Everyone knows Evelyn Lozada made a name for herself on Basketball Wives by throwing verbal jabs—and champagne bottles. But after she famously became the victim of domestic violence, she took a deep look at her life, her image and her future—and started making profound changes. Now she’s found a new purpose in helping domestic violence victims and building a fitness empire—and in proving skeptics wrong.
Moments before Basketball Wives star Evelyn Lozada walked down the aisle with NFL player Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson in an elaborate ceremony at a Caribbean resort on July 4, 2012, she felt the earth move under her feet—and not in the metaphorical way. “As I was putting my dress on, an earthquake hit the island of St. Martin,” says Lozada, 37. “A lot of things happened that day that, in hindsight, were probably bad signs.”
Just weeks later, in an infamous event that crashed gossip sites and flooded Twitter, bad signs became reality. Johnson was arrested on domestic violence charges after head-butting his new wife during an argument over a receipt for condoms she’d found in their car, leaving Lozada with a gash on her forehead that required six stitches. A day later, the Miami Dolphins dropped the wide receiver from their roster. Two days after that, Lozada filed for divorce from her husband of 41 days.
By September, the couple’s divorce was final. But Lozada’s own journey in reshaping her life from rubble—a journey that includes focusing on herself and her family, conferring with a life coach, and believe it or not, being rebaptized—was just beginning.