Destiny Payton-Williams is shining bright this season of Love & Marriage: Huntsville. When she was first introduced on the show, she was a newlywed and mother-to-be who was ushered in as a friend to Martell and Melody Holt. The Michigan native opened up to viewers early on about her journey to motherhood, which unfortunately included multiple miscarriages.
Flash forward to this season and, Payton-Williams is a beaming mommy to her 1-year-old son, Law. As for why she shared her painful journey with viewers on such a public platform, Payton-Williams says it was all about showcasing how one’s own destiny can come full circle.
“When I found out that I was pregnant with my son Law, God told me that this baby is strong and he is coming,” she reflects in a recent interview with Shadow and Act. “That’s why I was more confident in knowing that I was good...I shared that because I remember my fifth miscarriage, me just breaking down and crying, like ‘Why am I failing at this? This is the one thing in my life that is most important to me and I am failing…’ In the midst of telling my story, a lot of people experienced it and it’s very common...I wanted to motivate women and let them know that they can keep pushing, keep trying, and keep going.”
More has changed for her as she’s no longer married. Unlike sharing her motherhood journey on the show, out of respect for her son, she chose not to air out her marital drama on the OWN reality series. The beauty store owner shocked fans when she revealed to her close friend Melody Holt that her divorce was finalized.
Rumors spread for the past season that she and her former longtime love La’Berrick Williams were no longer together. He stopped appearing on the show and family photos of the two were absent from Payton-Williams’ social media.
On the show, viewers witnessed some of their problems, including LeBerrick being upset that his bride preferred to hyphenate her last name. They also mentioned they were in counseling. She says several things led up to their brief marriage, including a global pandemic and her feeling alone in parenting at times. The couple were married for about two years but had a lengthy dating relationship. Ultimately, Payton-Williams says they split because their foundation wasn’t intact.
“You have to have God as the center and you have to definitely have that person be your counsel - [that means] no family members, mothers-in-law...all that stuff can play a big role when they involve themselves and that can be very detrimental to relationships and a marriage,” she explains. “Outside of COVID and the pandemic, having an early pregnancy [delivery], being on bedrest...everything played a part.”
After working with a village of counselors, including a pastor and life coach, Payton-Williams has been able to come out with a smile. In one scene, she said on the day of signing her divorce papers, “the sun shined brighter.”
“That means it was hell before [the divorce],” she laughs. “I walked in that office with my son in his carrier and signed the papers and literally when I walked out, the sun was so bright and beautiful and I heard birds chirping. It was a weight lifted off of me.”
And she has a lot to smile about. Payton-Williams took her background in international business, marketing, and sales and transferred them into her own business. She is the owner of MaDonni Beauty, the first Black-owned beauty supply store and salon suites in Alabama. Unaware that she was making history, she did so out of necessity after she says she was racially profiled in a local beauty supply store.
“I was searched by an armed cop and told myself I was never going back to the store again,” she says of the experience. “I said, ‘Let me stop shopping at Neiman’s and open my own businesses.”
The company is currently under a revamp due to hiccups amid the pandemic, but Payton-Williams is prepping a Boss Beauty tour to help others learn about the billion-dollar industry and simultaneously grow their businesses. The tour will include seven stops in major cities to start.
Viewers have loved Payton-Williams for her ability to steer clear of the drama, which includes staying neutral in the Holts' marriage and divorce drama, which she admits is challenging at times. But this season, there’s a newbie who threatens to bring her out of her zen.
Tiffany Whitlow attends Payton-Williams’ birthday brunch and drops the ball that she met her on the arm of Le’Berrick a day after allegedly seeing Le’Berrick with another woman. Payton-Williams says the moment was messy.
“I’ve been working on the power of pause and I got up from the table because I really needed to get away from her in that moment,” she insists. “She was the one that was extra. It was a real extra moment.
She says viewers have to tune in to see how the rest of the season plays out and how she handles Whitlow moving forward. Overall, Payton-Williams is hopeful that viewers get to see the real her.
Catch Payton-Williams on Love & Marriage: Huntsville every Saturday at 9 p.m .EST on OWN.
Check out the full interview where Payton-Williams talks about her friendships with the cast, remaining neutral with the Holt’s, and what viewers can expect for the remainder of the season: