It takes courage to put your own relationship on blast. The show’s star, Gloria Govan, and her fiancé Los Angles Lakers player Matt Barnes, will tell you it’s not easy to have the world watching your life and commenting on it. Fans may think they know all about Matt and Gloria’s love from watching the show, but if you ask them, they’re just watching “good TV.”
We caught up with the happy couple to see what their life is like off screen. They say it’s what you don’t see that matters most to them. Read on as they set the record straight and let us go where the cameras don’t.
ESSENCE.COM: Matt, after hearing viewers’ reactions to the show, what would you want them to know about Gloria?
MATT BARNES: Just how real and genuine she is. She can hit the red carpet, but then she’s at home with two pigtails taking care of the boys and making dinner and cleaning up — really [I want them to know] just how real her life is. I think there’s a perception of “Basketball Wives” from the first show that they’re all about red carpets, clubbing, and throwing drinks, and honestly that’s just what sells and what VH1 wants. That’s not realistic; that’s not real life. She really is a mom just like everyone else out there. She’s also a high school basketball coach and she does a lot of regular things you don’t see.
ESSENCE.COM: Gloria, what’s your response to the comments you hear about your relationship with Matt and the show?
GLORIA GOVAN: We’re comfortable with where we are in our relationship. We’re really solid and we’re happy. That’s why we canceled our wedding in the first place, because we realized it wasn’t for us — it was for everyone else. It was for friends, family, viewers, everyone. That was probably the best thing we could have done. I think Matt is at a different place in his life right now. He’s 31 and he’s been in the league for ten years, which is a really long time, and he’s more ready. But I’m just, like, still not there yet. The last thing I want to do is put him in a headlock and drag him down the aisle. If the wheel’s not broke… why fix it?
ESSENCE.COM: What’s it like being parents to twin boys?
MATT: Fatherhood is the best thing that ever happened to me. They’ll be three in November. They’re just amazing little men. What I like is that no matter what goes on in our lives, I’m still their hero. Everything could be going wrong, but to them I’m Superman and I can do nothing wrong. That feels so good to me.
GLORIA: The kids are hilarious. They’re so bad. (laughs) Motherhood is brilliant. It’s so challenging, but I love it. The boys are hard because they’re really rough. They look just like Matt. Kids are fun, but it’s just about balance. The boys go to school, which is my saving grace because I don’t have a nanny. If I can’t get it done before 3pm then I’m just going to have to do it tomorrow. I also coach girls varsity basketball. My boys are so young that they don’t get it yet, but I always tell them, “Mommy has to go work… Mommy works for you.” They also know that daddy plays for the Lakers.
ESSENCE.COM: Gloria, how do you and Matt keep things exciting? Do you have date nights?
GLORIA: We’re super sappy. We’re into the rose petals and candles and balloons. He leaves me notes everywhere — like in my car, my purse, and places I would never think to look in, like my sunglasses case — and then I just find them throughout the day. They’re really brilliant notes. He’s always encouraging and supportive. He’s so cute.
We used to have date night a lot, but now that the boys are older, we stay up later, so it’s hard. We have this really cool balcony that overlooks the water that’s very romantic and chill and we end up there just talking. We catch each other up. We get up and we’re like, wow, it’s 1 o’clock in the morning. We try to chill. We used to go on walks all the time, but with my schedule and his schedule it’s hard. Plus, I’m trying to do “Dancing with the Stars” next season so it’s just going to get even worse. I’m excited. I love to dance… I love to cut rug. It’s fun just to let it loose.
ESSENCE.COM: How do you handle the criticism the show receives?
MATT: I’m the only man currently in the NBA. Everything that goes on on the show I hear about later. We originally thought the show was going to portray women stepping out of our shadow and raising kids and their day-to-day activities, but they’re showing red carpets, fights, drinks in the face, and girls sleeping around. I’m the sole representative of the NBA as far as the show is concerned, so everyone’s kind of looking at you crazy. I do it in support of her, but if it were just for me, I wouldn’t do it.
Good TV is not about people being happy; it’s drama. Gloria and I doing well isn’t going to push the ratings like someone fighting. So it’s kind of like a double-edged sword. We also have to use it as a platform to do the things she wants to do.
GLORIA: It’s tough to kind of handle because people are cruel on Twitter. It’s black and white. The people who love you hate you and the people who tweet you are also the people who are driving your success, so it’s hard. You kind of want to slap them and you also want to be like, “Thank you.” I don’t read the blogs. Twitter’s brutal. People on Twitter can be very hateful. People will tweet me something so cruel at like 8 o’clock in the morning. I try not to read it at all. I feel bad because there are some really cool fans and stuff, but you know, by the time I get to reading them I’m already upset and have a bad attitude. I’m always in trouble about that. Sometimes I say I can take it and then I read something and I’m just in a bad mood. People are funny. Occasionally it will get to me.