Camille Cosby was only 19 when she married comedian Bill Cosby, seven years her senior. Not only did she put her studies on hold for a while, but harassment and visits from the FBI also rocked the early years of their union. A look at their life and their marriage.
Born William Henry Cosby Jr. on July 12, 1937, Bill Cosby rose to fame as a comedian in the 1940s. The Philadelphia native appeared on variety shows such as “The Ed Sullivan Show” after the iconic actor Carl Reiner found out.
He played Alexander Scott as the first role in the movie “I Spy” (1965), which propelled him to the rank of star. His outstanding performance in this film has won him numerous Emmy Awards.
Bill Cosby arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse on June 13, 2017 in Morristown, Pennsylvania. | Photo: Getty Images
NOTABLE CHANGES AFTER CELEBRITY
Given his massive success, Oprah Winfrey wondered if his wife Camille felt overshadowed by the famous actor. During an interview, Camille told him that she never felt this way but added that her fame changed both of their lives. She said:
“Shortly after our marriage, her career was catapulted by [la série télévisée à succès des années 60] I Spy. All of a sudden we found ourselves in the spotlight, and I had so much to say, just like Bill. “
Bill also starred in the 1989 hit sitcom “The Bill Cosby Show”, where he played a teacher. Some of the blockbuster films he has directed include “Uptown Saturday Night”, “A Piece of Action” and “Let’s Do It Again”.
Bill Cosby and his wife, Camille, at the Emmy Awards in September 1965. | Photo: Getty Images
For her part, Camille pursued the university path. In 1992, the Washington DC native received a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts, and her doctoral dissertation was published by The University Press of America two years later.
“In addition, she oversaw financial matters and the family’s philanthropic activities.”
In addition to her university activities, Camille was also the commercial director of her husband and the president of two production companies: COC Productions and C&J Productions.
Bill Cosby and his wife Camille speak on stage at the Apollo Theater 75th Anniversary Gala on June 8, 2009 in New York City. | Photo: Getty Images
She produced Bill’s last two albums, released in 1987 and 1991, and co-directed his 1987 concert film, “Bill Cosby: 49.” In addition, she oversaw their financial affairs and philanthropic activities.
Bill and Camille have come a long way as a couple. She abandoned her studies at the age of 19 to marry the actor. During the first years of their marriage, they had to face serious difficulties.
When Richard Nixon became President of the United States, he put Bill on his enemy list, something the couple were unaware of at the time. They have been the victims of harassment, including the tapping of their phones.
Camille and Bill Cosby and their daughter Evin attend the pb & Caviar store launch on August 7, 2008 in New York City. | Photo: Getty Images
The FBI would come to their house and visit him at the studio. Camille explained that this harassment occurred after Bill rejected a few requests from Nixon.
Camille said that this situation, which took place at the beginning of their marriage, was difficult but also a political and sociological awareness for her and Bill.
She stayed with Bill throughout these trials. Concerned about her duties as a wife and mother, Camille only returned to school after having had five children.
Bill and Camille Cosby walk backstage at the 38th Annual NAACP Image Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on March 2, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images
She explained to Oprah that she decided to go back to school because she didn’t feel fulfilled educationally. Completing her studies helped her develop her self-esteem.
Camille obtained her master’s degree, then her doctorate. She says, “Education helped me get out of myself, get out of the house because I raised my children.”
Although she doesn’t think raising children is a bad thing, she considers it only part of her “femininity”. Besides, she wanted to pursue her other interests.
Bill Cosby performs live at Funny Or Die Clubhouse + Facebook Pop-Up HQ @ SXSW on March 10, 2014 in Austin, Texas. | Photo: Getty Images
THE CASE OF ASSAULT SE ****** OF BILL
Camille continued to be a devoted mother and wife, even as she looked after her interests. Years later, when several women accused Bill of assaulting himself, Camille came to his defense.
In 2014, more than a dozen women came forward, accusing the legendary artist of having sexually assaulted them decades ago. In a statement, Camille insisted that her husband was a “nice man”.
She also described him as generous, funny and a “wonderful husband, father and friend”. His statement defending Bill came as channels began to cancel plans with the actor in light of the accusations.
Among Bill’s accusers is model Janice Dickinson, who claims the revolutionary artist drugged and assaulted her in 1982. Another model, Beverly Johnson, also accused him of the drugged in the mid-1980s.
In 2018, Bill was convicted of three counts of indecent assault and assault and battery for drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee, in 2004.
Camille said she was “very, very happy” when, in 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to hear part of Bill’s appeal. She also criticized the #MeToo movement, saying it had to clean up.
Bill Cosby leaves the Montgomery County Courthouse on February 27, 2017 in Norristown, Pennsylvania. | Photo: Getty Images
She also stated that she communicates with her husband every day, although she did not visit him in prison, not wanting to see her husband “in this kind of environment.”
In June 2021, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the comedian should be released from prison, saying he was disenfranchised when he provided self-incriminating evidence in a civil lawsuit.
The verdict was handed down after Bill served two to three years in prison. Camille, who lived near the Pennsylvania jail where her husband was serving his sentence, was in the angels after that judgment.
Two weeks after the comedian’s release from prison, Camille was seen in New York without her wedding ring. It was the first time she had been pictured since the court ruling overturning Bill’s assault conviction.
While some believe that the couple’s marriage is in trouble because of the lack of a wedding ring on Camille’s finger, her dedication to him throughout his legal ordeal is undeniable.
Camille Cosby speaks on stage at the 35th anniversary of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, hosted by Bill Cosby, on March 3, 2008 in New York City. | Photo: Getty Images
Besides Bill’s legal battles, the couple also endured the painful loss of two children. In 2018, as the comedian was embroiled in assault lawsuits, the couple’s daughter Ensa, then 44, died of kidney disease.
In 1997, Bill and Camille also lost their son, Ennis, who was killed in an attempted robbery in Los Angeles. Ennis was 27 at the time of his death.