Former Toledoan faces life after celebrity marriageWritten by Philana Marie Boles | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A fairy tale has turned into a “nightmare” for native Toledoan Robin Goings as she struggles through a divorce from comedian Earthquake.
Before a sold-out audience at the Stranahan Theater in 2001, Earthquake beckoned actress/model Goings to the stage to ask for her hand in marriage. He invited Toledoans to celebrate with them, calling Toledo his “adopted home town.”
Now, Goings said she faces foreclosure on her Los Angeles home and is struggling as a single mother of two.
Fairy tale beginning
Earthquake, filming his second year of appearances on Chris Rock’s hit TV show, “Everybody Hates Chris,” has recorded an HBO special and provided a voice for the film “Barnyard.”
In an Aug. 23 phone interview, Earthquake, whose real name is Nathaniel Stroman, described the woman he proposed to that night.
“She was Toledo’s finest,” he said. “Robin was everything to me. She was all I wanted. She swept me off of my feet. [She was] the whole nine.”
Goings, a graduate of Rogers High School, was a Chére Amies debutante who left Toledo for Clark Atlanta University to study marketing and advertising, a path she said she hoped would lead to her eventual goal of Hollywood stardom.
While working as a waitress at a gentleman’s club in Atlanta in 1993, Goings met and briefly dated Earthquake, then an aspiring comedian. She said he was “the unassuming type, an easygoing guy who back then drove a Jetta.”
“He just had a kind heart,” she said during an Aug. 17 phone interview. “He was just so kind. His heart was golden.”
Eight years later, at a surprise 40th birthday party for Eddie Murphy, Goings and Earthquake picked up where they left off in Atlanta.
Earthquake’s career as a stand-up comedian was going well. Goings, having studied at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta, and with Mike Pointer and Aaron Speiser in Los Angeles, had made her own strides in Hollywood. She had made appearances in Donell Jones’ music video “Shorty,” Tag Team’s “Whoomp! (There It Is)” music video and a “Maha Yoga” infomercial for Guthy-Renker. Additionally, she had modeled as a centerfold for Ebony Man Magazine, gone on tour as a ring girl for boxing champion Tommy “Hitman” Hearns, and appeared in a promotional commercial for BET’s “Comic View.”
Nikki Finke, the “Deadline Hollywood” columnist for LA Weekly who writes about the infotainment industry, said their show business careers may have doomed their relationship from the start.
Though Finke said she doesn’t know anything about Goings’ marriage, she said in an Aug. 21 phone interview that acting is “the most selfish profession.” She said a union between two actors in Hollywood is doomed from the beginning.
“It’s a marriage made in hell,” she said.
Months after their engagement, the couple discovered they were expecting their first child (both have children from previous relationships) and eloped to Las Vegas.
While Goings adjusted to marriage in Hollywood with a new baby, postpartum depression and a thyroid problem triggered from childbirth, Earthquake was enjoying continued career success.
Goings said Earthquake’s rise left her feeling isolated.
“It was like I was trying to be a part of his world, but I was never going to fit in,” she said. “I didn’t even recognize him. I didn’t even know who I was anymore.”
Goings said her and Earthquake’s lives had been taken over by personal assistants, managers, publicists, both a touring and a stay-at-home nanny, a cook and hired security. She said this left her feeling “useless” to her husband and herself.
Finke said she was not surprised.
“What did she expect?” she said. “It’s really no different from being involved in a skiing accident and being paralysed from the waist down. Of course you’re going to be different, but over time things level out and you adjust to change.”
‘It was over’
In 2005, after an invitation from HBO to film his own special, Earthquake filed for divorce.
“I didn’t get married to get divorced,” Goings said, noting she was caught off guard when Earthquake banned her from attending the taping of his HBO special.
“The next thing I know, I’m at the gas station trying to get gas and couldn’t. I called American Express and they said that my husband had cancelled my account. It was over.”
Earthquake said he views Goings’ goals as the problem in their marriage.
“Robin just has this fascination with being a star,” he said, “and that’s great. I wish her the best, but I was looking for a wife.”
White House Properties confirmed Goings’ and Earthquake’s home in Tarzana, near Los Angeles, is on the market for $1.2 million. Earthquake said — in retrospect — he could not afford the house.
“We live down the street from Jamie Foxx,” he said. “I’m doing OK, but I can’t afford that. But I was willing to give Robin whatever. I have no problem with anyone who wants great things, but if you’re with me only because I’m able to provide that, then it becomes a problem.”
Earthquake said Goings, in divorce court papers, is requesting $20,000 a month support.
Despite the despair of a failed marriage and the reality of facing foreclosure on a house she cannot afford, Goings said she has returned to acting classes and is trying to step back onto the path she abandoned years ago, a feat now a great deal more difficult as a single mother of two.
Recently enrolled in real estate classes, Goings warns other women to hold fast to their ambitions when getting married, especially in Hollywood, because such goals “can easily be lost.”
Though he recently joked on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” about his newly adapted extreme views on marriage, Earthquake said he would marry again.
“But not without a prenup,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m perfect. Robin is cool. I wish her no bad. She’s a perfect mother. I guess we just had different definitions of what love is. It’s a fairy tale gone bad for me as well.”