Lisa Bonet and the Hypocrisy of Bill Cosby

lisa bonet

Lisa Bonet portrayed Denise Huxtable, America’s free-spirited middle sister, on The Cosby Show. For eight years! Popular and a bit of a wild card, Denise was beloved by the masses until Bonet’s untimely firing from the show. Reportedly, Bill Cosby himself was behind it, for reasons that certainly have not aged as well as Bonet has.

As her star began to rise over her career, Bonet accepted roles in films that stepped out of the bounds of her family-friendly sitcom world—particularly, the R-rated 1987 film, Angel Heart, which features a sex scene with Mickey Rourke. Right after this, she did a topless spread for Interview magazine. Between these moves to her career, her pregnancy during the run of Denise-centered spinoff, A Different World, and jumping between the spinoff and the original Cosby Show, Bonet was ultimately fired in 1991, followed up by the catch-all excuse: “creative differences.”

Earlier this year, Bonet spoke out about Cosby’s behavior on set of the show in light of the sexual assault allegations. In an interview with Net-A-Porter, she describes a “sinister, shadow energy that cannot be concealed” when she speaks about her former TV dad. She explains that if she had known anything for sure, she would have come forward: "If I had anything more to reveal then it would have happened a long time ago. That’s my nature. The truth will set you free.”

While Cosby put a serious dent in her TV career, other men have made significant impact on her personal life. Her parents split when she was very young, and her father dropped out of her life shortly after. She had a whirlwind romance and marriage to musician Lenny Kravitz that ended after six years and resulted in the birth of daughter Zoë Kravitz. then she began dating Jason Momoa in 2007, whom she married only last year. She now has three children between two marriages, which is plenty to juggle.

But she had found the secret to making it work. She tells Net-A-Porter that her Thanksgivings are happy affairs, and that Lenny and Jason are friends. She managed to find harmony after a rough blow to her career and a divorce soon after. She freely admits that her father’s absence affected her, as it would affect anyone, but she has filled the “gap” with so much love that it overflows. A blended family like hers is ideal for families with splits, but it doesn’t come without a lot of work, compromise, and love.

The course of Bonet’s life so far has been largely decided by men, but she does not let them define her. She has smoothed out fault lines between her husband and ex-husband to create a loving home. She has worked with charities and made a return to TV on Ray Donovan. Her life may have been dealt some pretty severe and pretty public blows, but by all accounts, she has navigated them with grace and surety, and, through the chaos, she has found peace.

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Kasey Smith

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Editor-in-Chief of Sommet Dame, Hofstra Class of '19, and CelebrityCafe's newest writer intern!