Steve Harvey’s Ex Accused Him of Kidnapping in $60m Lawsuit after Spending Time behind Bars

Steve Harvey once dated a woman who, since they split, has been very busy. She has been in jail, then in a courthouse accusing him of kidnapping — here are the details. 

Steve Harvey is a famous family man with a lot of influence within Hollywood. The talented funnyman has been with his current wife for so long; not many can recall who came immediately before and what stunts she pulled.

Her name is Mary Vaughn, and she was married to Harvey in the spotlight of his career; and the relationship lasted 16 years before ending in a bitter custody battle and divorce in 2005.

Steve Harvey in a photo collage with his ex wife, Mary Vaughn. | Photo: Getty Images

She was Harvey’s second wife, but their split pitted them against each other, with Vaughn cooking up some nasty claims about him. Here are a few of them. 

Vaughn told the world about how Harvey was stepping out on her while they were together and that it felt like getting “shattered into pieces.” 

Why then did she not leave? It was because she simply couldn’t walk away from her losses, especially after how much of herself she had invested. 

Steve Harvey & wife Mary during “Rush Hour 2” Los Angeles Premiere at Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California on July 26, 2001. | Photo: Getty Images

Despite her faults, the woman seemed to have a genuine love for her family and had worked hard to build it into her support and foundation. 

Above all, the only child she shares with the famous comedian, Wynton, needed a family — it was something she’d never had, which is why she did not want him to grow up in a broken home. 

“Steve and I literally came from nothing,” she once said. “I had worked hard, I had given it my all up to that point to help make him successful.” As far as Vaughn was concerned, she deserved better, and so did her son. 

Steve Harvey and his ex wife Mary attend the 2004 Black Entertainment Awards held at the Kodak Theatre on June 29, 2004. | Photo: Getty Images

After the divorce, Vaughn was denied closure, but that did not hurt her as much as losing her son. How and why did that happen? According to the aggrieved woman, Harvey was able to somehow turn her child against her and also kick her out of their home. 

Her allegations quickly spread like a desert fire, but luckily Harvey had people standing up for him and calling Vaughn out on her lies. 

Steve Harvey and his ex wife Mary attend the Fourth Annual Rainbow/PUSH Coalition Awards Dinner December 11, 2001. | Photo: Getty Images

Vaughn’s former assistant, Jocelin, was among those who did. She described her former boss as “erratic,” and remembers what really transpired differently. She opened up saying:

“…She asked me to get a ticket and put [Wynton] on the plane to his father. I had to put him on the plane and not let [Steve’s] party know until 30 minutes before he landed.”

Steve Harvey and his ex wife Mary at the premiere of ‘The Score’ at the Paramount Theater in Los Angeles on July 9, 2001. | Photo: Getty Images

The matter eventually found its way to court, but instead of receiving the justice, she felt she desperately deserved, Vaughn was slammed by the judge for her false allegations. 

The judge noted that she had not been evicted from her home, nor was she ever homeless at any point because she was “awarded three homes in the property settlement.” She also received $40,000 per month through March 2009 and then an additional $1.5 million. 

Harvey’s legal team denied all the allegations and vowed to defend the TV personality.

Steve Harvey accompanies his ex wife Mary at the premiere screening of “The Original Kings Of Comedy” on August 10, 2000. | Photo: Getty Images

As far as her claim about Harvey taking her son from her is concerned, court documents revealed that Mary “willingly placed the child on an airplane and sent him to Mr. Harvey without his knowledge.” Here is how Vaughn responded to that: 

“People say, “move on with life, Mary” but how can you move on when you don’t have rights to your child? How to move on when nothing is fair?” 

Vaughn was banned from talking about the divorce, but in Her infinite stubbornness, the woman refused to adhere to the court order, and it led to her arrest. 

A judge found her guilty of contempt of court, so she was sentenced to thirty days in jail. When she broke her silence on the matter, she revealed that she merely wanted to tell her side of the story.  

About her showing up to court without an attorney, Vaughn said it happened because she could not afford one, whereas Harvey was in court with a legal team and an entourage — a fact she pointed out. 

Speaking about why she was angry, Vaughn said that she only felt that way because she was forced to miss six years of her son’s life that she couldn’t get back. She was later released on January 17.

After the stunt she pulled in 2013, Vaughn went silent before returning with another loaded lawsuit. Vaughn sued her former husband for $60 million.

She alleged that during their marriage, which lasted from 1996 until they split in 2005, she was supposedly subjected to “prolonged torture with the infliction of severe mental pain and suffering.” 

The documents also stated that Vaughn “attempted suicide by self-medicating [in] an effort to stop the pain.” 

Additionally, the woman allegedly endured “severe emotional distress” that led to medical conditions for her and her close family over the last one and a half decades.  

Vaughn’s suit, which civil rights activist Essie Berry filed, was defended by her, but Berry acted as her power of attorney.

Harvey’s legal team denied all the allegations and vowed to defend the TV personality from them by all means, and they did. It was a resounding defeat for Vaughn, who now seems to know better. 


Harvey and Vaughn had only one child together, Wynton Harvey, and he was born in July 1997. Before he started his relationship with Vaughn, Harvey was with a woman named Marcia Harvey, and they were married for 14 years.

Their union was blessed with three children; daughters Brandi and Karli and son Broderick. After his acrimonious split from Vaughn in 2005, the Family Feud host began his relationship with Marjorie Elaine Harvey, and they tied the knot in 2007.

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