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Rev Al Sharpton files for divorce from estranged wife of 17 years


The Rev. Al Sharpton has filed for divorce from his wife Kathy 17 years after they separated. 

The 66-year-old civil rights activist and Baptist minister submitted the paperwork on Thursday. They have lived apart since 2004. 

The pair met in the 1970s when he was touring with James Brown and she was a back-up singer. 

The Rev. Al Sharpton and his wife, Kathy, leave the Canaan Baptist Church after renewing their marriage vows, Sunday, August 26, 2001, in New York. They separated in 2004 and Rev Sharpton filed for divorce on February 11, 2021

Rev Al Sharpton and girlfriend Aisha McShaw, 23-years his junior, pictured in 2013 at Kedar Massenburg's 50th Birthday Celebration at Water Fall Mansion in New York City. The filing for divorce has sparked rumors they may be about to wed

Rev Al Sharpton and girlfriend Aisha McShaw, 23-years his junior, pictured in 2013 at Kedar Massenburg’s 50th Birthday Celebration at Water Fall Mansion in New York City. The filing for divorce has sparked rumors they may be about to wed

(left to right) Reverend Al Sharpton, daughter Dominique Sharpton, Rachel Noerdlinger, daughter Ashley Sharpton, Tamika Mallory and estranged wife Kathy Jordan attend the Sharpton Entertainment Official Launch Event at Parlor on January 23, 2013 in New York City. The year he was first pictured with girlfriend Aisha McShaw

(left to right) Reverend Al Sharpton, daughter Dominique Sharpton, Rachel Noerdlinger, daughter Ashley Sharpton, Tamika Mallory and estranged wife Kathy Jordan attend the Sharpton Entertainment Official Launch Event at Parlor on January 23, 2013 in New York City. The year he was first pictured with girlfriend Aisha McShaw

They married in 1980 and were together for 24 years before their split. Sharpton and Jordan share two daughters Ashley, and Dominique, who married Dr. Marcus Bright in 2017. 

Since 2013, Rev Sharpton, the founder of The National Action Network, has been linked to Aisha McShaw, 42, who is 23-years his junior. 

They were first pictured together in July 2013 at the New York County Democratic Committee Award Ceremony when McShaw told those gathered she was his ‘girlfriend’. 

At the time The New York Daily News reported that she had a then teenage daughter, Laila, from a previous relationship. 

After Sharpton received criticism for the relationship because he was still married, albeit separated for 9 years, he reportedly told his aide Rachel Noerdlinger: ‘Rachel, I’m not announcing an engagement or a marriage. Don’t I have a right to date when my marriage has been over for a decade?’ 

At the time McShaw told reporters she was a ‘stylist’, though her LinkedIn page described her as a personal banker at Wells Fargo. 

On McShaw’s website, where she now sells custom designer clothes, she said she ‘began her fashion journey as a stylist, styling housewives, corporate women, celebrities, and attending numerous red carpet events herself.’

She claims she is ‘influenced by old Hollywood glamour.’ 

The now 42-year-old debuted at New York Fashion week in 2017 where she showed off her made-to-order collections.

She said in a comment posted on her website in 2018 that ‘every woman wants to feel beautiful, confident and empowered’.

The divorce filing, reported by TMZ, has sparked rumors that he may be preparing to wed McShaw. 

He reportedly filed for a contested divorce in Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday, court records show. 

Rev Sharpton and Aisha McShaw (far right) were pictured at Aretha Franklin's 73rd birthday (center) in New York in 2015

Rev Sharpton and Aisha McShaw (far right) were pictured at Aretha Franklin’s 73rd birthday (center) in New York in 2015

Aisha McShaw and Reverend Al Sharpton attend the Sharpton Entertainment Official Launch Event at Parlor on January 23, 2013 in New York City

Al Sharpton and Aisha McShaw attend Rev. Al Sharpton's Private Birthday Celebration at The Grand Havana Room on October 4, 2013

Aisha McShaw and Reverend Al Sharpton are pictured together left and right in 2013

In 2014 McShaw attended multiple White House events, including an official state dinner when the Obama administration hosted French President Francois Hollande, and The White House Correspondents dinner in 2014, 2015 and 2016. 

