Fans of actress Holly Robinson Peete and her husband, retired NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, have watched this star couple evolve and grow over the years. Now, 12 years into their marriage and four kids later, Holly and Rodney talk with Gayle about their very public personal life, including being parents of an autistic son and overcoming obstacles in their marriage.
Little was known about autism when the Peetes' first son, Rodney Jr., was diagnosed with the condition at age 3. After years of coping with her son's autism in private, Holly says it was a relief to finally go public in the summer of 2007 and share their story with others. "It has been the biggest blessing for us because we have been able to reach so many people, especially in the African-American community where people don't talk about it," she says.
Rodney says he was initially apprehensive to talk about his son's condition because he feared, in part, that his son and family might be labeled unfairly by the media. Today, he's proud to talk about his son's progress, and let other parents of autistic children—especially other dads—know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. "We've had so many successes over the last seven years that we needed to share with others," Rodney says.
Holly and Rodney also speak openly about the bumps they've encountered along the road as a married couple, admitting that they see a counselor about once a month—even when things are going smoothly. Holly credits her husband's willingness to confront problems head-on and discuss his emotions openly with saving and strengthening their marriage. "We are married today because Rodney P. agreed to go sit down and talk about his feelings, and that's the number one reason," she says.
Published on January 01, 2008