Marjorie has been in the spotlight in one way or another since the late ‘90s, and while she may nowadays appear to be just another Hollywood wife with a classic day-to-day life of glamour and massive spending, many would be shocked to know that she may also have helped operate a drug ring involving millions of dollars.
The mention of her name will conjure up the wholesome family photos of her, Steve Harvey and their children, while the shadow of her dark past lays buried deep beneath public information and common knowledge. Conversely, one can’t be blamed for not being aware of who she used to be, since Marjorie has gone to great lengths in order to hide her skeletons.
Unfortunately for her public image, Marjorie’s former partners in crime are still around to this day, with a big story to share. It’s also possible that her former drug kingpin ex-husband is simply looking to pick a publicity crumb, since having been associated with Marjorie is his only public claim to fame. Regardless of his incentive, the narrative he alleges fits with certain case files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
The cocaine princess
Marjorie Elaine Bridges was born under the sign of Libra on 10 October 1964, in Memphis, Tennessee USA, to mixed-race parentage – her Caucasian mother Doris Bridges, and African-American father of an unknown name and profession. As for any difficulties that may have nudged her in the wrong direction, all sources point to her having a relatively normal childhood.
Her education is thought to have been somewhat extensive, but the details on this are muddy. Some believe that she enrolled into the University of Memphis following matriculation, but there’s no telling what she studied there, or whether she ever graduated. Marjorie herself, understandably, doesn’t particularly enjoy detailing her past to the media.
The slip into criminality
Whatever job she may have taken after college, the subsequent events in Marjorie’s life led her to the company of a certain Jim Townsend, who was making really good money at the time and had wide social influence. It was later determined that this power came from the extensive drug ring that made him Memphis’ cocaine kingpin.
It is not entirely clear how Marjorie and Jim met, but it’s possible that they may have been through mutual acquaintances in the city. Some believe that Marjorie was involved in the local drug scene pretty early on, which would’ve allowed her to eventually make Jim’s acquaintance as she moved up the ladder. It’s also possible that they met through friends or family, given that they both grew up in Memphis.
Assuming they met through mutual acquaintances, it’s pretty clear why they would’ve been drawn to each other, as he was powerful and enchanted by beauty, and she was a beauty enchanted by power. Marjorie claims to this day that she hadn’t been aware of his illegal activities until the day he was charged in the court of law, but common sense would indicate that to be highly unlikely, as they spent considerable time together.
— Steve Harvey (@IAmSteveHarvey) February 15, 2022
If it’s to be believed that Marjorie finished college before setting out into the depths of Memphis, she would’ve been around 22 years old at the start of their relationship, which sets the date at 1986. It’d then be ludicrous to assume that Marjorie never even had a hint of what he was up to all the way throughout their approximate four years of dating, and many years later, Jim tells a different story.
He explicitly claims that Marjorie was one of the most important cogwheels in the well-oiled drug machine that kept him on top of Memphis for a number of years. With everything in hindsight, the most likely flow of events was that Jim believed that he’d found a soulmate in Marjorie, and ended up trusting her completely at some point.
The two enjoyed a rather loving relationship for a few years, prior to marrying in an extravagant ceremony in 1990. Probably not for a lack of trying, they never managed to conceive a child, which in the long run made Jim just that much easier to drop when the time was right.
Due to the magnitude of Jim’s cocaine empire, both the FBI and the DEA put a significant number of operatives on and off the field in relation to his case, all of whom kept careful watch on his men and their dealings. Many undercover agents were present as well, engaging in infiltration and other clandestine activities for months on end in order to accumulate evidence.
Drug lords are notoriously distrustful of pretty much everyone around them, and for good reason. If any of their men are caught, they usually have little to no information to divulge that would assist in harming the general operation of the ring. This also removes any personal stakes from the endeavor, making the kingpin immune to any blackmail from the authorities after they apprehend his associates.
However, Marjorie became Jim’s weak spot over the years, and some say that Jim would’ve received a much lighter sentence if not for his boundless affection towards her. The agents spent months building evidence against individual members, connecting the dots, and creating a solid case for the courts.
They still needed something that was more solid than pictures and rumors though, and that’s where a brilliant undercover agent came around in 1992, who managed to persuade Jim that he would be able to secure a massive shipment for Townsend’s organization to sell off.
The kingpin eventually took the bait and met the agent at a location that unbeknownst to him was swarming with police, and then agreed to the purchase of 40kgs (88lbs) of cocaine, all the while being recorded by the agent’s wire and multiple hidden cameras.
This evidence was as solid as it gets, and so he was arrested on the spot and charged with multiple serious crimes. That notwithstanding, Jim still had a massive amount of money at his disposal, and access to some of the best lawyers in the country. The FBI and DEA were in for a lengthy court process that could go either way, which is something they really wanted to avoid.
The agents then presented Jim with a mountain of evidence against Marjorie, which detailed her criminal activities to a very wide extent. It’s safe to say, had she ever been charged with what they had, she would still be behind bars in 2023. Townsend was ready to sacrifice everything and everyone, save for Marjorie, and so he accepted the deal, pleading guilty to all charges so that the FBI and DEA would completely ignore Marjorie.
