Did Huey P. Newton and Gwen Fontaine Remain Together?

Apple TV+’s biographical drama series, ‘The Big Cigar’ follows the life of Huey P. Newton, with a special focus on the time when he was charged with the murder of a woman and had to flee the country to save himself from the law that was out to kill him. The show goes back and forth in the life of the man who co-founded the Black Panther Party and became one of the most influential and iconic figures in the history of the country. Apart from his fight against the racist system that seems hell-bent on making things even more difficult for its own people rather than acknowledging the rights that they deserve, the story also focuses on Newton’s struggles in his personal life. Through all the ups and downs depicted in the show, we find him weathering through the storm with his girlfriend, Gwen Fontaine, by his side. SPOILERS AHEAD

Huey and Gwen Eventually Parted Ways

Huey Newton and Gwen Fontaine went through quite a series of events, especially when they had to leave America and spend a few years in Cuba while trying to figure out how to get Huey out of the bind with the law where he was accused of murder and would surely have been found guilty, irrespective of the truth. When the couple met, Gwen already had two children from a previous marriage. Huey, who was great with children and adored them, immediately bonded with Gwen’s kids and treated them as his own.

The couple’s bond was tested several times as Huey often found himself being targeted by the law due to his position as the leader of the Black Panther Party. However, Gwen stood by his side and decided to flee America with him when it became clear that things were out of their hands and there was no way they could win the case. Huey knew that he would go to prison for a long period. Having been there before, he also knew that the chances of his returning safe and sound were abysmal.

In 1974, against all odds, Huey and Gwen left for Cuba and remained there for the next few years, returning in 1977. Soon after landing there, they got married. For a while, they enjoyed the stay in the country that seemed to be friendlier to them than expected. Soon, however, both of them started to get weary of the place, and it became clear that they would have to return home eventually. Life there was entirely different from what they had in America, and they also ached to be back in their community, working with and for them, rather than staying away in a country they didn’t belong to. For the few years they spent in Cuba, Huey took up a job at a cement factory and worked ten-hour shifts each day.

The couple returned to America in 1977, and Huey stood trial for the murder charges that were eventually dismissed. He and Gwen stayed together for a few more years, but the cracks had already started to show in their relationship. Huey’s struggle with alcohol and drugs was one of the reasons behind the deterioration of his relationships, not just with Gwen. Another thing that may have caused tension in their marriage would be Huey’s relationship with Fredrika Newton.

Huey and Fredrika had known each other for years and had briefly dated before they drifted apart, especially after Fredrika left the Black Panther party. When Huey returned to America, he reconnected with Fredrika after they met at a Santana concert. By that time, she had a son and had been working as a model. On the other hand, he was working on his PhD in the History of Consciousness at the University of California. Reportedly, when he and Fredrika started seeing each other again, it was not hidden from Gwen.

As Huey’s use of alcohol and cocaine increased, his relationship with both Gwen and Fredrika failed. Reportedly, Fredrika eventually ended up dating Huey’s bodyguard for the next few years. Meanwhile, things came to an end with Gwen, too, and the couple divorced in 1983. Soon after, Huey and Fredrika got back together and got married in 1984, their time together coming to an end due to Huey’s untimely death.

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