Who Is Dave Chappelle’s Wife? Inside His Career Move That Made Her ‘Salty’

If you’re watching his new Netflix comedy special, you might be wondering who Dave Chappelle’s wife is.

Chappelle propelled his comedy career forward after performing stand-up in New York City and making appearances in Def Comedy Jam. In 2003, he debuted his own sketch show Chappelle’s Show which was extremely popular. The comedian abruptly left the show in 2006 after taking a trip to South Africa.

He told Time of the walkout that it “had a little psychological element to it. I have trust issues, things like that. I saw some stuff in myself that I just didn’t dig. It’s like when I brought a girl home to my mom and it looked as if my mom really didn’t like this girl. And she told me, ‘I like her just fine. I just don’t like you around her.’ That’s how I feel in this situation. There were some things about myself that I didn’t like. People got to take inventory from time to time. That’s what this [coming to South Africa] is for.”

He’s also made film appearances in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, The Nutty Professor, Dave Chappelle‘s Block Party, Chi-Raq, and A Star Is Born. In 2016, he signed a $20-million-per-release comedy-special deal with Netflix. His 2021 comedy special The Closer included transphobic comments and jokes that sparked controversy in the LGBTQ+ community and several Netflix walkouts organized by the Netflix trans employee resource group.

Chappelle went on his Midnight Miracle podcast to react to the backlash he faced. “The trans [people] and their surrogates, always say that my jokes are somehow gonna be the root cause of some impending violence that they feel like is inevitable for my jokes,” Chappelle said. “But I gotta tell you, as abrasive as they were, the way they were protesting, throwing eggs at people, throwing barricades, cussing and screaming, [none of my fans] beat ‘em up.”

Apart from his controversies, Chappelle seems to keep his personal life very private. Here’s what we know of Dave Chappelle’s wife.

Who is Dave Chappelle’s wife?

Dave Chappelle’s wife is Elaine Mendoza Erfe. The couple married in 2001 and have three kids together, sons Sulayman and Ibrahim, and daughter Sanaa. She is not a public person, but does have a private Instagram profile and counts Chrissy Teigen as one of her 700+ followers. Her bio reads, “Proud mom. Proud wife. Loyal friend. Best little sister. Non-infliuencer. [sic].

Elaine is a Filipino-American who grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Before they raised a family together, Elaine was set to have a career in the culinary arts. “She doesn’t work as a professional chef, [but the kids] regularly eat like kings at home, thanks to her excellent culinary skills,” he said in a past interview, per Netline.

The two met in her hometown and she continues to support him through his career. “She was with me when I was poor,” he recalled on The Howard Stern Show.

Chappelle explained to Stern that his wife keeps him grounded around his notoriety. “My wife, if it gets real bad, she’ll let me know, like, ‘Oh, you should look into this.’ But for the most part, I try not to pay attention to it because you don’t want to be careful as a comedian. I try to keep my business small enough so it can still be authentic enough.”

Around the same time that Chappelle walked out of his $50 million Comedy Central deal with Chappelle’s Show, he said that his wife wasn’t so pleased with the decision. In 2006, he told Conan O’Brien, “My wife’s still a little salty… She’s not mad at me, but don’t think you’re going to walk away from $50 million and your wife’s just gonna be cool with it.”

He later talked to Oprah about his decision to walk away. “One, I needed a break,” he recalled. “Two, we have family and friends down there. I felt like it was a place where I could really reflect … and here’s the other thing: I was only gone for two weeks! They made it sound like it was so mysterious.” He also shared that he didn’t call Elaine before he left. “It wasn’t that I didn’t tell my wife,” he said. “It was [more] like, ‘I’m not telling her until after I’m gone.’ Which was a mistake, but it wasn’t a crazy mistake.”

The two moved to Yellow Springs, Ohio in 2006.  “It’s almost like a nature reserve where they’ll let me run free,” he said of his residence. Though as the years gone by, coming home to his children is pretty different. “I see my age in my children,” Dave said in a special. “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.’”

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