Of course, believing that they were meant to be, Jim told her of this plan and asked her to wait for him, promising to try and appeal his sentence as many times as necessary to eventually get out of prison, in spite of his initial sentencing to life without parole.
Marjorie did everything she could to get Jim to accept the deal, promising that she would wait for him as long as necessary. Blinded by emotion, Townsend went to prison, potentially until his death, with a smile on his face, trusting that her feelings for him were just as pure. He was wrong though.
From one ring into another
Lo and behold, not long after Jim’s conviction, Marjorie began finding it increasingly difficult to stay in the marriage. He still had significant power in Memphis, however, and it would’ve been unprofitable to abandon the business just yet. With immunity from the FBI and the DEA, she was able to continue engaging in her regular practices for a while, making significant money from the drug trade at everyone else’s expense.
Not even five years into their marriage, Marjorie filed for divorce from Jim, whose entire motivation for getting out was exactly this never happening. As a cherry on top, at the time she was already dating his first cousin Darnell Brooks.
Darnell was a kingpin in his own right, now also with a big piece of Jim’s former territory, and some of the experienced men previously under his command who were able to avoid the massive drug bust. At this point in the story, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to conclude that the only thing Marjorie was married to was the flow of money.
The details surrounding their relationship and subsequent marriage are incredibly scarce, with the only real bit of information from that part of Marjorie’s life being that she gave birth to three of Darnell’s children – Morgan, Jason and Lori. Since it seems like Darnell literally fell through the ground at some point, most of the details surrounding Marjorie’s second marriage are up for assumption.
The most likely final outcome, with Jim’s unfortunate story in mind, is that something quite similar could’ve happened. However, there’s no record of Darnell Brooks from that time being imprisoned on drug charges, which opens the door to much more grim possibilities.
Knowing how easily people disappear in the underworld, some theorists give credence to the idea that a rival kingpin ordered a hit, but his family was left intact. This is one of the only explanations as to why Marjorie just gave up on the drug world after Darnell, as she was probably scared of remaining involved.
It could also be that the DEA and the FBI had amassed evidence on her that was well beyond the scope of what was initially thrown out of her file, and there was no one to protect her for the second time.
Whatever may have happened throughout the undotted i’s, Marjorie literally went from drug lord to drug lord, took charge in their operations and engaged in heavy criminal activity, raised children in a criminal household while making drugs readily available to their peers, evaded the law on pretty much every single violation, and ultimately came out with an almost squeaky clean reputation and a lot of money. Taking all this into account, even the most dedicated fans of today would have a hard time discrediting the idea of Marjorie Elaine Bridges being a very cold, calculated and selfish individual.
A comedian’s innocent wife
Steve Harvey laid eyes on Marjorie for the first time in 1987, while he was performing at a comedy club in her birthplace. The comedian was immediately enchanted by her, even going as far as to state that he had no idea who she is, but that he will certainly marry her one day.
Marjorie herself wasn’t all that impressed by him at the time, and most who know of her past chalk that up to Harvey not being a drug lord, as she was heavily involved with Jim at that time. Almost a decade down the line, she suddenly found the highly successful comedian that he became quite attractive.
The two hit it off in no time, but it was going to be a bumpy road. Unlike her exes, Steve didn’t have to hide anything about his lifestyle, and being in his presence as a woman was far from anything frowned upon. As a result, he had marriage opportunities left and right wherever he went, as well as one-night stands.
This made Steve an exceptionally difficult man for Marjorie to fully seduce, which must’ve been the first time she had to work really hard for something. She was apparently doing a lousy job as well, now with three children from a previous marriage to boot, since Harvey ended up cheating on her and dooming the relationship.
However, it looks like the guilt that came with the act did the trick for Marjorie, and she finally broke through to Steve. He subsequently ended up just as enchanted as Jim, if not even more so, vowing to make it up to his ex- and give her the best life that he possibly could. He adopted those three children after they married in 2007, and has apparently remained deeply in love with her ever since.
Running from the past
The whole charade would’ve worked out perfectly for Marjorie, if not for a man so powerful she couldn’t possibly even approach him – Barack Obama. The former US president himself gave clemency to Marjorie’s first husband in July 2015, whose words against her were completely insignificant until that moment.
Jim was adamant that, in spite of the perfect mother figure that she now portrays for the whole world, Marjorie was instrumental in running the drug ring, and that only he knows the true extent of her criminal involvement. If not for his pardon, Marjorie’s entire past would’ve been permanently forgotten.
Townsend is in the process of publishing his memoirs, two thirds of which he wrote in prison. Entitled “Snakes in the Garden: The Untold Story of the Life Of Jim (aka Jimmy) L. Townsend Part One”, a big chunk of their story is set to be released on 1 July 2023. It’s expected that the book will have a significant impact on Marjorie’s career, threatening to bring down the public image she’s so carefully cultivated over the years with her second husband.