Sometimes staring at the woman in the mirror is like looking into a hallogram of changing faces. For Deb Lorenzo, wife of Murder Inc. founder Irv Gotti, spending the last year dissecting her own reflection contributed to her personal growth and the betterment of her family. After witnessing the dynamics of her dysfunctional marriage in living color on VH1’s “Gotti’s Way,” Lorenzo decided to give her mind, body and spirit a much needed facelift. As she gears up for the premiere of “Gotti’s Way 2,” ESSENCE.com caught up with the mother of three to discuss her eye-opener, setting boundaries and why she no longer loves her husband.
ESSENCE.COM: Last season’s finale was pretty ambiguous and left viewers wondering about your future with Irv. What can we expect this season?
DEB LORENZO: You’re going to see more of me breaking the cycle and speaking up for myself. Last season I was extremely quiet and just accepting of the way things were. Watching myself on television was an eye-opener. I was like, Omigod, this is what you’ve been dealing with? Poor thang. Are you crazy? Get it together! When you’re in a situation you don’t see what the world see; it’s like my eyes were wide shut but not anymore.
ESSENCE.COM: Hey, clarity is a beautiful thing. What is the first promise you made to yourself in your journey toward change?
LORENZO: Setting boundaries. I’ve never set boundaries and just allowed whatever to go on. Even now, I’ve cut out him staying with me and the kids on the weekends. I let him know you can’t do that because I have to get on with my own life. It’s hard for me still to tell him you have to take the kids because in some odd way I feel so guilty, like I’m breaking up my family. It makes me feel like I’m the bad guy and I’m somehow disturbing the times we do share. However, this is the hand I’ve been dealt and I’m playing it out.
ESSENCE.COM: So what was the final straw?
LORENZO: Well, I’ve dealt with so much in all the years I’ve been with Irv, from the cheating and everything else that I promised myself I’ll never do it again. I had to set these boundaries for me so that when I move forward in any other relationship my boundaries will be respected. I can honestly say that I used to hate Irv and everyone affiliated with him because I was so angry, bitter and hurt, but once I learned to forgive and was saved, everything started to fall into place. I’m back in school now and I’m just loving where I am in my life, spiritually and otherwise.
ESSENCE.COM: As a mom of a teenage daughter, did she also inspire you to make a change to set a better example for her?
LORENZO: Absolutely. I talk to her every day because she’s old enough to understand what’s going on. So I talk to her about breaking the cycle, getting her education so she doesn’t have to depend on any man, and not even just that but so that she can be empowered and confident in what she has to offer herself first.
ESSENCE.COM: So are you hoping that having Irv adhere to your rules will help toward your reconciliation or are you living the single life?
LORENZO: Honestly, there’s nothing there between me and Irv. That’s my buddy. That’s the only way I look at him now. We joke around, we still fight, but it’s different. Of course, I don’t want to see anything happen to him and we do love each other but we are not in love. Regarding me dating, I have before but it never felt right so I don’t. I know I wouldn’t want to date someone who is “separated’ because I’d always think that there’s a chance they could get back together and I feel like it’s a sin. For me to truly move forward, I need to end this first and settle it up. I just hope that my kids will be good with whatever the outcome.
Tune in to the premiere of “Gotti’s Way 2,” tonight on VH1 at 10 P.M. EST.