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Keshia Knight Pulliam: Interesting Things You Might Not Know

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes about various topics including celebrities and entertainment.


Appearances Before "The Cosby Show"

Most people think Keshia Knight Pulliam got her start on The Cosby Show. However, she had already been performing by the time she first appeared on the series in 1984 at five years old.

When the girl was only nine months old, she appeared in a national print advertisement for Johnson's & Johnson's baby products. She appeared in numerous other national commercials and television shows before viewers saw her on The Cosby Show.

Her acting career also starting before she became a Huxtable. When she was three years old, she appeared regularly on Sesame Street. Not only that, but while she was on television with the Cosbys, she was also starring in movies. She made her feature film debut in The Last Dragon in 1985. That means the little girl was on the little screen and big screen at the same time.


Role as Rudy

Viewers watched her play the role of Rudy in 179 episodes of The Cosby Show from 1984 to 1992 as the daughter of Cliff and Clair Huxtable from the ages of 5 to 13. Most people don't know that the role of Rudy was originally written to be a boy. The Huxtables were to have two boys and two girls. A suitable boy for the role could not be found so auditions were extended to girls. Jaleel White, later known for his role as Steve Urkel on Family Matters, was turned down for the part.

Keshia was nominated for an Emmy for her performance in the second season of the series. She became the youngest nominee ever. Her television mother, Phylicia Rashad, was also nominated during that season. Neither won but both were honored nonetheless.


Coming of Age

Keisha was born on born April 9, 1979, in Newark, New Jersey. Viewers saw her grow up before their eyes on The Cosby Show. She has maintained a presence on television as an adult. She is now 42 years old.

  • Keshia portrayed Miranda Lucas-Payne on the TBS comedy-drama Tyler Perry's House of Payne from 2007 to 2012. She appeared in 56 episodes.
  • In 2013, Keshia was a contestant on the ABC celebrity diving show Splash. She was the first contestant to be eliminated from the reality show.
  • In 2015, Keshia was also a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice and was the first contestant to be eliminated because she was the project manager for the team that lost.
  • In 2018, Keshia appeared in the first Celebrity Big Brother in the United States. She was a contestant along with ten other celebrities. She was the second to be evicted because she begged the houseguests to send her home. She said her milk was drying up and she needed to get home to feed her baby.
  • On January 5, 2022, Keisha hosted her first two-hour premiere of Married at First Sight Afterparty for Season 14. She replaced the role of Jamie Otis who had been hosting the show by interviewing three of the current newlyweds to get their take on the recent episode of Married at First Sight.
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Keisha Knight Pulliam's Awards and Nominations



Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in A Comedy Series

The Cosby Show - Nominated


NAACP Image Awards Best Supporting Actress in the Comedy Series

Tyler Perry's House of Payne - Won


NAACP Image Awards Best Supporting Actress in the Comedy Series

Tyler Perry's House of Payne - Won


NAACP Image Awards Best Supporting Actress in the Comedy Series

Tyler Perry's House of Payne - Nominated


NAACP Image Awards Best Supporting Actress in the Comedy Series

Tyler Perry's House of Payne - Won

Personal Background

Keshia Knight Pulliam is a Newark, New Jersey native. Her parents are Denise and James Knight Pulliam, Sr. She is very close to her two brothers, James Knight Pulliam II and Mshon Knight Pulliam.

In 2001, she graduated from Spelman College with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology. While in college, she became a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

Her marriage to Ed Hartwell lasted only seven months. At the time, his net worth was $200,000. Hers was $12 million. Today, hers is $14 million.


Marriage, Divorce, and a Baby

Knight Pulliam's marriage was like a whirlwind. She began dating Edgerton Hartwell, a former NFL linebacker, in September of 2015.

They became engaged on New Year's Eve of 2015. They got married a day later in her house in Atlanta. It was Knight Pulliam's first marriage and Hartwell's second marriage. He had been married to Lisa Wu-Hartwell from December 2005 to October 2011.

On July 17, 2016, Knight Pulliam announced that she was expecting her first child. Hartwell filed for divorce on July 25, 2016. He also demanded a paternity test. On January 23, 2017, the then 37-year-old became a single parent after giving birth to her daughter, Ella Grace. The paternity test proved that Hartwell was indeed the father. The divorce was finalized in April 2018. Knight Pulliam was awarded primary custody of Ella. Hartwell was ordered to pay about $3,000 a month for child support.


Keshia Knight Pulliam Today

Keshia Knight Pulliam is all grown up today as a single parent of her four-year-old daughter. She never remarried and had any more children after her divorce from Hartwell in 2018. In 2019, Keisha began dating actor Brad James after they met on the set of the movie Pride and Prejudice: Atlanta. They became engaged in December 2020.

At age 42, Keshia is still acting on television and in movies. She has been in three popular Lifetime movies.

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