When The Cosby Show first aired on NBC in 1984, Tempestt Bledsoe (who played Vanessa Huxtable) was only ten years old. Over the years, her character was quite relatable to teenagers; talking on the phone too much, went through teenage heartbreak, and generally broke her parents’ rules such as wearing makeup before they allowed her to.
Yet, the end of The Cosby Show in 1992 didn’t signify the end of her career on television. She went on to appear in episodes of A Different World, The Tempesst Bledsoe talk show, episodes of BET’s The Parkers, ABC’s The Practice, and a host of other shows. She even competed in VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club for a season! On the premiere, she insisted, “I’m not concerned about pounds – I want to reduce my body-fat percentage to, say, 25 percent.” Bledsoe eventually lost 19 pounds.
Her personal life also seem to have flourished. She’s been happily unmarried for 19 years to live-in boyfriend, Darryl M. Bell, remembered as Ron Johnson, Jr. from A Different World.Both Chicago natives, Bledsoe and Bell began their courtship five years after meeting during Beldsoe’s guest appearance on A Different World in 1989. After Bell lost his father’s billions at the age of 24 years old, Bledsoe a graduate of New York University’s prestigious Stern School of Business helped him pick up the pieces and stabilize his finances. Although a private couple, the two emerged once more in the limelight for Fox’s 2009 reality show, Househusbands of Hollywood, which highlighted husbands of successful career women handling the household duties. Ultimately, this couple has stood by each other through adversity and continues to experience laughter and happiness.
When asked what keeps them together for so long, without marriage, Bledsoe replies, “I think we are very compatible. I think that is really the heart of it. People ask us what it is. I think a lot of couples find themselves together and find out that they are not really a good match. And laughter is also very important.”