Dave Chapelle is one of America’s most coveted (and controversial) comedians. Over the course of his 20-plus year career, he’s become just as well-known for ruffling people’s feathers with provocative statements as he is for making people laugh. But what some people may not know about the comic is that he’s a dedicated family man with a wife and three children. Here’s the inside scoop on Dave Chappelle’s kids.
Dave And His Wife Elaine Chose To Raise Their Three Children Out Of The Spotlight
Chappelle has always kept his personal life far from the prying eyes of the public. He married Elaine Mendoza Erfe in 2001 after meeting her in the late 1990s. The couple lives on a 65-acre farm in Yellow Springs, Ohio—a small town that the comedian says he loves.
“I used to be cable’s hottest star and now I’m just a Yellow Springs guy,” Chappelle joked in an interview with USA Today. “Turns out you don’t need $50 million to live around these parts, just a nice smile and a kind way about you.”
Elaine and Chappelle have three children—Sulayman, born in 2001, Ibrahim, born in 2003, and Sanaa, born in 2009. Reportedly, their unique names are inspired by the comedian’s Islamic faith, which he converted to in 1991.
Sulayman Writes Poetry
While we don’t know too many details about Chappelle’s kids (or have many photos of them), the comedian sometimes shares stories about his children in his stand-up routines. In 2019, he talked about his eldest child, Sulayman, and how he recently discovered he was into writing poetry.
“I went into my oldest son’s room and I was like, ‘Hello? Hello?’ and he was gone,” Chappelle explained. “And I never done this to him before but for some reason I just did it I just went through his sh*t . Just to see who this m*therf*cker was becoming. And I found these notebooks and I started going through the notebooks and it was all this wonderful poetry, written in his handwriting. I didn’t even know [he] wrote poems.”
Ibraham Was Born In 2003
Not much is known about Chapelle’s middle child, Ibrahim, other than the fact that he was born in 2003. That would make him almost 20 years old today, and Chappelle has talked about how he’s had to adjust to the fact that his children need him less as they get older.
“I came home from the road not long ago—I was gone for weeks and weeks, and when I came back, nobody was home,” he said. “Not one person in my family thought maybe I’d like to see them when I got back. That sh*t was a wake-up call. When my kids were little and the tour bus would pull up to the house, [they’d] spill out. ‘Dad is home, hooray!’ Then as the years went on, they’d get less interested. ‘Hey everybody, look: It’s Mr. Promises back from the road.’”
Sanaa Is Following Her Dad Into Show Business
Born in 2009, Sanaa is Chapelle’s youngest child and only daughter. The young teen already has her own acting resume, having appeared in a small part in the 2018 film A Star Is Born. She also walked the red carpet with her famous father during the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.
How Has Fatherhood Changed Dave?
Chappelle says that becoming a father changed his life dramatically, both personally and professionally. “Everything changed after I had children,” he told CBS This Morning. “I took my professional life more seriously. And I think, as a dude, I had more depth after I had kids.”
The 8:46 comedian also admits that the responsibility of being a parent can sometimes be overwhelming. “The first time I traveled with my kid by myself … to this day, it might’ve been one of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my life,” Chappelle admitted in a 2016 interview. “I took him all the way to Dubai. Everything they need, you just have to be on it.”