Niecy Nash isn’t just living her best life. “I’m living my blessed life,” says the star.
Currently in the midst of filming the fourth and final season of her hit TNT show Claws, Nash opened up to PEOPLE in this week’s issue about celebrating her 50th birthday with an empowering semi-nude photoshoot, following a year of difficult transition.
“I was coming up on my 50th trip around the sun, and I was like, ‘We need to document this. I want to take some pictures and really cement this occasion,'” says Nash of opting to strip down in front of the camera.
She says the shoot served as an expression of how she is feeling these days. “I have never been better in my life,” she says. “There is something about knowing exactly who you are and curating a life that brings you joy every day.”
It’s been four months since Nash and her husband of eight years Jay Tucker, 53, announced on Instagram that they were ending their marriage last October, writing that they “are better friends than partners in marriage”.
While Nash, who was married once before, admits that the internet backlash she received from some followers, fans of their marriage and even her own family members was tough to deal with, she and her ex are in a great space and she’s happy to be where she is now.
“I felt I was becoming for a while,” she says, “and now the things that I was becoming, have manifest. I’m out of the cocoon. I’ve got my wings.”
But the star’s newfound peace is about much more than her recent split. As a child she witnessed her mother get shot and lost her only brother to gun violence. She also dealt with a painful split from her first husband Pastor Don Nash, the father of her three children, Dia, 20, Donielle, 25, and son Dominic, 28.
She credits therapy (“I think it’s a gift we don’t give ourselves enough”) with getting her to where she is today. “I’m not reborn because I got divorced. I’m reborn because I met myself at a different space and I unpacked all of my childhood trauma, all of the things that had gone unaddressed or unnoticed and decided to live my life in a different way.”
And with close pals like Sherri Shepherd and Oprah pouring into her life, Nash, who’s gearing up for two new Netflix projects and working on her own shapeware line, is excited to push that same positivity out into the world.
“I really want women to feel good about themselves,” she says. “We have enough pressures walking out the front doors.”
For more on Niecy Nash’s empowering new phase of life, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.