What Led To Jennifer Hudson And David Otunga's Broken Engagement?

Jennifer Hudson's looks may have changed over the years, but she's still every inch a superstar. Audiences first fell in love with the singer-actress during her stint on Season 3 of "American Idol." Eliminated much earlier in the competition than many felt she deserved, Hudson went on to prove voters wrong with a successful recording career, numerous acting roles on stage and screen, and TV stardom (including a coaching gig on "The Voice" and her own popular daytime talk show, "The Jennifer Hudson Show"). For her efforts, she has become one of the few elite performers to claim the coveted EGOT honors: She has a Daytime Emmy, two Grammy Awards, an Oscar for "Dreamgirls," and a Tony Award for producing "A Strange Loop."

Hudson's romantic life has been less successful. Her most serious relationship to date was also the most disastrous. In 2007, a mutual friend introduced her to David Otunga, a lawyer, former pro wrestler, and actor who had just appeared on "I Love New York 2." Thus began a spark that quickly ignited, and Otunga proposed to Hudson on her September 2008 birthday, just a few months after they had met. Yet year after year passed without a wedding band added to the impressive diamond ring. The couple didn't wait to start a family; they welcomed their only child together, David Daniel Otunga Jr., nearly a year after the engagement. 

Then in 2017, Hudson and Otunga announced they were parting ways after a decade together. The split was surprising enough, but the circumstances were more shocking still.

Hudson and Otunga had a nasty custody battle

People magazine relayed the she-said, he-said details behind Jennifer Hudson's 2017 separation from David Otunga. Hudson's spokesperson declared that the couple had been planning the split for "a number of months," then added this stunner: "Today, Jennifer requested and received a protective order against her ex-fiancé. Jennifer's actions are solely taken in the best interest of their son." 

Per E! News, the protective order claimed Otunga had been menacing and threatening Hudson for some months prior to the separation, accusing her of cheating on him with one of her music producers. The two reportedly got into an argument in their home, during which Otunga forcefully pushed Hudson out of a bedroom while holding on to their son, David Jr. She also accused her ex of deliberately leaving a gun out in plain sight, knowing it would upset her. (Hudson's mother, brother, and nephew were shot and killed by her brother-in-law in 2008.)

Otunga's attorney countered with a separate statement explaining that the two were in the midst of a custody battle, and claiming Hudson filed the order as a ploy to sway the judge in her favor. "As a result of Mr. Otunga's career in the WWE, Ms. Hudson felt that she could give an award-winning performance in court to portray herself as the victim," the lawyer asserted. "Mr. Otunga has never abused or harassed Ms. Hudson or their son, and it is unfortunate, especially in today's climate, that she would feel the need to make these false allegations against him."

Hudson is in a happy relationship now

Whether justified or not, Jennifer Hudson dropped the protective order against ex David Otunga shortly after filing it, and the two reached a temporary agreement in which Otunga would be the primary caretaker of David Jr. because of Hudson's work schedule. Still, it was nearly two years before the former couple finally came to a permanent settlement regarding custody and child support for David Jr., now 15. According to E! News, the two have opted not to make the details public, but it appears to be satisfactory to Hudson, judging by the many appearances she has made with her son over the years. 

After a long dating drought following the split, Jennifer Hudson has made a love connection with Common, whom she's known for at least a decade. They've been spotted together on various occasions, becoming more and more visible over the past year. On January 22, 2024, the hip-hop artist appeared on "The Jennifer Hudson Show," bearing a huge bouquet of flowers (via YouTube). They talked about their "hometown Chicago pride" for a while before Hudson asked the question on everyone's mind: "Are you dating anyone?" Common confirmed he was in a relationship with "one of the most beautiful people I ever met." He added, "I set my standard kind of high, 'cause she had to have an EGOT [and] she had to have an Oscar [for] her first movie." 

The newly outed duo agreed their relationship was "a happy place," and Hudson's fans couldn't be more thrilled to hear that.