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Invest Fest 2023

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The Steve Harvey Morning Show experienced a week of turmoil when phone calls were leaked between longtime co-host Shirley Strawberry and her estranged husband Ernesto Williams. Williams remains in jail after his 2022 arrest on multiple charges including fraud and child pornography.

At first, Strawberry says she was trying to stand by her husband of eight years. In a series of calls reportedly obtained by bloggers via the Freedom of Information Act, their jailhouse calls were leaked. And on them, Strawberry shared some thoughts about her boss, Steve Harvey, and his wife, Marjorie Harvey.

Strawberry is the host of the Strawberry Letter segment where she often dishes advice about relationships. On one call, she told her husband that Harvey was winded when going up the stairs in his house. She also said that his wife viewed his colleagues as “the help,” and commented on Marjorie’s in-home workout space and spa. She characterized Steve as “scared” of his wife and said that’s why she didn’t always respond to invites he extended because she wasn’t sure Marjorie wanted her there.

Strawberry apologized for it all, making herself the topic of her popular segment.

“Steve, I’m going to start by saying that my estranged husband is in jail,” she said. “He’s been in jail for over a year, right after the Fourth of July of 2022, and recently some phone calls between he and I were leaked last year,” she said. “On those calls, you hear me saying that you were winded going up the stairs at your home and that Marjorie looks at us as the help. Right here and now, I want to apologize to you and Marjorie. As much as I wish I could, I can’t take it back.”

Strawberry, who is believed to be in her 60s, is one of several co-hosts on the Steve Harvey Morning Show, including former Tom Joyner Morning Show co-host and comedian J. Anthony Brown and Nephew Tommy. The SHMS has aired since 2000, going into syndication in 2005. Strawberry has been working with Steve since the show’s beginning in Los Angeles.

Harvey responded by alluding to rumors that have plagued the couple lately, including one that Marjorie was cheating on him with their longtime chef. He said he was not going to fire Strawberry, that he understood there was no maliciousness on her part, and that she expected the conversations would remain private.

“The timing of it was ugly because of everything else that’s going on right now,” Harvey said. “And it made it look like Shirley was piling on, and that wasn’t her intent, but it happened. Like I say, I understand.”

Harvey was more concerned with defending his wife, saying that the online vitriol directed at her was hurtful but that it brought the couple closer together.

“You out there just lying about my girl, and you’re tearing away at her character. And I don’t like what you’re doing to her,” Harvey said. “I don’t like the timing of this jailhouse release because it just seems like it added more, and it came from the inside. I’m tired, but she’s got to be tired. The woman I married is a good woman; she’s the best thing [that] ever happened to me. She’s God-fearing, she’s loyal, she’s faithful, and she’s a kind and loving person. I don’t care what nobody [says]!”

Strawberry received support from her co-hosts as well, who said they stood by her in all of the challenges she’s facing.

“Do you know what would happen if any of us had our private thoughts aired?” Steve said. “We wouldn’t have a morning show.”

He added, “We don’t live in a forgiving world anymore. We don’t live in a kind world. We live in a fallen world. But I do understand we have this show. I do understand there’s a lot of people who love us. The problem is, and I’ve said it a hundred times, is that hate is louder than love.”

See how social media’s reacting below.