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Tisha Campbell-Martin & Duane Martin: prove that love & marriage in Hollywood do exist

There have been occasions when she's called another man or two her husband and he, another woman his wife. But that's just on television. In reality celebrity couple Tisha Campbell-Martin and Duane Martin demonstrate that after being together 15 years and married nearly 10, their love has the staying power to endure the lights, cameras and action that Hollywood has to offer.

Their story begins in 1990 when the pair met at an audition for the TV pilot "Moe's World." The show never took off, but the relationship between the two of them did.

"I was like, 'He's cute, but he's a jerk,'" recalls Campbell-Martin of their initial meeting. Her impression of him soon changed once they began "hanging out" and developing a friendship, which later turned into much more. After a five-year courtship Martin proposed to Campbell, and the young actors tied the knot in the summer of 1996.

"I didn't ask her to marry me," Martin says, "I didn't ask her to be my wife. I asked her if she would be my best friend forever, because that's what's important to me.

"If you approach your marriage like friends and you keep that, then you'll always be friends at minimum."

Another thing that's important in Martin and his wife's life is family. The twosome became a threesome when the couple welcomed their son Xen (pronounced Zen) into the world four years ago. Martin, 40, the self-proclaimed romantic of the two, says that he would like to add a baby girl to the mix, but his wife hasn't quite made up her mind on the idea.

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"I just don't know," says Campbell-Martin, 37, who gained 80-plus pounds when carrying her baby boy. She admits, "I don't want him to be by himself, but-I get tired."

For some Hollywood couples, finding a balance between family and career could present a challenge, but for the Martins, working on sitcoms have proven to be the right choice.

Campbell-Martin has been featured on a number of TV shows throughout her career. Her most recent full-time job as Jay Kyle on the ABC hit comedy "My Wife and Kids" ended last year after the completion of five seasons. But the sitcom she is perhaps best known for is "Martin," where she played Jena Waters, the girlfriend and later wife of the character of comedian Martin Lawrence.

On Monday nights her real-life husband portrays Robert James on UPN's "All of Us." The show, now in its third season, is produced and loosely based on the lives of the Martins' long-time friends, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Campbell-Martin, a native of Newark, NJ, and Martin, a Brooklyn, New Yorker, rarely appear on the same shows together, but there are a few exceptions. This season Campbell-Martin has reprised her reoccurring role on "All of Us" as Robert's outspoken sister, Carmen.

For the couple the sitcom schedule works best because it allows them to work until 5:00 p.m., five days a week (minus weekends), from the months of August until March. When it comes to their jobs, one promise that they have made to each other is to not work on television dramas.

"We've decided not to do dramas on television because those are 14- to 18-hour days," explains Campbell-Martin. "We'd never see each other. We'd get a divorce. We want to be able to spend time with each other. I'm not going to take a [project] that takes me too far away from that." Campbell-Martin and Martin, who cite laughter as one of the key ingredients to their happiness, are not only partners in life, but they're also partners in business.

Their ventures include a Beverly Hills beauty salon, real estate projects and the newly formed partnership with the urban film distribution company, the Momentum Experience. The first film to be released through the company is The Seat Filler, co-written by the husband-and-wife team, along with Mark Brown.

Campbell-Martin does not appear in the romantic comedy, which stars Martin and Destiny's Child's Kelly Rowland. But she says she doesn't mind the moments when her man has to get close and cuddly with an attractive co-star, because she's not the jealous type. And her husband says neither is he.

"It's never been a problem," explains Martin. "I guess we both felt comfortable that she ain't going nowhere and I ain't going nowhere, so why get jealous? I'm not that insecure."

He adds, "I trust whatever role she comes upon and whatever that love scene is, she's going to be respectable. I don't have any doubt about that."

The Martins are not naive to the fact that the average "Tinsel Town" relationship can take literally months to dissolve. a prenuptial agreement.

"She came to the table with her things and I came to the table with my businesses ...," says Martin, who for the last 20 years has owned and operated Impact Sports, a sports management firm that represents professional athletes. "We've absolutely been together long enough that it doesn't matter anyway."


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