Derek Chauvin's beauty queen ex-wife filed for divorce just days after George Floyd died in the custody of former cop and three other Minneapolis Police Department officers. Kellie May Xiong Chauvin, 46, first separated from Derek Chauvin on 28 May, 2020, just three days after Floyd died while in police custody on 25 May.
Kellie then filed for divorce on May 30, 2020 in Washington County District Court in Stillwater, Minnesota after Derek, missed the deadline to file an answer and counter-petition to challenge any of her proposals, according to the independent. On Tuesday, Derek was found guilty of all charges in reference to the murder of Floyd.
Losing Both Job and Wife
Although Derek Chauvin's official sentence has not yet been announced, he could be going to jail anywhere from 12-and-a-half years to 75 years, with many hoping for a longer sentence due to aggravating factors, such as committing the crime in front of children and with particular brutality.
That shifts focus on Derek's wife Kellie, with many wondering how she has been handling so much for almost a year now. However, not many know that the former beauty queen parted ways with Derek just days after Floyd's death. On May 30, 2020, Kellie filed for divorce in Stillwater, Minnesota citing "an irretrievable breakdown." The request was granted on February 2, according to the Independent.
The primary reason behind the divorce was actually Floyd's death. Kellie's lawyer had said at the time she was "devastated" by Floyd's death, and her "utmost sympathy lies with his family, with his loved ones and with everyone else who is grieving this tragedy," according to Southern Minnesota News.
The judge in the case, reportedly, rejected the Kellie's request to transfer most of the couple's assets to her. However, a settlement filed in January awarded Kellie most of the profits from their two vandalized homes as well as $704,000 in cash, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Derek was left with just $420,000 in the reported deal.
Bullied as Child
Following the bitter divorce, many responded positively to Kellie's show of sticking to her values, although others believed that her move was a pure protection of her assets. Kellie also requested to change her name from Chauvin in the divorce filing.
Kellie was married to Derek for almost 10 years but last year she was among the many to hold her husband accountable for the death of Floyd. Kellie was born in Laos and was only three years old when her family fled the country to Thailand in 1977 as refugees.
She spent considerable part of her childhood in a Thai refugee camp before the family migrated to the United States where they resided in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Interestingly, like many Asians, Kellie too was subject to bullying as a child as she was less proficient in reading and writing English compared to her classmates.
"They say 'land of the free,' but I still didn't feel like we were free," she had said in an interview in 2018. "We didn't know English. My parents didn't want us leaving the house because they didn't trust the world. You land into this brand-new world and you don't know what to expect, and so we were always kept inside."
Marriage, Divorce and Meeting Derek Chauvin
Kellie then got married at the early age of 17. It was reportedly an arranged marriage at the behest of her parents and following Hmong tradition and culture. "As a Hmong woman, if you're not married by 18... then your parents think that nobody will marry you," Kellie had told the Pioneer Press.
However, the marriage lasted for just a decade after she reportedly accused her husband of domestic abuse. She was already a mother of two by that time. She then shifted base to Minnesota and earned an associate's degree in radiology, interning and later working at Hennepin County Medical Center.
Interestingly, it was a same hospital where Floyd was pronounced dead last year. Derek too met Kellie for the first time in that hospital while he was bringing in someone for a health check before an arrest.
Kellie shot to fame in 2018 after she competed and won the Mrs Minnesota beauty pageant in 2018, making her the first Hmong woman to hold the title. At that time, she was madly in love with Derek.
"Under all that uniform, he's just a softie," Kellie had said in an interview 2018 after winning the beauty pageant. "He's such a gentleman. He still opens the door for me, still puts my coat on for me. After my divorce, I had a list of must-haves if I were ever to be in a relationship, and he fit all of them."
However, things changed completely just days after Floyd died. The couple remained married for 10 years and have no children.