Chances are when you think of Eddie Murphy nowadays it’s primarily for his family-friendly films like the Shrek series, Dr. Doolittle and The Nutty Professor. Oh, and a fabulous turn to the dramatic in Dreamgirls. But those films, and many others, may have been part of a calculated move to steer Murphy’s public profile back into one that would help solidify his wanting to be seen as a loyal husband and devoted father, a reputation that was questioned in 1997 after an instance involving an SUV, Santa Monica Boulevard and a transvestite escort with a long rap sheet.
On that spring evening in question, Murphy was evidently restless. His wife and children were in Sacramento and he was alone in his very large house. So at about 4:30am he drove to a newsstand and bought a few papers (this was confirmed by the vendor). But on his way home he somehow found himself on Santa Monica Boulevard, which was (is?) known for being a pickup spot for male and transvestite escorts.
And it was there at about 4:45 that he picked up 20-year old Atisone Seiuli.
The pair got less than 2 miles before the police, who had seen well-known Seiuli get into the SUV, pulled Murphy over. They shared a laugh about the situation, arrested Seiuli on a prior violation, and let Murphy go. Seiuli was given 90 days in jail, Murphy got off with nothing.
What followed after that night was a stream of mixed media, closeted rendezvous made public and two contrasting stories that were never concluded.
The first version is that Murphy specifically picked Seiuli up and starting asking him some intimately sexual questions: whether he wore lingerie, if he could model it, what kind of sex he liked etc. Murphy threw down $200 cash on his leg. He asked Seiuli to make time to model for him when the cops busted up their party.
That’s according to Seiuli, obviously.
Murphy paints a different story. He said he pulled over to see if Seiuli was alright when Seiuli asked for a ride home. He was simply trying to be a good Samaritan. He claims he said, “You shouldn’t be doing that [soliciting].’ And badda-bing… I’m never giving anyone a lift again.”
Evidently this was a popular practice of his – helping people on the street – one that he never mentions publicly. He claims he often empties his wallet to what he called the “derelicts” on the street to give them a chance to start their lives over. Literally, thousands and tens of thousands of dollars: “When I’m doing something charitable, I’m not doing it for publicity. You won’t see it in the paper, a big giant check blown up, smiling. When I do something, it’s out of the goodness of my heart.”
So what’s a reader to believe?
Well, according to Hollywood buzz, this was not the first time Murphy had solicited sex, and evidently his preference was for transsexual escorts. After his first marriage (that survived that scandal but waned quickly), after his second marriage, and around several relationships he’s had since then, he’s never been known to use a professional escort service or been photographed taking an escort out on the town. He’s not been caught clubbing surrounded by beautiful ladies as much as he’s been seen taking them out to dinner.
But evidently he does occasionally like to get some relief from a gorgeous man who looks like a woman.
Former Hollywood madam, Madame Renata, said she would often send transsexual escorts to Murphy’s trailer during the shooting of Trading Places. She said she didn’t think he was completely homosexual, but that it was obvious he liked to dabble.
So, conclusions? The media hasn’t made too much of a squabble about Murphy’s situation. Though other transsexual prostitutes have evidently come forward off and on over the years, no major news sources have found the stories worthy to delve into. The blogosphere and culture mob continue to follow his sexual stride “who’s that beautiful woman he’s with, an escort?” “Is Eddie Murphy gay?”, but the buzz is light.
And as for his career? Murphy has made over 25 films since that 1997 evening in question, which is about half of his career in its entirety. He’s still most known for being the voice of Donkey in Shrek and his incredible performance as a philandering, drug-addicted singer in Dreamgirls, as well as his standup comedy routine and time on SNL.
What is certain is that it doesn’t seem that his sexual preference will be hindering his face from being on the big screen any time soon.