*Shaunie O’Neal has finally addressed why very few cast members are married on VH1’s “Basketball Wives,” which is currently airing season 9.
O’Neal, who serves as executive producer, came up with the concept for the reality TV series when she was still married to Shaquille O’Neal. Speaking to Tamron Hall on her talk show set to air on Friday, she explained why she found it challenging to cast women who were married to current and/or former NBA stars.
“Well, you know, honestly when it first started, it was going to be wives. When I had the idea I was a basketball wife. That’s kind of where it started. But it has evolved into, not so much,” she said, per MadameNoire. “I will be honest. If you are a wife and you come on this show or do reality TV at all, it opens up Pandora’s box. Honestly. People are not nice. So for a successful flourishing marriage, you have to be really, really strong to join this journey,” she explained.
— Basketball Wives (@BasketballWives) February 18, 2021
“It’s not so much a message, I think it just ended up being the way it is and how it all works. It’s a lot easier for a woman who’s been in a relationship with these guys or maybe just dating to be on this show than it is a — there aren’t a lot of Jackie Christies [laughs],” O’Neal continued. Jackie Christie is in a successful long-standing marriage and Doug supports her on this show and he participates. It’s not a lot of those guys, so it’s hard. It’s hard to be a wife of a player and do reality TV. That’s just my opinion.”
Per MadameNoire, a number of women who joined the show as wives have ended up getting a divorce, including Evelyn Lozada, Jennifer Williams and Malaysia Pargo. In a recent interview with the outlet, Jackie Christie opened up about her 26-year marriage to Doug Christie.
“It is definitely communication. A lot of relationships start suffering when people aren’t communicating,” she said in February. “Communication is the key to long-lasting relationships because you can put how you feel out there. Being best friends, having fun, letting go of inhibitions, not being hung up on trying to be something that you’re not or trying to relay your relationship with someone else and comparing and all of that. That will damage or slow the process of having an awesome relationship down.”
Season 9 of “Basketball Wives” airs Tuesdays at 9/8C on VH1.