Derek Chauvin’s Ex-Wife Kellie Chauvin, Their Divorce & Tax Evasion Scandal Explained

Photo: Ramsey County Jail / Kellie Chauvin 
Derek Chauvin and Kellie Chauvin

The shocking video of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd's neck during his arrest, the act that led to Floyd's untimely death, shook the entire nation.

Chauvin was fired from the police force after the video surfaced, sparking a nationwide outcry and protests in multiple cities across the country over the sheer brutality of the act and ongoing systematic racism against Black Americans. Soon after he was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter, second-degree unintentional murder and third-degree murder, charges for which he is currently facing trial.

According to reports, Chauvin has a history of questionable conduct. In his 20-year career, he has had 17 different complaints filed against him.

And perhaps unsurprisingly, his actions hit closer to home as well. Soon after the news broke in May 2020, Kellie Chauvin, his then-wife of 10 years, announced her plans to divorce her husband.

Who is Derek Chauvin's ex-wife, Kellie Chauvin?

Kellie May Xiong Chauvin, born on October 21, 1974, came to the US with her family as refugees from when she just 6 years old.

Her family is from the Hmong people in Laos. The country was ripped apart by war in those years, and her family fled to Thailand, where they lived in a refugee camp for three years.

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They were granted permission to come to the United States in the fall of 1980, where they settled in Wisconsin. But even there they never felt fully safe.

“We didn’t know English. My parents didn’t want us leaving the house because they didn’t trust the world," Chauvin recollected. "You land into this brand-new world and you don’t know what to expect, and so we were always kept inside.”

After divorcing her first husband, she moved to Minnesota and earned an associate's degree in radiology, going on to work at Hennepin County Medical Center, where she met Derek Chauvin.

The two were married in June 2010, after which she changed careers, attending Kaplan University in Davenport, Iowa, for residential real estate, then becoming a realtor with Re/Max Results.

Kellie Chauvin was crowned USOA Mrs. Minnesota in 2018.

Entering the beauty pagent scene at a relatively late age, she won the crown of the United States of America's Mrs. Minnesota in October 2018 when she was 43, becoming the first Hmong woman to win the title.

She went on to compete for the title of Mrs. America in Las Vegas, but did not win.

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She once called now ex-husband Derek Chauvin, a "softie."

Back in 2018, Chauvin's characterization of her husband was much sunnier than it is today.

At the time, she had been married to her second husband for 8 years when she told a local reporter about their first meeting.

Then-police office Chauvin had brought a suspect into the hospital where she worked. He left to take the suspect to jail, then returned to ask Kellie for her number.

She says she fell in love with the way he treated her.

“Under all that uniform, he’s just a softie,” Chauvin said. “He’s such a gentleman. He still opens the door for me, still puts my coat on for me. After my divorce, I had a list of must-haves if I were ever to be in a relationship, and he fit all of them.”

On May 29, 2021, Kellie Chauvin issued a statement through her attorney announcing her plans to file for a divorce.

“This evening, I spoke with Kellie Chauvin and her family. She is devastated by Mr. Floyd’s death and her utmost sympathy lies with his family, with his loved ones and with everyone who is grieving this tragedy. She has filed for dissolution of her marriage to Derek Chauvin,” the statement released by Sekula Law Offices said.

“While Ms. Chauvin has no children from her current marriage, she respectfully requests that her children, her elder parents, and her extended family be given safety and privacy during this difficult time.”

In the filing, which cited her reason for the divorce as "irretrievable breakdown of the marriage," she requested that her last name be changed.

Declaring herself self-supporting, both she and Chauvin waived their rights to temporary and permanent spousal support.

“[The] respondent is fully capable of supporting herself,” the filing stated.

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Soon after their divorce proceedings began, Kellie and Derek Chauvin were charged with felony tax evasion.

In July 2020, the still married couple were faced with charges of tax fraud.

"They’re accused of not filing tax returns from the years of 2016, 2017 and 2018. The Chauvins did file returns in 2014 and 2015, but severely underreported the income in those returns,” Assistant County Attorney Scott Haldeman said at the time.

The investigation revolved around alleged unreported income earned by Derek Chauvin as an off-duty security officer and by Kellie Chauvin as a photographer. They were also accused of trying to avoid paying proper sales tax on their vehicle.

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The former couple, whose divorce became final when it was granted on February 2, 2021, are still awaiting additional hearings on the tax evasion charges.

After their family court judge rejected their initial settlement agreement, which would have granted Kellie the majority of their assets, she is said to have received $704,000 in the divorce settlement, with Derek Chauvin receiving $421,000.

“The Court has a duty to ensure that marriage dissolution agreements are fair and equitable,” Washington County District Judge Juanita Freeman wrote. “One badge of fraud is a party’s transfer of ‘substantially all’ of his or her assets.”

Kellie Chauvin has referred to her first marriage as an abusive relationship.

Kellie Chauvin was previously married to a near-stranger when she was only 17 years old. She stayed in the marriage to Kujay Xiong, arranged by her parents, for a decade, giving birth to two children. She and Chauvin did not have children of their own.

She has said the relationship was abusive and they eventually divorced. Her first husband died a few years later.

She says she now dedicates her spares time to helping other women who have been abused, as well as women from her Hmong community.

“I dedicate myself to animals and children and women,” Chauvin said. “That’s my passion. It doesn’t feel like work to me.”

Kellie Chauvin has not commented on her ex-husband's trial.

However, documents obtained by TMZ in February 2021 reportedly state Kellie has been "unable to work since last May due to 'safety concerns,'" adding that "it's unclear when she will be able to return to work full time, and she doesn't even know what kind of work she could find."

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. She is the creator of the blog FeminXer and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.