In 2015 she was photographed with Aretha Franklin at her 73rd birthday at New York’s Ritz Carlton hotel. 

Sharpton, who has been outspoken during the Black Lives Matter movement and following the death of George Floyd last year, has frequently been seen with Aisha McShaw at his East 65th Street condo.   

Last year it was claimed that Rev. Sharpton’s nonprofit civil rights charity, the National Action Network, paid more than $80,000 to the preacher’s relatives in 2019, according to tax records obtained by The New York Post. 

Receiving the bulk of the family-friendly funds was Sharpton’s 34-year-old daughter Ashley Sharpton, who was paid $63,250 for social media and consulting work for NAN, according to a 2019 tax filing.

The reverend’s niece Nikki Sharpton, 46, also got some love from the organization, raking in $13,750 for special event work at NAN’s Atlanta location.

As the president of NAN, Sharpton was paid $327,570 in 2019, according to the tax filing.    

The Rev. Al Sharpton and champion boxer Muhammad Ali, pictured in an undated photo, help kick off seminar to "KO Crack" in a coordinated effort between the sports and entertainment industries

The Rev. Al Sharpton and champion boxer Muhammad Ali, pictured in an undated photo, help kick off seminar to “KO Crack” in a coordinated effort between the sports and entertainment industries

The Post also pointed out that Sharpton’s eldest daughter Dominique Sharpton, 34, was not listed as receiving any compensation even though she’s been the membership director for NAN since 2008.

Sharpton founded NAN in New York City in 1991. It bills itself as an ‘activist social justice organization that works within the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr to provide a modern civil rights and human rights agenda’.

NAN’s tax record sparked controversy in 2018 when a filing revealed that Sharpton had sold the rights to his life story to the organization for an eye-popping $531,000.

Rev. Al Sharpton biography

Rev Al Sharpton pictured in 1987 at a Tina Turner concert

Rev Al Sharpton pictured in 1987 at a Tina Turner concert

Rev. Sharpton was born Alfred Charles Sharpton Jr. on October 3, 1954, in Brooklyn, New York, to Ada (née Richards) and Alfred Charles Sharpton Sr.

The future Baptist minister allegedly preached his first sermon aged four, becoming an ordained minister aged 10 and reportedly once toured with Mahalia Jackson, the famed gospel singer.  

In the late 1960s, he became active in the civil rights movement, joining the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

 In 1969, Sharpton was appointed by Jesse Jackson to serve as youth director of the New York City branch of Operation Breadbasket, a group that focused on the promotion of new and better jobs for African Americans.  

In 1971, he established the National Youth Movement, to fundraise for impoverished youth. 

From 1973-1980 Sharpton was the tour manager for singer James Brown, where he met his future wife, Kathy Jordan, who was a back-up singer. 

Sharpton said of Brown: ‘He became like a father I never had.’ 

In 1980 he and Kathy Jordan married and had two daughters, Ashley and Dominique. 

During the 1980s, Sharpton got involved in many high-profile cases in the New York City area that affected the African American community and led several protests against what he believed were injustices and incidents of racial discrimination. 

The most controversial was that of Tawana Brawley, a 15-year-old girl who said she had been abducted and raped by white men.

Sharpton made comments and was successfully sued by Steven Pagones, one of the white men accused of raping Brawley, for defamation.  

On January 12, 1991, Sharpton escaped an assassination attempt when he was stabbed in the chest in a Brooklyn schoolyard by Michael Riccardi while Sharpton was preparing to lead a protest.

Sharpton survived and successfully sued New York for $200,000 saying that police failed to protect him.  

In 2001 he renewed his vows with wife Kathy Jordan but the pair separated in 2004, the year he stood as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President.  

In 2009 the Federal Election Commission announced it had levied a fine of $285,000 against him for breaking campaign finance rules in 2004. 

In 2011, he was named the host of MSNBC’s PoliticsNation, a nightly talk show.

In 2015, the program was shifted to Sunday mornings.

Rev Sharpton has been outspoken during the rising Black Lives Matter movement, taking part in protests and speeches following the deaths of Trayvon Martin in 2012, Eric Garner in 2014, and George Floyd in 2020, amongst many others. 

 



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