How Kendra Wilkinson’s Fairy-Tale Romance Fell Apart

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She was done with veiled innuendos. Just a week earlier, Kendra Wilkinson culled together an Instagram story that painted the picture of a woman in crisis. Over a series of selfies, the normally light-hearted reality star typed out captions that could only be perceived as a cry for help. “Pray for Kdub lmao. Life isn’t making any sense to me right now. Sorry I’ve been MIA,” she wrote on one. “Sometimes a hug is all I need but I guess I’m covered in thorns,” she captioned another. But when the Kendra on Top star took to Instagram April 2, her message was straightforward—and equally as sad. “10 years. I did everything I could,” she choked out in reference to her decade-long romance with husband Hank Baskett. As tears ran down her face, she continued with her impromptu split announcement. “It wasn’t good enough,” she surmised. “I will always love him. My heart will always remain open for him. I believed in forever I really did. Guess it’s just not meant to be.”

Now she’s choosing to believe in herself. After what one insider calls “years” of struggles in her marriage to the former pro football player, the 32-year-old reality star is ready for a clean break. For the sake of their kids, Hank IV, 8, and Alijah, 3, “She wants things to be very amicable and graceful,” a source tells E! News, “but also wants things to happen very quickly.”

After all this was a decision some four years in the making. The source tells E! News that Wilkinson simply couldn’t move Baskett’s 2014 sex scandal—a bizarre encounter during which he claims a transgender model fondled him through his basketball shorts. “Ultimately all trust was lost,” explains the source. “Their relationship could not be repaired and Kendra made the decision that filing for divorce would be the only solution.”

While it would be easy to pin all of the pair’s issues on Baskett’s indiscretion, insiders says they had a litany of problems. For awhile, 35-year-old Baskett thought giving his wife space would have an absence makes the heart grow fonder affect. So when she asked to uproot to Las Vegas and star in the six-day-a-week comedy Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Guy, Baskett gave his blessing. “He thought letting Kendra do the Las Vegas gig would make her happy and help her realize how much she misses her kids and her family,” an insider tells E! News, “but ultimately it drew them further apart.”

Even after she completed her 8-month run in January and returned to their 6,700-square-foot Mediterranean spread in Calabasas, California, they were at odds. With the fate of their WEtv show, Kendra on Top in limbo—season six wrapped last year—Wilkinson has been mulling over new projects, says the insider, “and she and Hank just aren’t seeing eye-to-eye on her next move.”

Or anything, really. Noting the parents of two have been having problems “for years,” a third insider says even therapy hasn’t been enough to solve their problems. “Her and Hank have been having many arguments lately and they haven’t been able to compromise on their disagreements,” the insider tells E! News. Ultimately, says the friend, Wilkinson feels splitting up “is the only solution. She wants her kids to be in a happier environment.”

When Wilkinson first met then-Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Baskett in March 2008, she couldn’t have envisioned a happier ending. Still living in the Playboy Mansion as one of Hugh Hefner’s three main gals—and The Girls Next Door‘s resident comedian—Wilkinson crossed paths with the shy, 6-foot-4 athlete at the annual Playboy golf tournament and was instantly transfixed. “We met that day out on the golf course,” she reflected in a 2017 Instagram, “and knew he was mine.”

The following June she made it official, marrying her prince in a $20,000 duchesse-silk ball gown that covered her growing baby bump. To Grandma Mary Wilkinson the summer affair—on the grounds of the Playboy Mansion—was a “fairy-tale wedding.”

Reality set in for the newlyweds after they returned from their St. Lucia honeymoon and were forced to move 2,000 miles east to Indianapolis, where Baskett landed after he was cut by the Eagles. It was inside their new Carmel, Indiana home that the pair welcomed their first son, Hank IV on Dec. 10, 2009. But instead of feeling joyous, San Diego native Wilkinson just felt off. Unbeknownst to her, she was in the midst of a nearly two-year postpartum depression she attributed to a mix of uprooting to the Midwest, adjusting to life as a mom and allowing TV cameras—filming for the pair’s reality spinoff Kendra—to capture it all.

“I felt devastated, helpless—like I was in a black hole,” she recalled in her 2011 memoir, Being Kendra: Cribs, Cocktails and Getting My Sexy Back. At her lowest, she would hide in a closet to scream and cry, “I even thought of harming myself.”

Instead, she inadvertently damaged her marriage. Wilkinson admitted she’d often lash out at Baskett. And the former Playboy model—who’s proclaimed “sex makes everything better!”—even started sleeping in a separate bedroom. “There was no way I could talk about what I was feeling because I didn’t know what it was,” she admitted. “So we just had to stay apart.”

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