Press accounts describe Khalilah flying into a rage after she stormed into the Champ's hotel suite to confront him. She allegedly tore down drapes, smashed mirrors, and scratched Ali's face. She declined to describe in detail what happened behind those closed doors. "Oh, I'm saving that for my book," she says. "I just felt it was time to move on after that. I couldn't tolerate the foolishness I was going through. I had been utterly humiliated."

When she returned to Chicago, Khalilah and her four children moved out of their mansion and into a four-bedroom penthouse in an eight-story brownstone on the city's South Side. To keep busy, she took a nonpaying job as a publicity agent and photographer for the Muslim newspaper Bilalian News. Khalilah put in 40-hour weeks and sometimes would travel to cover fashion shows around the country.

She filed for divorce September 2, 1976, claiming desertion, adultery, and mental cruelty. A Chicago judge finalized the split 17 weeks later. Khalilah reportedly received $670,000 to be paid over five years, a home, and miscellaneous personal property. Ali also placed $1 million in a trust fund for their children. "The judge wanted to make him pay alimony for the rest of his life," Khalilah says. "I felt that was too much. I didn't want to depend on his alimony forever. I wanted us to move on. As long as the children were taken care of, that was more important."

One evening in 1982, 12-year-old Rasheda Ali settled into her seat beneath one of the massive, dazzling chandeliers inside Chicago's Drury Lane Theatre. Rasheda, her twin sister, and her other two siblings were in for a special treat. It was opening night of the four-week run of Neil Simon's Come Blow Your Horn, and the kids had front-row seats. An excited Rasheda squealed when she saw her mom strut onstage as Connie Dayton, the love interest of the play's main character, Buddy Baker, who was played by Demond Wilson (Lamont from TV's Sanford & Son). "It was such a magical experience," Rasheda, now 40, says of the performance. "To see my mom onstage was the most amazing thing. It was just so cool to see her succeed."

After her parents divorced, Rasheda, her sisters, and her brother went to live with Khalilah's parents in a seven-bedroom mansion in a small Chicago suburb. Khalilah had purchased it after selling the home she owned with Ali in 1978. By then, the Champ had relocated to Los Angeles and married Porsche. (Ali had two daughters, Hana and Laila, with his third wife, whom he divorced in 1986.) Khalilah took off for L.A. to pursue an acting career. She says Ali's divorce payments covered her living expenses and allowed her to travel around the country for speaking engagements and leisure. Khalilah also had a side gig selling photographs and paintings of famous people she met, which she claims netted her $300,000 from 1978 to 1982, the time she spent trying to make it in Hollywood.

She didn't get far. Khalilah had a small role in The China Syndrome. She met and befriended the film's marquee actors, Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas, on the set of the Oscar-nominated film. She says she also made appearances on The Jacksons, a variety show featuring Michael Jackson and his siblings. While Khalilah tried her hand at acting, her children stayed behind in Chicago, where they were raised by their maternal grandparents. Rasheda says being apart from her mother and father affected her greatly.

"Personally, I felt an emptiness," Rasheda says. "I wanted desperately to live with my parents, so it was frustrating for me. But whatever resentment, I didn't show it. She was going through some hardships too."

By the mid-'80s, Khalilah returned to Chicago, where she remarried and was divorced three times. She won't talk about her first two husbands after Ali, but she says she fell in love with her fourth spouse, a man named Rene Gonzalez Camacho, who passed away. "He was a beautiful man," she says. Khalilah married Camacho in 1989. The couple had twin daughters, who are now in their early 20s. She divorced him in 1993. "He was a Vietnam vet who had been exposed to Agent Orange," Khalilah says. "As he got older, he just got worse and worse. We were going to get back together, but he passed away before it could happen."

Khalilah was also finding herself frequently in court. According to the Cook County Clerk of Courts' online database, she was a plaintiff or defendant in ten lawsuits between 1986 and 2007. In 1993, Mercantile National Bank won a lawsuit against her for $18,414 in damages. Five years later, she won a judgment for $9,500 against a man named Cody Terry. In 1999, she filed a civil complaint alleging fraud against Clayton Tepel, Bakersfield Production, Sterling Capital Management, and Superior Capital Management. She sought $100,000 in damages, but the suit was dismissed.

In 2001, the Illinois Department of Revenue sued her for $25,400 in unpaid taxes and won. The same year, Home American Credit filed for foreclosure on her mansion, but five months later, a judge dismissed the case. Khalilah says she sold the property. In 2002, 2005, and 2007, All State Insurance, State Farm, and Arrow Financial, respectively, won a combined $12,230 against her. She declined to speak in detail about her litigation. "I just leave that stuff alone," she says. "I just don't discuss it."

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5 comments
Zhenglish38
Zhenglish38

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Ttsturrup
Ttsturrup

my late grandmother said ali lived in overtown.

 
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