Matt Barnes, Gloria Govan: 'We're committed and dedicated to working on our relationship'
Viewers watched Gloria Govan and Matt Barnes balance love and basketball on Vh1’s hit reality show, Basketball Wives, earlier in the year. Although not yet a wife, Govan was the only woman on the show in a seemingly functional relationship but she often came under scrutiny by some of her fellow cast mates who felt she was too naïve. Govan was frank about her feelings toward the women, telling VIBE that she thought they were jealous and bitter while Barnes took to his Twitter to express his disdain.
The couple was vocal about not returning for season two and excited about their wedding, which was originally scheduled for August 21. But then the game changed. When news surfaced online last week that the wedding was cancelled, it spiraled into a windmill of gossip that convinced most people the couple had split.
However, Barnes and Govan revealed that they are still together, still plan to marry and in a new twist of events, they’ve decided to return to Basketball Wives 2 but under certain conditions. VIBE caught up with the couple to get the exclusive on their new developments. —Starrene Rhett
VIBE: The word went from the wedding being cancelled to you guys breaking up, what happened?
Gloria Govan: I think because we postponed the wedding people just took it and ran with that and started challenging each other to see who can come up with the most ridiculous story. But I think that’s how it started. I know Matt had let his groomsmen know as I had let a lot of my family members know that we were postponing the wedding, via text message and I think that also sparked a lot of our—one of Matt’s old teammate’s wedding that we were also suppose to be attending [but didn’t]—I think that also sparked a lot of the rumors that got out.
Why did you decide to postpone it?
GG: Matt and I feel like marriage is something that should be rushed into. It wasn’t any outside party. We’re committed and dedicated to working on our relationship and we’re still together but again, we felt like this wasn’t something that was in our hearts at the time. Marriage is something that is definitely our goal but again, we’re not rushing into something that we just feel like isn’t right for us at the time so we’re just taking the time to work on our family.
You guys are moving to LA, how did Matt end up with the Lakers?
Matt Barnes: What happened was I was a free agent. I was under contract with Orlando and I opted out of my contract thinking I was gonna go back to Orlando, and some things just fell apart there and I didn’t go back to Orlando. It came down to the Lakers and the Heat and the deciding factor was that I’m close to home in LA. I went to college in LA and grew up a huge Laker fan so it was a great opportunity to be a part of a championship organization.
So with the move in progress is it safe to say that there’s no new wedding date yet?
MB: Yeah. There’s no new wedding date yet.
What’s your response to the rumors about your break up and alleged infidelity?
MB: That’s something we set ourselves up for. We opened our family life up to the world, doing this TV show and we’ve always seen it from afar with celebrities going through their stuff and troubles where everything is well documented. And I know from being in professional sports for a while that a lot you see and hear is not true. Gloria heard everything—just crazy stuff—but we know what’s going on and our family knows what’s going on so that’s what’s most important.
Speaking of Gloria, Matt, there was a popular blog that posted an alleged testimony from an alleged inside source, saying that your relationship had ended because you realized that Gloria was a gold digger and that she got pregnant on purpose to trap you and had alienated you from your family. What’s your response to that?
It’s another rumor. My brother has lived with us at certain points. We’re in Sacramento every summer. My dad hangs out with Gloria and the kids because most of the day I’m gone working out so it’s just Gloria and my dad and the kids. And then my sister and Gloria hang out. So like I said a lot of rumors are gonna be flying left and right and that was one of the reasons we postponed the wedding because me and her weren’t ready [but] it was no outside influences or anything like that.
What’s your response, Gloria?
I don’t really have a comment about it. I wish I knew who that person was so they could confront me about it face to face but for what it is, I don’t pay attention to those types of rumors. Matt and my family are extremely close and I always say blood is thicker than water. I firmly believe that so to alienate Matt from his family would be absolutely ridiculous.
Matt, you took to twitter to air out your grievances about the women on Basketball Wives. Elaborate on what set you off.
I just think their focus and their attention could have been in a different direction considering that me and Gloria and Eric [Williams] and Jennifer were the only couples on the show. And I think the whole thing with Shaq and Gloria’s sister kind of went south and kind of dropped while the show was on and I just feel like Shaunie tried to flip the script and blame Gloria, when Gloria had nothing to do with it. And then the rest of those girls—Evelyn and all those other girls—want to tell their sob stories and air their dirty laundry to the world and just because as a couple we choose not to do that doesn’t make us no better or no worse than anybody else. We just decided to keep what’s personal between us in our household and I think that’s how every family should treat it. If you saw the other women on the show acting a mess crying and telling their story, then that’s well within their rights but I just didn’t like how they tried to attack myself and Gloria—poke holes and dig up dirt—that’s really none of their business.
Do you still have hard feelings?
MB: It’s not hard feelings. I just take them for what they are. I wouldn’t want to be associated with them and I don’t know what’s gonna happen when I see them, to tell the truth, but I don’t really have hard feelings. It is what it is.
And you’re taping season two right?
MB: Yeah. We’re taping somewhat. I think the season has already s started [taping] and we’re gonna jump on a little later. I think it’s gonna be more just our family. That’s what I’m hoping, that’s what Gloria and I’s understanding are. So hopefully it just focuses on us and the kids and what we got going on so hopefully we don’t have to associate with the rest of the crew.
Why the decision to join season two after being so vocal about not coming back?
MB: I just think there was a lot of negative but a lot of positive came from it too. Gloria and I sat down and talked and we decided we gotta use the show the way they’re trying to use us. A lot of doors have opened up for her in opportunities that she would like to pursue for a career and a few things have opened up for me as well and with us moving back to LA even more doors are gonna be opened. So we feel that we can use the show the way they’re going to try to use us to get into our lives and our family.
Elaborate on some of those opportunities that opened up.
GG: There’s definitely been more opportunities to do a couple live features—interviews and photoshoots in more national magazines, so those are some of the things that were working on. And you never know I may be even doing something like hosting a show or something of the sort—being a major guest on a talk show. Those are some of the things but the doors are starting to open. We’re still talking to people to see what options are out there for us.
How has your relationship with Shaunie improved?
MB: I haven’t spoken to Shaunie. I spoke to Shaq. Me and him kind of talked a little bit and we settled everything down. Personally, I would have liked to talk to Shaunie on the phone but I never got her number, I never got that opportunity. Maybe me going on Twitter saying stuff was a little out of pocket but at the time, it was the only way for me to reach her. But if we cross paths and me and Shaunie sit down and talk, that would be great. That’s not something I need to do but if it happens it happens. Shaq and I spoke to each other, we’re former teammates and we’re cool. And like I said, if me and Shaunie cross paths and we talk then I’m sure everything will be ok.
And Gloria, will you be interacting with the women like in the first season?
My goal is not to but I have kept in touch with Suzie.
Yeah [laughs]. We’re obviously not the best of friends but we are very cordial. We have a mutual respect for one another so she was the only one I agreed to film with. The other women, I’m not really interested in.
So what will your role on the show be since you’re joining late?
GG: I think our role will show the behind the scenes of what it is to move, to find a house and finding schools. It’s that kind of hardship that I think a lot of people think is so glamorous because we move around so much, but really there’s a lot of work that goes into that. I’m excited for people to see that and see what we deal with on a regular basis.
What do you want people to take away from you the second time around?
GG: I just want people to know our relationship is never nor will it ever be perfect and that’s ok. I don’t think relationships should be rushed to what outside society wants. When you allow letting people in that’s when it starts to get messy and it becomes more stressful than it has to be. Relationships are tough and you have to work at them. You don’t have to submit yourself to what other people think and how they feel you should be doing in a relationship.