Marques Houston defends decision to marry woman 19 years younger than him, says women his age have 'baggage'

Marques Houston, inset, him and wife Miya
Marques Houston reportedly met his wife Miya when she was a teenager, and he was in his late 30s. Photo credit: Getty Images / Instagram

An actor who married a woman almost 20 years his junior has sparked backlash after attempting to explain why he found it difficult dating women his own age.

Marques Houston, who starred in the likes of Fat Albert, Love & Hip-Hop: Hollywood and the classic 2000s dance film You Got Served, has come under fire for explaining why dating older women hadn't worked for him in the past, citing their "baggage", "different outlook on life", and likelihood of having children from previous relationships.

Houston, 41, married his now 22-year-old wife Miya Houston in 2020, when he was 39 and she was just 19. The two became engaged in March 2019 and began dating the year prior - after Miya had turned 18, Houston claims. 

In a recent interview with Page Six, Houston - who rose to prominence as a member of the R&B group Immature/IMx in the 1990s - said marrying someone his own age could have been "disastrous". 

"I could have married a 41-year-old, and it could have been disastrous," he told the outlet. "'Cause I'll sit and talk to women, women that are my age, and they kind of have a different outlook on life.

"Like a lot of women my age are very independent. They are very like, 'I don't need a man to do this for me 'cause I can do it for myself'. I come from a generation that I love to provide for my wife," Houston continued, adding he would "never" date a woman who wouldn't want to be dependent on her partner.

He also claimed that older women tend to carry "baggage", and called single mothers a "red flag".

"A red flag to me [was] always with a woman that had a kid," he said. "Nothing against single women, but single mothers are a red flag for me.

"I would talk to my dad a lot, and he would always tell me to have your own kids because you never know what the baby daddies are about," he continued. "So if you're gonna have kids, make sure it is with a woman that never had kids. So that was always my red flag… and a woman with an attitude. I don't like women with funky attitudes."

The 'Clubbin' singer, who noted that he's dated "so many different women" throughout his life, has previously been linked to singer Mila J and his You Got Served co-star Jennifer Freeman, who is best known for her role as Claire Kyle in the sitcom My Wife and Kids.

When discussing with Page Six what made Miya different to his former flames, he said: "She's beautiful and smart and talented, and she's caring and loving, and she's everything I saw myself being in a relationship with… it just so happens to be that she caught my heart."

According to reports, Houston met Miya through a mutual friend when she was still a teenager, leading to accusations online that he had groomed her. Houston has previously claimed the two didn't become romantically involved until she was 18.

Houston's latest comments have prompted yet another round of backlash on social media, with many calling out his behaviour as potentially predatory. 

Marques Houston and his wife Miya at the premiere of "No Way Out" at LOOK Dine-In Cinemas Glendale on April 10, 2023.
Marques Houston and his wife Miya at the premiere of "No Way Out" at LOOK Dine-In Cinemas Glendale on April 10, 2023. Photo credit: Getty Images

"Idc [I don't care] what the circumstances are - dating somebody you met as a CHILD when you were an ADULT is sick behaviour," one tweeted.

"Whoever Marques Houston’s PR rep is needs to tell him to stop opening his mouth… every sentence he just solidifies himself more and more as a groomer," said another.

"Marques Houston is a weirdo. No matter how he tries to slice it or dice it, he was talking to and engaging with a minor," a third weighed in. "What do you even talk about with a teenager who isn't family or a godchild as a 35+ year old man to build a connection?" 

Houston and Miya welcomed their first child, a daughter, on December 2, 2021.