‘Can You Just Wait Until I Die?’: Ali Wong on Breaking Her Divorce to Her Mom
If we were to make a list of all the things that a person should put off until their mother’s funeral, getting a divorce wouldn’t be on it — in fact, nothing would be on that list, because we don’t have parents who say insane stuff like, “Can’t you just wait until I’m dead?”
Ali Wong, on the other hand, doesn’t have that luxury. This past April, the star of the upcoming comedy-drama series Beef made the surprise announcement that she and her husband, entrepreneur Justin Hakuta, had filed for divorce. The separation closely followed the release of Wong’s special, Don Wong, which heavily focused on Wong’s marriage and her not-so-secret desire to pursue some extramarital activities. Rampant, invasive speculation surrounded the split, but as Wong revealed to the Hollywood Reporter, the hardest part of the breakup was breaking the news to her 82-year-old Vietnamese-American mother.
“She looked me in the eye and asked, ‘Can you just wait until I die?’” Wong said of the uncomfortable conversation with her mom. That’s the kind of response a parent should only ever give if their kid asks for permission to get a tattoo.
“I had told her before that I thought we might get divorced, and she was really upset,” Wong prefaced her mother’s preposterous reply. “She was literally asking me to not live a life for myself. She’s 82, what do I expect? She hasn’t had her period in 40 years. She’s in the sha-ha-hallows of senior citizenship. But it was still really fucking hard dealing with all her fear of the shame it would bring her."
Despite the divorce, Wong says she still remains close to her former partner. “We’re best friends. We’ve been through so much together. It’s a very unconventional divorce,” the comedian explained. In fact, both Hakuta and the pair’s two daughters will accompany Wong on an upcoming comedy tour. “I’m still workshopping it, but the bones are there and it came to me very fast,” she said. “This is the first hour I’m doing since I started where I’m single. I think we’re going to call it the Single Lady Tour.”
Beyoncé’s response to Wong’s proposed title will likely be the same line as the one Wong’s mom said after the divorce — plus a cease-and-desist or two.