Sherri Shepherd’s Intense Journey Through Two Grueling Custody Battles


The tangled webs of Hollywood divorces often unravel in complex legal battles, particularly when children are involved. Talk show host Sherri Shepherd found herself embroiled not in one but in two tumultuous custody disputes with her ex-husbands, each presenting its own set of challenges.

Her first marriage to Jeff Tarpley in 2001 resulted in the birth of their son Jeffrey in 2005. However, their union unraveled when Shepherd discovered Tarpley’s infidelity and his fathering a child with another woman. The divorce was finalized in 2010, but this was only the beginning of Shepherd’s journey through the tumultuous landscape of relationships.

Soon after her split from Tarpley, Shepherd crossed paths with TV writer Lamar Sally, through her friend Niecy Nash. Their whirlwind romance led to marriage in August 2011. However, their union crumbled nearly three years later. Shepherd’s divorce from Sally mirrored the drama of her first, entangling her in yet another intense child custody battle.


The legal disputes with her ex-husbands escalated, especially when Jeff Tarpley sought temporary physical custody of their son in an emergency hearing in April 2014. Allegations of inadequate care and neglect surfaced, pointing fingers at Shepherd’s busy work schedule and reliance on nannies. Despite the legal back-and-forth, Shepherd eventually secured full custody of Jeffrey, with Tarpley granted only visitation rights.

Simultaneously, Shepherd encountered a fresh legal storm with Lamar Sally. Their separation in 2014 coincided with shocking revelations as Sally revealed their surrogate pregnancy. Complicating matters, Shepherd was not the egg donor in the surrogacy process, leading to a contentious legal battle over parental rights and responsibilities. Despite Shepherd’s plea to relinquish parental rights, a Pennsylvania court ruled her as the child’s legal mother, mandating her to pay child support.

Following the court’s decision, Shepherd opted for a no-relationship stance with the child. She clarified her decision in an interview, expressing her willingness to provide financial support but choosing not to engage in maternal duties due to a belief that it would be better for the child’s well-being in a conflict-free environment.

Shepherd’s journey through multiple marriages, divorces, and intricate custody battles underscored the complexities and challenges faced when personal relationships unravel in the public eye, especially when children are caught in the crossfire.