The Tony Award-winning Broadway icon recently sat down with Jesse Tyler Ferguson for a new episode of his Dinner’s On Me podcast, and reflected on what happened that led to their relationship finally coming to an end in 2013.
“It’s very complicated,” Menzel explained, adding that they were “always very supportive of each other always…. [but] the thing that came into play more — and he’s talked about it too — is the interracial aspect of it.”
The pair first met in 1995, during the Broadway production of Rent in which they co-starred. They sparked a romance shortly after, and wound up tying the knot in 2003. The couple welcomed their son, Walker, in September 2009, and wound up splitting in 2013.
According to Menzel, when their romance and circle of friends were largely contained within the world of Broadway and show business, there was a lot of acceptance.
“When you’re in the theater, it’s just not a [problem], like, we all love each other and sleep with each other and [are] best friends with whoever wants to be,” Menzel said, explaining that the issues seemed to arise when Diggs’ film and TV career took off — but that it wasn’t just success that seemed to drive a wedge between them.
“He’s on the cover of Essence and Ebony and being interviewed by all these Black journalists and I think he had his own stuff to deal with that,” Menzel shared. “It seemed like there was disappointment in the community with him because he was married to [a] white, Jewish girl from some show we don’t even remember.”
“So, I took that on too,” she said. “That’s stuff that we had to deal with. It was less about being successful and more about that kind of stuff.”
Menzel said that when she got cast in her mainstream breakthrough role as Elphaba in Wicked, Diggs was “so supportive and probably relieved.”
“He didn’t have to feel like he was overshadowing me in some way or taking up too much space,” she said.
The couple’s divorce was finalized in 2015. ET spoke with Diggs that year, who got candid about their amiable co-parenting efforts.
“As people can imagine, it gets rough at times just because we’re not in the same city, but we still love each other and what’s most important is we love our son,” Diggs said. “That stabilizes us. I’m thankful for him.”