82ºF

Why Kenya Moore Is 'Optimistic' About Saving Her Marriage to Marc Daly (Exclusive)

photo

Kenya Moore has big plans for her 49th year.

"So, if I had a vision board, I would say, successful marriage, lots of love… [my daughter] Brooklyn, healthy, happy, thriving," the Real Housewives of Atlanta star tells ET. "I would say expanding businesses and fun."

It's that "successful marriage" hope that stands out from Kenya’s list, as she is currently separated from her husband of more than two years, Marc Daly. The pair announced they were going their separate ways in September, just days after appearing together on The Tamron Hall Show, looking like the picture of a happy family, alongside their daughter, Brooklyn. Now, Kenya reveals that the decision to take time apart was not her choice.

"We had a fight and, instead of giving that time to breathe and figure things out after that, you know, a decision was made," she confesses. "Independent of me."

Kenya did not share what exactly she and Marc fought about, so it's unclear just how big of a blowup it was. The news of their split came as a blow to Kenya's fans, who have watched the star chase love and happiness for as long as she's shared her life on reality TV. She finally had her fairy tale, only for it to take a not-so-happy turn.

"I really appreciate the people that are following my journey, and the viewers and the fans, they have all been rooting for me, and it broke my heart and it broke their heart when that announcement was made," she adds. "[Housewives] hadn't started [airing], they didn't know about the struggles we were having."

Kenya married Marc between season nine and 10 of RHOA, and kept him largely off-camera. Then, she walked away from the show for a season -- the year she gave birth to Brooklyn, a blessing that she says completely changed her marriage, for better or worse.

"Once the baby came, things just, you know -- the stress of life made our relationship deteriorate, and we couldn’t find our way back to it," she admits. "But all in all, I still think that a rash decision was made."

"Where I am right now, and how I have been coping with it is, just being the strong person that I know to be," she continues. "I sort of compartmentalize things in my life, and I don’t let anything destroy me. I have the most amazing daughter anyone can ask for. Every day is a joy to me. Yes, my marriage is falling apart, but look at this beautiful daughter that I have! Her smile, energy, love that she gives me? I cannot be happier."

Kenya and Marc's marital struggles will play out in the second half of The Real Housewives of Atlanta's current season, something Kenya says will be difficult to watch back. For now, she's focusing on where things stand with Marc today.

"We are still apart, but we are better friends now than we have been in a very long time," Kenya shares. "We're co-parenting great. We are going to be going to counseling soon. So, I'm optimistic."

Kenya and Marc currently live in different cities. Marc, a restauranteur, is in New York City, while Kenya resides in Atlanta. Before the separation, they split their time between the two cities. Should they reconcile, Kenya says they'll have to pick just one city to live in together as a family, and it won’t be New York.

"I would like to stay in this marriage because I still have love for my husband, but it has to change -- a lot of things will have to change," she flags. "Communication, number one. It has to always be respectful communication, even when you're upset, when you're hurt and when you're angry. Whatever the emotions you might be feeling at the time, you have to always keep in mind that you are a partnership, and you cannot take some things back. Once they're said or done, they cannot be taken back."

Kenya says communication has been the estranged couple’s "biggest issue" from the start; they’ve never been able to have a "healthy fight," something she wants to work on immediately.

"I think, being vulnerable, throwing away ego and pride is very important, because you can't really get to the bones of how someone really feels unless they're able to just put everything out on the table, and be really raw and vulnerable," she notes. "And I think the last part of it is just loving, knowing that you both are in this partnership and you both want to make it work and have a beautiful family. I mean, we have that and I would hate to lose it."

View this post on Instagram

👸🏾👶🏽🤴🏽

A post shared by Kenya Moore Daly (@thekenyamoore) on

Kenya realizes that having a child has "softened" her, helping her to reprioritize her life, which includes fighting for her marriage.

"[Being a mom] makes you look at you differently, and I just have a different appreciation for life and all things that I’m living for," she shares. "That is my legacy, how I raise this child, how we raise Brooklyn."

Part of that legacy could be more children. The Kenya Moore Hair Care creator confesses that more babies are also on her vision board.

"I see Brooklyn, and she is the life of the party," she gushes. "We are on the plane and she is walking down the aisle, 'Hi, hi , hi...' Like, it's all about her, she's just hosting everyone on the plane. So that's interesting to see her be so outgoing and special, and she loves people and she loves other little kids, and I would like to see her with a playmate growing up. I think she will be a great big sister to someone and... I don’t know, fingers crossed."

The Real Housewives of Atlanta returns with new episodes next Sunday, Feb. 9, at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.

RELATED CONTENT:

Kenya Moore Says Co-Sleeping With 1-Year-Old Daughter Caused Intimacy Issues With Husband Marc Daly

Kandi Burruss Responds to Kenya Moore Exposing Her 'RHOA' Salary and Dishes on Season 12 Drama (Exclusive)

NeNe Leakes on Kenya Moore's 'RHOA' Return and Her Own Future With the Show (Exclusive)