After a decade of marriage, hot Hollywood couple, Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker, can still ignite the flames of romance with more than just their stunning looks. Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker began their fairy tale on the set Soul Food, and have since progressed into a family with beautiful children, successful careers, and a chemistry married couples aspire to achieve.
Now, they’re taking their talents to FOX for The Boris & Nicole Show, where the pair will tackle relationship ruts, beauty regimens and any romantic concerns their audience may have. “This is going to be one for the books,” Nicole tells VIBE. “It’s rare in a career that you get a new challenge.”
After several prosperous TV shows, films, and on-going business ventures, the wife/mother/entrepreneur expressed only one worry she had about switching lanes in her career with her husband. “The only reason I’m nervous is because I’m sitting in the host’s chair now,” she admitted.
Still, the Kodjoes are up for the challenge. Before the twosome debut their daytime talk show on July 6, take a peek into the couple’s charmed life below.
VIBE: How does it feel to go from a scripted television show/movie screen/ Broadway plays/business ventures and NOW back to TV but with your own talk show debuting on one of the biggest television networks?
Nicole Ari Parker: Well the great thing about this project, is that we love working together, we miss working together, and the timing is right to work together again, so it feels right. We’re happy…we’re excited!
Boris Kodjoe: What she said. [laughs]
What brought this new venture to life? Is it something you two always thought about doing together?
Boris: We sort of conceptualized this for radio five years ago but we couldn’t do it for scheduling reasons, and then last year, we talked about it again, and we figured, ‘Hey, why not do it for TV? The time is right.’ That’s when we had a meeting with Fox and they seemed very excited about it, and here we are today.
Nicole: People have approached us about reality television and behind the scenes in our home, but that never felt like “the right fit.” [Ed. Note: The couple said this simultaneously.] So it took a minute but we’re here and we’re happy.
What are some topics that we can expect to hear on the show?
Boris: We’ll be discussing current events, everything in relationships, love, marriage, sex, parenting.
Nicole: Eyelashes falling off, all kinds of fun stuff.
Boris: Health, wellness, cooking and everything that people can relate to. We’ll have a great forum to talk about these things. We’ll bring out very individual specific perspectives to the table; she’s the mother, the wife, I am the father, the husband… I think that’s something that has never been done before in daytime TV; that you have two hosts which such distinctive perspectives discussing topics and issues.
Are you nervous about what viewers will think?
Boris and Nicole: Nooooo!
Boris: You can’t worry about stuff you can’t control. All we can do is be ourselves.
Nicole: This is going to be one for the books; it’s rare in a career that you get a new challenge. The only reason I’m nervous is because I’m sitting in the host’s chair now. I’ve always been on the other side of the couch. There’s a gift and a skill that you have, a gift that Kelly and Michael have, that Steve Harvey has, that Ellen [DeGeneres] has, that [Queen] Latifah has—you have to listen. You’re a talk show host but you actually have to listen. Your guests might get nervous, they might get choked up, there might be this pregnant pause, and you have to keep the show moving. It’s a lot and I’m up for the challenge.
With the success of all-women talk shows like The View, The Talk and The Real, as well as Rev Run and Tyrese’s relationship talk show coming to OWN, what kind of audience are you aiming for?
Boris: When you’re talking about daytime, you’re talking about a female-skewed audience, so that’s whom we’re going to be talking to. I bring an aspect to the game that represents a male-skewed demographic; opinions that have been neglected every once in a while, so it’s going to be interesting to see how people will react to that.
Nicole: We’re also at a place where we still remember what it was like to be single. We got married, and had kids pretty quickly, so our kids are still young. We can bring in some 20-year-olds and 30-year-olds, who are trying to get to this place, but at the same time, we’re still learning how to be grown. And we’re still interested in learning ourselves so we’ll bring in experts [who can speak on] how to make a marriage last, the secret to healthy parenting, etcetera. Our demographic is pretty vast. We’ll be able to relate to many different people, race, age, gender—it’s going to be fun. We’re going to talk about all of the crazy dating websites that are out there, and what to do when you get into a rut. These are real-time, happening right now things that we’re going through and we’re surrounded by.
You guys have been working with each other for a long time, especially since you’ve been married and have a family. When are the rare times that you two are apart from one another?
Nicole: It seems like we’re together a lot and a lot of people have this idea like, ‘Oh my god, you’re going to work together?’ but we actually work in separate jobs a lot.
Boris: Well, I just came from Africa, so I was gone for three months.
Nicole: He was gone for 12 weeks! I was doing all of the math homework by myself; I was parting the hair and making the ponytails by myself. Life separates us all of the time. I think that the image out there is that we’re always together, because as a family, we try to be there for our kids and for each other. But you know you have to go where the work is and in this industry, sometimes you get separated so when he walks through the door after being gone for 12 weeks, I was really happy, and I’m really happy to get started on the show. Life keeps it fresh.
