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Shaunie O'Neal Talks About 'Basketball Wives' and the Tiger Woods Scandal

by Kelly Woo, posted Apr 9th 2010 2:00PM
Shaunie O'Neal, Basketball WivesIt's an invasion of the wives!

On television, women are front and center, not just standing behind their men. There are the 'Desperate Housewives,' the 'Real Housewives' around the country, the 'Good Wife' ... Now comes 'Basketball Wives,' from creator/executive producer Shaunie O'Neal (ex-wife to Shaquille).

'Basketball Wives' (premiering Sun., April 11 at 10PM ET) follows the wives, girlfriends and significant others of NBA players. O'Neal spoke to AOL TV about why she created the show, what Shaq thinks about it and the Tiger Woods scandal.Shaunie O'Neal, Basketball WivesIt's an invasion of the wives!

On television, women are front and center, not just standing behind their men. There are the 'Desperate Housewives,' the 'Real Housewives' around the country, the 'Good Wife' ... Now comes 'Basketball Wives,' from creator/executive producer Shaunie O'Neal (ex-wife to Shaquille).

'Basketball Wives' (premiering Sun., April 11 at 10PM ET) follows the wives, girlfriends and significant others of NBA players. O'Neal spoke to AOL TV about why she created the show, what Shaq thinks about it and the Tiger Woods scandal.

Right now, it seems like there's a lot of interest in the women behind powerful men. Is that why you wanted to do the show?
Absolutely. People always used to ask me, "What do you guys do? Aren't you bored when they're on the road and you're not doing anything?" We are holding the household 100 percent whether they're in town or not in town ... because when they're in town, they're still working. And then at the same time, your personal dreams and aspirations get put on hold. My kids come first and I loved every bit of it, but at the same time, I do realize there are things I probably could have done and I didn't because I'm too busy, you know, making it to all the games and trying to make it to all the charity events and be on their side as much as I possibly could or needed to be. You kind of get lost, but [on the show] you'll get to see that we have other things going on.



Was it difficult to file for divorce and have it all be on camera?
To be honest, it's not all on camera (laughs). I'm not a full-time cast member on the show. I make appearances and do some narrating on the show,so I didn't have to play out my whole life on camera. I wouldn't do that under any circumstance anyway, what with having five small children. Both Shaquille and I, we would never want that.

Do you envision becoming a bigger part of the show in the future?
Oh, absolutely. In the midst of my personal live, things were happening, and what I had planned before the show started filming [and after] were two different things. So life in itself took on a whole other avenue while the show was filming, so it caused some changes in the plan a little bit. For the most part, I'm 110 percent in.

How does this show compare to Bravo's 'Real Housewives' franchise?
I don't watch all of them so I don't want to put all of them in the same category but the ones that I've seen are some ladies that are trying to do something for TV. I don't know. That comes across really mean, but it just seems like these ladies just got on TV and are now trying to develop some type of business ... Most of [the 'Basketball Wives'] are moms and have some purposes or some business of their own outside of the guy. And people can also relate to the lifestyle -- everybody knows the basketball players, so you get to see the woman behind that man or on the side of that man or used to be with that man or whatever it is. I can kind of relate to them just because I know the guy, you know what I mean? I kind of get it. I think that makes it a little more appealing.

The show's timing seems fortuitous, considering the whole Tiger Woods scandal.
Uh, yeah. Everybody seems to kind of put the two together because of subjects that we're dealing with and because of what Tiger has been dealing with. And I get it. I get how it kind of played onto each other but again, I'm just over the Tiger thing. It is what it is, we know, we get it. Whether it's one girl or 20 girls, it's still the same pain and embarrassment.

Do you have any advice for other athletes' wives going through difficult personal situations right now?
All of us experience highs and lows. There were definitely great highs for me. I'm not going to sit up here and say it was all bad or it was the worst thing ever because that's not true. I just think that for other women, we need to continue our purpose and continue our goals and our dreams because it can so easily fall to the wayside in that lifestyle with the constant moving. And most women would put our family first, which is a good thing, but at the same time, you can lose yourself ... and you look up and it's five years later and you haven't done anything that you really in your heart desired to do. So, don't lose yourself in the midst of being a supportive wife or a supportive girlfriend or whatever you are -- don't lose yourself.

Basketball Wives cast
left to right: Jennifer Williams, Royce Reed, Erikka Moxam, Shaunie O'Neal,
Evelyn Lozada, Suzie Ketchem and Gloria Govan


How did you get the rest of the women in the cast get involved?
Most of the girls are my friends. Outside of Suzie, I knew all of the girls already. And I let the girls know: Listen, this is an idea that I had and I would love for you to be a part of it. This is what I see for the show and this is my goal and this is how I'd like to be portrayed and showing this side of us. I don't want anything fake or staged -- you have to be you.They know me and they know I would never have them in just a mess. You know what I mean? I'd never feel comfortable with that. And I felt like, whatever you guys are not comfortable with saying or doing or whatever on a camera, don't do it. I don't want you to be doing things because you think you have to be doing it for ratings or anything like that. Just be you. And I think that that made them comfortable and willing and all that and that's exactly what she did.

What can you tell us about this first season?
You have Royce, who is a baby mama and an ex-cheerleader -- dancer. They don't call them cheerleaders anymore, so dancer and she kind of has a bad rap because she is a dancer and dancers get put in that category. But you get a wild, crazy kind of out-of control, say-anything girl at the beginning and you see her mature through the show just by having a group of women around her that are like, "Hey that's nuts. Cut it out." And just telling her how it is. You get a few groupie story lines. And the crazy part is people might think, "Oh, that was planned or staged." No. These types of things happen all the time. I know people are really interested in the whole groupie deal but it's real and it happens on TV.

Shaunie O'Neal and Shaquille O'NealWhat does Shaq think of the show?
Well, he hasn't seen anything. He doesn't have a clue what the show look like, but he was there when I came up with the idea. We used to talk about ... good cities [to tape in] and what have you. So we talked about it and he's proud of me; he's very proud and glad that I'm able to get my dreams off the ground. But you know, I'll wait to see when the show comes on what he'll have to say (laughs). He shouldn't have anything bad to say.

It seems like you're very cordial.
We are. We're very cordial, very, very cordial. We talk almost every day, to be honest. That's the only right way to have it. We're good. We're at a good place.

What other projects are coming up for you?
Hopefully we'll be doing 'NFL Wives' and I'm working on doing my own personal shoe line so I've got a few projects on the table. I'm staying busy, and I'm loving it. I love just the constant busy-ness and going and the good feedback. I can't wait for Sunday.

Any interest in acting?
You know what? No. Not really. Honestly, even going into this show, I was just, in my mind, going to be the executive producer -- do everything behind the scenes, wasn't going to participate and of course, I end up participating (laughs). I'm glad I did because I enjoyed the experience. No, I don't consider myself an actress or anything. I'm open to hearing everything at this point. I want to take all meetings and hear all ideas ... and I will not say no to anything before I hear it out, so I think the sky's the limit.

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lovey

I thought the show would be better. Truely not what I expected. I hope they all find happiness in their relationships.

May 30 2010 at 10:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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