Gloria Govan might be the black sheep on Vh1’s Basketball Wives but she could care less. Her main focus is clearing up what she feels is a negative perception of women who are romantically involved with athletes.
“I hope people take away from [Basketball Wives] that although we are very fortunate, we’re not all gold diggers and some of us are educated. It’s not all glam and glitz like what’s portrayed, and we do struggle,” Govan tells VIBE. “Basketball wives are strong and we try to bring something to the table.”
Govan, who is scheduled to marry Matt Barnes in August, seems to be the only woman on the show in a seemingly functional relationship. While her cast mates think she's naïve, Govan says she knows better.
“Groupies and infidelity will play as much of a part in your relationship as you allow it to play and that’s one of my main points in the show. If you respect yourself and you demand a certain amount of respect then your significant other will have no choice but to respect that and your guidelines that you’ve set,” Govan says. “I’m not saying that Matt and I are perfect. We’ve had our ups and downs but we work through them. I think these women at the end of the day are very jealous and bitter. And me being the youngest in the cast and crew⎯it’s very easy for them to say they’ve been there, done that. It’s unfortunate that as old as they are, they can’t be more supportive.”
The mother of two also finds herself often defending her big sister’s reputation often. Laura Govan, Gilbert Arenas’ fiancé, is the target of rumors alleging that she was romantically involved with Shaq while he was married to Basketball Wives executive producer, Shaunie O’Neal. Aside from the one episode where Gloria tells Suzie where to go, the sisters manage to stay away from the drama.
“You have to kill them with kindness and kill them with silence,” Govan says, denying the accusations. “[My] sister doesn’t entertain those types of rumors because it’s unnecessary and we know it’s not true.”
Matt Barnes recently voiced his displeasure with the show, saying that he was unhappy with how the women were portrayed. Most people would think that when it comes to reality TV drama is to be expected, but Govan says this was not the case.
“When we were approached by Shaunie in the very beginning she told us both that it was going to be about positive women trying to step outside the shadows of their significant others and really try to bring a positive light to the basketball wives, because a majority of us are stereotyped as being uneducated nutcases spending all of our time shopping with thousands of nannies and very chaotic so we were excited,” Govan says, explaining the couple’s initial interest in her joining the cast. “Matt and I were both excited to show people that this is not how it is so I think when we saw the finished product we were like, ‘Wait a minute.’ We were trying to buy coffee and someone sold us tea. This is the complete opposite of what we were told the show was going to be about.”
Govan won’t be doing season two if the opportunity presents itself, but she maintains that she’ll ride out the rest of the season with a positive vibe despite not always agreeing with the other women.
“This group of women aren’t who I would be associated with in reality so you can expect me to be the outcast in the rest of the episodes. But besides that you’ll also see me being supportive at some [positive] events in future episodes,” Govan says. “I just hope that young women can take away from me that we [NBA wives] don’t just have our hands out all the time. You can be young and mature and have the life and a respected relationship, you don’t have to sell yourself short for anything.” ⎯Starrene Rhett