskett officially split: A look at their ups and downs

Taryn Ryder
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Happier times: Hank Baskett and Kendra Wilkinson in May 2013. (Photo: Jerod Harris/WireImage)

After eight years of marriage, Kendra Wilkinson and Hank Baskett have announced their separation. On Friday, the former Girls Next Door star confirmed the news in an emotional Instagram post.

“I will forever love Hank and be open but for now we have chosen to go our own ways,” Wilkinson, 32, shared. “I’m beyond sad and heartbroken because i did believe in forever, that’s why i said yes but unfortunately too much fear has gotten in the way.” The reality star went on to say there’s “no hate” and that she and Baskett will continue to spend time together with their two children: son Hank Baskett IV, 8, and daughter Alijah Mary Baskett, 3.

According to TMZ, Wilkinson filed legal documents for a divorce Friday afternoon. She reportedly listed January 1, 2018 as the date of separation and cited the reason as irreconcilable differences.

It’s been a bumpy journey for the pair over their decade-long relationship. Take a look back at their ups and downs.

2008 to 2009

The pair had a whirlwind romance after meeting in March 2008. Wilkinson was ready to move on from being Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend and a member of E!’s Girls Next Door … even though she wanted to start the next chapter of her life at the Playboy Mansion. That’s where the couple tied the knot in the summer of 2009.

Months later they endured their first obstacle as Baskett, then a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles, was released. However, he quickly found a home in Indianapolis, signing with the Colts. Personally, things seemed to be going great, as the couple welcomed their first child together, son Hank IV, in December.

2010

Baskett’s NFL career took a tumble … or rather, fumble. He had a costly mistake in the 2010 Super Bowl, fumbling an onside kick that helped lead the Saints to victory over the Colts. Wilkinson was visibly upset following the game, leaving the stadium in tears. Baskett was released by Indianapolis, but the Eagles picked him up for the 2010-11 season, only to cut him (again) after two games. He was picked up by the Minnesota Vikings, but Wilkinson did not move there with him.

“It’s actually a blessing in disguise,” she explained on the Today show, clarifying they weren’t separated. “We get a chance to know each other all over again and communicate.”

Ultimately, Baskett’s football career ended in Minnesota when his option wasn’t picked up at the end of the season.

The couple was also hit with a personal scandal. Wilkinson’s sex tape with a former high school boyfriend was released, which she called the “hardest time of our lives.”

“It broke my heart because how can you do that when I have a baby?” she said on her solo E! show, Kendra. “I have a kid. I have a husband. It just sucks.”

She added, “It’s hard on [Hank] because it involves another guy, of course, and it’s hard on him because of our son and everything. … He’s like, ‘Kendra, we just have to hold our heads high because, yeah, we’re going to get attacked, but we can’t run. We have to hold hands and walk through this and face this fact.’ It’s going to be really hard. It’s going to probably be the hardest time of our lives.”

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, as a harder time was around the corner.

2011

In an interview with In Touch, Wilkinson revealed she suffered with postpartum depression after giving birth, which she believed was partly triggered by their move to Indiana.

“I felt devastated, helpless — like I was in a black hole,” she said. “I even thought of harming myself. I just threatened [suicide] a lot.” She also admitted it led to marital problems. “Hank deserved better than me,” she believed, adding, “Hank and I slept in separate bedrooms.”

“There were times when I knew I was about to snap. I’d be like, ‘Hank, go! Go away!’ I didn’t feel right. Hank would take the baby and leave the room,” she recalled, fearing their marriage was over. “I was just mean,” she exclaimed, saying she would blame Baskett for “their unstable home life,” threatening to leave him with Baby Hank if he didn’t find a steady job.

2014

In May, Wilkinson gave birth to their second child, daughter Alijah. However, their baby bliss didn’t last for long. Shortly after welcoming their little girl, the pair’s marriage was rocked by reports that Baskett had an affair with a transgender model while Wilkinson was eight months’ pregnant.

After discovering the headlines to be true, Wilkinson threw their wedding photos in the pool and flushed her wedding ring down the toilet. On an episode of her show Kendra on Top, she even admitted to suicidal thoughts.

“I was at a real low,” she told the camera. “I even questioned my life. If it wasn’t for breastfeeding Alijah, the bond I had with her, I feel like I would have probably ended my life. I felt like I’m not even supposed to be here.”

Wilkinson took her husband back in an attempt to save their marriage.

