After leaving “Couple’s Therapy” in 2014, Whitney and Sada moved to the Bay Area to be closer to Sada’s mother (“The closest person to her in life,” Whitney said), who was diagnosed with a rapidly progressive cancer.
“It just took a spiral really fast. It was so much pressure,” Whitney said. “Moving to the Bay, leaving L.A., leaving our careers, leaving our friends, leaving everything and then going to a new city with so much sadness and stress and pressure—[it was] kind of like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.”
In Oakland, Whitney was working in real estate, while Sada delved into fitness as a personal trainer.
“We’d left entertainment a lot—stepped out of it, so our passion projects weren’t being done,” Whitney said. “Couple that with the extreme stress of her mother, it just took a toll on us.”
Sada’s mother passed away in April 2016, something Whitney said was “beyond tragic.”
“After that, we decided to move back down to L.A. because that’s where we belong, really,” Whitney said. “We wanted to get back into entertainment and back on track with things.”But the situation had escalated to where “the pressure was too much” for the marriage.
“I can’t think of something else our relationship could have been put through, and we made it through, for the most part,” Whitney said. “But then at the end, I think we just got to a point where it was exhausting, and it was time to call it quits.”
Fans inquire about Sada daily on Whitney’s Instagram posts, sometimes even demanding answers about the state of their relationship. For a while, Whitney ignored the prodding, but she was eventually pushed to where she felt the need to address the more brazen commenters who accused her of lying to them. She posted a video in which she explained she didn’t owe anything to anyone, and that if she wanted fans to know what was going on in her life, she’d tell them when she was good and ready.
“I mean, the thing is is that it wasn’t just a one day, ‘We’re done’ process,” Whitney said. “It was a long drawn-out process, as many lesbian breakups are. We’re married—it’s not like we’re dating. We were trying to decide, ‘Should we make it work? Is it worth it?’ So much back and forth and then logistics—we have dogs and living situations and everything—it was kind of drawn out. And during that time, because we weren’t so invested in one another, pictures stopped popping up on Instagram and people started asking questions.”
Still, Whitney said she understands why people feel entitled to know what’s going on in her life and relationship—her role as a public figure is how fans met her in the first place. Having offered up both herself and her marriage on two different television shows has given viewers a unique kind of access to Whitney’s relationship with Sada—something women in our community rarely get to see on TV. Representation remains low for lesbians, and those who do appear on the small screen are often not the focus of their respective shows; instead, they’re typically members of an ensemble, playing sidekicks to the straight housewife or gay male best friend.
Since both “The L Word” and “The Real L Word” went off air, no other series have been dedicated completely to queer women. While shows like “Orange is the New Black” and “Transparent” offer nuanced LGBTQ characters and plotlines, Ilene Chaiken’s creations remain anomalies in that they existed for the purpose of telling specific stories to an oft-neglected community—sharing our lingo and inside jokes, showing the various forms of romance and sex that can exist between women. As Whitney dove into her career as an actor (she’s had roles on Comedy Central’s “Workaholics” and in the short film “Wedlocked”), and Sada explored becoming a wrestler on the USA Network show “WWE’s Tough Enough,” their profiles stayed fairly heightened. Fans were always ready for something else to tune into or get excited for, and often, could make an up-close and personal connection with Whitney and Sada when the couple would host events in different cities. Whitney especially prides herself on her accessibility and kindness.
“I understand people feeling like they are entitled, almost, to an answer or an update, and we both are willing to give it to them, but just when the time is right,” Whitney said. “Because we’re still human beings and we still need to process things. We need to figure out what’s happening before the world can know. I mean if someone somehow knows what’s happening before I do, please let me know, because that would be nice.” She laughed. “I mean, I can post a picture of a balloon, and there’ll be five comments underneath about Sada. [I thought] when the time [was] right, [I’d] be ready to talk about it—and that time is now.” Whitney and Sada are not legally divorced yet (they’re working on it), but Whitney is single and dating.
“We went through our emotional part, anger part—really the stages of mourning because you’re not only mourning the loss of your wife and your partner, but your best friend, you know?” Whitney said. “I think that we just wanted to really get to—I at least wanted to get to a point where I knew it was 100 percent over and just be at peace with it and not driven by anger or resentment or frustration, but come from a place of peace and acceptance and love.”