How Steve Harvey's Ex-Wife Mary Lee Was Impacted By Their Split

Talk show host and actor Steve Harvey has been vocal about how his messy divorce cost him $30 million and nearly left him penniless. However, the split also significantly impacted his now ex-wife, Mary Lee. Steve Harvey and Mary Lee were married in 1996 and were together for nine years until 2005. While the divorce financially impacted Steve, the messy scenario destroyed Lee's reputation and more. Even though a gag order had been part of the divorce, Lee didn't let up on speaking to the public about Steve. The media battles didn't end either; rather, they seemed to increase, and most of it came in the form of allegations from Lee. 

Steve and Lee's battles came to a peak in January 2011, six years after their divorce. Mary Lee uploaded a series of YouTube videos with new accusations against him and his third wife, Marjorie Harvey. She alleged mistreatment during the divorce and that Harvey had an affair with Marjorie while still married to her. Lee also accused him of alienating her from their son, Wynton Harvey. She further claimed that she was destitute and homeless due to unfair financial settlements. In response, Steve took the battle to court. 

Mary Lee spent a month in jail

In February 2011, Steve Harvey and Mary Lee met in court. But in an unexpected twist, the judge found that Mary Lee's claims were lies. The comedian presented evidence that he had paid his ex-wife $40,000 monthly until 2009, at which point he paid $1.5 million. He had also given her three houses, disproving claims of financial maltreatment. Steve additionally proved that she had damaged her relationship with their son, Wynton Harvey, by sending him to Steve without prior arrangements. In response, the judge warned Mary Lee about making any further comments and ordered her to take the YouTube videos down. 

He also temporarily lifted the gag order so Steve could set the record straight, which understandably worsened the public's perception of Mary Lee. Lee was soon labeled bitter and scorned, with many believing that she'd chosen to make herself the victim. But Steve Harvey was far from done. He further sued Mary Lee for defamation and breaking the 2005 gag order. TMZ also reported that the comedian sent his ex-wife a Valentine's Day package on February 17, 2011. The box contained chocolates, a card, and a notice summoning her to court in March. Steve Harvey and Mary Lee appeared before the judge in March 2011 for the talk show host's defamation suit. The case was drawn out for two more years, but in 2013, Mary Lee was found guilty and sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Mary Lee lost a $60 million lawsuit in 2018

During her month-long stay in Collin County jail, Mary Lee continued to be vocal about the perceived injustice against her. She highlighted her inability to afford a lawyer for her court case, contrasting with Steve's legal team. In an exclusive interview with FOX 4, she expressed her frustration with being summoned to the McKinney courthouse every time she spoke out. She also added that she wouldn't be silenced. In 2018, Mary Lee re-emerged in the media spotlight with a $60 million lawsuit against Steve Harvey. The suit focused on her mental and emotional distress resulting from their divorce. She also accused Steve Harvey of child endangerment, torture, and "soul murder." 

According to E!, Lee's lawsuit described "soul murder" as being executed through a combination of torture, deprivation, and brainwashing. Additionally, she revealed her struggles with depression and reliance on medication following the divorce. Mary Lee further claimed that Steve still owed her $50 million — more than the talk show host had after their divorce. However, her lawsuit was eventually dismissed, and there has been little news from Lee since then. Some observers saw this dismissal as a form of karma, considering the long-standing speculations that Lee had an extramarital affair with Steve Harvey during his marriage to his first wife, Marcia Harvey. This affair is thought to be the reason Marcia and Steve Harvey divorced.