Kendra Wilkinson steps out without her wedding ring in October 2014. (Photo: D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra)

2015

A year after the allegation, Baskett acknowledged the incident, saying he made a mistake. “I messed up,” a teary-eyed Baskett told People in 2015. “And everything through me brought pain upon this family.”

Baskett claimed he was “fondled” through his basketball shorts against his will by the woman after putting himself “in a bad situation,” but that he didn’t participate in a sexual act. “I was this big former football player,” he told the magazine. “I was the alpha male. I could do anything to protect my family, but I couldn’t protect myself.”

Wilkinson added, “Hank was very naive and gullible. He thinks everybody is his friend. That led him to the hell that we’ve lived. … I don’t say the word ‘cheat.’ I can say he was not loyal to me. I don’t care about the act. I care about how he reacted to it and how I was told by the media what happened. That scarred me.”

In the same sit-down, Baskett told People he was depressed after his NFL career ended. “The stress and depression was eating away at me,” he exclaimed, saying one of his lowest points came near the end of 2013. “I fell into what happens to a lot of professional athletes who change careers. It hit me, and it hit hard. … My biggest insecurity was looking like a failure. I made it to the NFL, I was a smart kid, I was the A student.”

“I was pregnant during his most depressing time in his life,” Wilkinson added. “Anytime he said, ‘Kendra, I’m not feeling too good,’ I would say, ‘Shut up, I’m pregnant!’ I never gave him the opportunity to come to me with his feelings. … Before football, he was alive. After, he’d walk around in a daze. I’d be like, ‘This is not the same guy I knew.’”

It was when he was trying to buy weed that Baskett claimed the incident with the transgender model occurred. “I put myself in a bad situation,” Baskett says, “whether I was battling depression or not.”

The pair documented their relationship struggles on the third season of the reality show Kendra on Top, as well as on Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars.

Hank Baskett and Kendra Wilkinson arrive at the WE TV celebration of the premieres of Kendra on Top and Driven to Love in March 2016. (Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

2017

All is forgiven?

In March, the pair publicly celebrated the anniversary of when they first met with sweet Instagram posts. (Wilkinson’s has since been deleted.) “9 years ago I met the person who would take me all the way to the top and hold me there even during the weakest times. We met that day out on the golf course and knew he was mine,” she wrote alongside a photo of the two. “Even with little bumps in the road, nothing or nobody can be greater or make me feel more successful than [Hank]. Imperfection is where great change and growth happens with us. We are true best friends who f*** good, fight good, golf good, BBQ and drink beer good… Thank you for being there on the golf course that day and being that shy guy. Thank u for my happiness and our children… here’s to eternity.”

Baskett posted a similar photo — which has also been deleted — writing, “In life you’re told to go with your gut. Well, 9 years ago I did just that… Instead of just a day of golf I found a lifetime of love! Things happen for a reason and I’m eternally grateful they did that day! I love you bayba!!”

2018

While they looked like a happy family on social media, Wilkinson revealed things weren’t rosy behind closed doors. In February, she took to Instagram to address a tabloid report that claimed they were faking marriage problems for TV. The since-deleted post read:

“1. How do u fake marital problems? Makes absolutely no sense. 2. Yes we are having issues. 3. My job has been reality TV for 13 years 4. My show was a comedy and light hearted til sad times happened then we had to change my show from comedy to drama. Not what I wanted but was a part of my journey and story. 5. These issues Hank n I are having in our home which we are trying to hard to over come, everyone knows about, including producers and network, friends and family. 6. My job is reality TV and I love my job unfortunately these issues at home are affecting my decisions cuz the last thing I want to do is hurt Hank 7. I hope to get back to the fun Kendra you all know. That’s all I want n aim for. I hate drama!”

Kendra breaks down on Instagram. (Photo: Kendra Wilkinson via Instagram)

Things didn’t turn around in March when Wilkinson shared emotional Instagram Stories about her fragile state. Multiple reports soon surfaced that she was preparing to finally pull the plug on their nearly nine-year marriage.

“They’ve been having a really tough time especially over the last three to six months,” a source close to the Girls Next Door alum revealed to People. “She’s always been someone who wanted to be fully committed, married forever, and was definitely an ‘I’ll never get a divorce’ kind of girl, but she really lost trust in her marriage and she’s realized there’s no turning back.”

On April 6, Wilkinson confirmed their marriage was over, but that there is no ill will.

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