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‘It Opens Up Pandora’s Box’: Shaunie O’Neal Reveals Why There Aren’t Many Wives on ‘Basketball Wives’

Basketball Wives” star and executive producer Shaunie O’Neal candidly discussed in an interview with “The Tamron Hall Show” on March 12 why many cast members aren’t married. Shaunie also opened up about how her “creative” ideas were overshadowed by her marriage to former NBA player Shaquille O’Neal

The mother of five began by saying although she had a high-profile relationship with Shaq, she felt she was destined to be more than just somebody’s wife. “I think that I always felt that way, but with being married to him, we were constantly on the move. I just felt like I was constantly supporting him, which is fine. I was a mom of five, and it was a lot, so I never really had the time. I had so many aspirations, so many dreams, so many goals that just weren’t supported in that lifestyle at the time.”

Shaunie O’Neal discusses on “The Tamron Hall Show” why there aren’t a lot of wives on “Basketball Wives.” Photo: @TamronHallShow/YouTube Screenshot

She added, “So when we got a divorce, it was like you know what it’s my time. I know I could do this. I know I have great ideas. It’s time for me to put myself first in that aspect and have some type of career and have some type of, you know, legacy for my kids because you know their dad is who he is and he’s amazing. But I want to be amazing too, so you know, just a drive that I always had.”

The “BBW” star revealed when she initially started the hit VH1 series in 2010, the goal was to have basketball players’ wives on the show. 

“Well, you know, honestly when it first started it was going to be wives. Like when I had the idea I was a basketball wife, so that’s kind of where it started. But it has evolved into not so much because I will be honest I think that if you are a wife and you come on this show or do reality TV at all it opens up Pandora’s box for, you know; honestly like people are not nice.”

Shaunie O’Neal Photo:@shaunieoneal5/Instagram

The 46-year-old also suggested a couple has to be “really strong” if they’re going to embark on the journey of being a part of a reality show, while explaining why it is easier to work with single people. “So you know for a successful flourishing marriage, you have to be really, really strong to join this journey. So it’s not so much a message; I think it just ended up being the way it is and how this all works. It’s a lot easier for a woman who has been in a relationship with these guys or maybe just dating to be on this show.”

Shaunie summed up her comments by saying that there aren’t many like her “BBW” co-star Jackie Christie in reality television when it comes to having a supportive spouse. Jackie and retired NBA player Doug Christie have been married for almost 26 years and share three children. 

“There aren’t a lot of Jackie Christies. 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 to be a wife of a player and do reality TV; that’s my opinion.”

Season nine of “Basketball Wives” premiered last month with returning cast members Shaunie O’Neal, Jackie Christie, Evelyn Lozada, Jennifer WilliamsKristen ScottOgom “O.G.” Chijindu and Feby Torres. The show also featured three newcomers: Nia and Noria Dorsey and an ex of Lamar Odom, Liza Morales, with whom he had three children. During this season, the women tackled unresolved issues with one another as well as the effects of the global pandemic and social injustices. 

“Basketball Wives” airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. EST on VH1.

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