What’s the most recent argument you two had and why?
Nicole: Ummmm, I think we had about three little ones today.
Boris: One, she was mad that I didn’t wake her up, but I did wake her up. She just went back to sleep.
Nicole: I’m trying to get on my little fitness schedule, and he knows how tired we are, especially during this big press tour. He could’ve nudged me!
Boris: She got up, and went to the bathroom. That’s when my work is over. That was my job—I woke her up. And then she came back to bed and went to sleep again. That’s not my fault.
Nicole: And then he was texting on the phone and we had a deadline and I was like, ‘We gotta go’ and he didn’t listen. He was like, ‘Why are you yelling at me?’ and I’m like, ‘I’m not yelling at you.’ You know, regular stuff! Then we just had lunch and I was trying to explain something to him and he walked away, like I wasn’t talking. We fight, but we don’t let it linger too long—you can’t! It will ruin everything; especially with the kids…it’s just too much. We fight, and we fight good and then we make up.
What are the small things that you two celebrate? Do you still make time for date nights?
Boris: That’s one thing we have to remind ourselves to do, because life happens quickly and we have kids. They grow up so fast. You have to be able to just stop and cherish the moments.
Nicole: Date night is work! It really is. By the time you calm down and put the kids asleep, it’s like do you really want to go to a 10pm movie right now or do you want to go to bed?
Boris: You got to force yourself to do it and it’s worth it.
Nicole: But the other day, I gotta tell you, we live in a place where you can walk around, even at night Our nanny was still at the house and he asked me to take a walk. Hold my hand, talk about nothing, and go for a walk. It was the best thing ever. He probably saw it on a talk show and said let me try it! [Laughs] But it worked!
Boris: The little things matter. We have big lives, so the little things matter.
Nicole: Another thing that I want to tell all of the men out there about that whole, ‘My girlfriend texts me too much’ [situation]. You want to know the secret? Text us first for no reason! Let me tell you, one time [Boris] texted me, ‘How you doin’?’ My husband, randomly at 2 o’clock, texted me, ‘How you doin’?’ I felt so loved and thought about. It wasn’t me going, ‘Hey what’s up? What you doing? Don’t forget to pick up this etcetera.’ It was just random caring. I left him alone all day, and I floated!
What advice would you give to newly dating celebrity couples?
Boris: I always say take your time.
Nicole: I think it’s more than just ‘take your time.’ I think it’s also create your private life. You know the cameras are following. You have to establish something at home that’s between you two.
We have big lives, so the little things matter.
What about newlywed celeb couples?
Boris: Stay married, you know! Give each other a shot. A lot of these people, as soon as a challenge occurs or adversity shows up, they run. I think you have to give each other the opportunity to grow and to face some of those challenges together. There are so many distractions in Hollywood and the “lights” are on all of the time. It’s almost like you’re exhausted before you even start. They have to just take each other in and give each other a chance to exist together for a while. Don’t have kids right away, take your time. Be married, travel together, and enjoy your time together. I keep reminding [Nicole] too, we were here first. Sometimes, it gets overwhelming with the kids, and all of the stuff we have to do with the different companies, and projects, but we were here first and we have to honor that.
Beyoncé and Jay seem to have made being a power couple more trendy. How can a husband and wife manage a successful relationship while still working together?
Nicole: I’m not an expert, and on our show, we will bring in experts. Remember, we are only 10 years deep but I think the number one thing is that they want to be there. There is nothing else to do. If you love somebody and that’s where you want to be, then that’s where you’ll be.
Magic Mike XXL is hitting theaters in July. Nicole, would you let Boris star in a similar film? Boris, would you let your wife watch or star in a movie like that?
Nicole: He is my personal Magic Mike. Have you seen his body>
Boris: Do you know of the movie Boogie Nights? She was in that movie. Watch it, and ask me about It again.
What’s your advice to couples who may be insecure about letting their significant other ogle at hot celebs?
Boris: Why is that a threat? You have to be confident, stop looking right and left. Don’t worry about what the next person is doing.
Nicole: I mean, he knew I kept a Trey Songz poster…
Boris: When we were doing Soul Food, Trey Songz was three, okay?
How different do you think your lives would be if you never met? What would you be doing?
Boris: I never thought about that at all.
Boris: I’d probably still be hustling, you know just trying to make it… [Laughs]
Nicole: I’m exactly where I want to be!
Boris: I’d be miserable, with a lot of women. [Laughs]
Nicole: We have been through a lot during these 10 years. I wouldn’t give it up for anything. I’m a better person. I’m grateful. As we say, it’s never a dull moment en la casa Kodjoe.