Have you been following the divorce drama going on between Chris Rock and his estranged wife, Malaak Compton-Rock? It all started to hit the press right before Thanksgiving last week, and it sounds bizarre.
Here’s my understanding of the situation. Chris and Malaak have two daughters, Zahra and Lola. Yet about seven years ago, Malaak brought an infant from South Africa to live with them who was named Ntombi. Ntombi was about six months old when Malaak brought her to the United States. She has been with them ever since and is now seven. Apparently Ntombi is here on a visitor’s visa, and every year Malaak and Ntombi return to South Africa, presumably to visit Ntombi’s birth family and qualify her for another visitor’s visa.
When Chris moved out and filed for divorce a year ago, he maintained a relationship with Zahra and Lola but not Ntombi. Now, as you can imagine, he does not want to pay child support for her, and Malaak does want financial support for her since she lived with the family for six years before Chris filed for divorce, even though neither Chris nor Malaak legally adopted Ntombi. She even goes to school in New Jersey.
TMZ reports that around the same time that Chris filed for divorce, South African officials opened an investigation into how and why Ntombi ended up in the US with Malaak and Chris. The timing of that is an interesting… coincidence. A private investigator who started interviewing Ntombi’s biological parents last year said that Ntombi’s biological father said that the girl was adopted by people in the US. Yet now her biological father is saying there was no adoption. Apparently they were in a desperate situation when Ntombi was born: both parents were unemployed and already had two children. There’s no word on whether or not money exchanged hands when Ntombi went to live with Malaak or afterwards.
Chris’s rep maintains that he has never adopted Ntombi and doesn’t know how she came to live with the family in New Jersey. Malaak’s attorney released the following statement:
The tabloid reports are false and outrageous. Malaak has never been contacted about an investigation of any sort. The welfare and livelihood of this child has always been of utmost importance to the entire Rock family. She is in the United States lawfully with the written consent of her biological parents, with whom she continues to have contact.
“While Malaak has made strides in the adoption, she understands that intercountry adoption is a long and rigorous process, with checks and balances in both countries essential for the protection of children. Malaak again appeals for the privacy of her family.”
Another source claimed:
Chris and Malaak have visited with Ntombi’s family multiple times in South Africa both before and after Ntombi came to the U.S. Chris and Malaak pursued legal guardianship for adoption of Ntombi for years. Now she is pursuing it on her own and she is confident it will be completed.”
How crazy is this? I mean, consider this: Chris is basically saying he has no idea how a child turned up in his home but said nothing until he decided to file for divorce six years later? There are pictures of him carrying Ntombi around! Who hired a private investigator to look into the matter? Why one earth would anyone bring a child into the country this way?
On one hand, I can understand Chris not wanting to pay extra child support. Yet it just seems odd to me that over the course of six years he developed no relationship with this child? It just seems… cold-blooded. What does Ntombi think when Zahra and Lola go visit with Chris, but she doesn’t? Surely she regards Chris as her father. It seems like he would have become at least somewhat attached to her as well.
And it seems crazy that Chris would try to imply Malaak has done something illegal. If she had broken the law, then wouldn’t he be an accomplice, since the child also lived with him for six years, and he didn’t say anything earlier? Why in the world would Malaak bring a child into the country like this? International adoptions occur every day: they don’t take this long and aren’t that complicated. Again, this whole situation just seems… bizarre. It should be noted that the family pictures in the gallery below were dated for 2008, so Ntombi isn’t in them: I don’t have the rights to any pictures of her, I’m afraid.
Photos by FAMEFLYNET