Gloria Govan (wife-to-be of Orlando Magic forward Matt Barnes) is a smart, educated and opinionated young woman. But you don’t want to mess with her! Here, she tells Latina.com her side of what went down on VH1’s reality series, Basketball Diaries.
A lot of people don’t know you're part Latina. Who’s Latin in your family?
My mom is Mexican. She was born in Tijuana, Mexico and came to the U.S when she was nine.
Is it true that you and your fiancé, Matt have known each other since you were teenagers?
Yeah. I was in 8th grade when I met him and I remember I had braces and looked a disaster! [Laughs]. We didn't start dating until 2006 when he was playing for the Golden State Warriors and came back to Oakland, my hometown. That's when we ran into each other again.
Lets get right to the drama! The girls on Basketball Wives seemed to dislike you, but it wasn’t clear why. Do you think they were jealous of you for some reason?
I think so. I am much younger than the majority of the girls on the show, so I think it was frustrating for them to see a younger girl in a loving relationship with a family.
Why do you think your castmates got so bent out of shape when you defended your sister over the whole “Did-she-or-didn't-she-sleep-with Shaquille” scandal?
That shocked the hell out of me! How could someone not understand that blood is thicker than water? I was like, "Do you really think that I would choose somebody over my family? Do you think that I care about you that much? I just met you!" I don't think so!
Do you feel like you were portrayed fairly on the show?
I would say that it doesn't accurately show who I am in the fact that I don't have time for drama. I have two kids who are 18 months, so I don’t really hang out with these women and I am not interested in meeting up with them or throwing water in anybody’s face. It's hard for me being a stay at home mom and sometimes feeling like a single mom because Matt travels four to six months a year. I think the show really missed out on showing my struggle.
What annoys you most about how you were portrayed on the show?
I'm human and I get my feelings hurt about what people say; but I'm also very independent. So what irritated me the most was that sometimes they showed me caring a little too much about how these women perceived me and that’s not the case! I couldn’t care less.
Did you feel like some of your differences with your castmates stemmed from the fact that you were the only multiracial girl in the house?
A little bit. I’m multiracial: Black and Mexican, and it was a little awkward. I had different opinions, different perspectives on things, because I view them from different races. I know how it is to be the Black girl and I know how it is to be the Mexican.
Do you regret doing the show?
As far as portraying what basketball wives are like, absolutely. I regret it to the fullest, because that’s not what we’re about. The women I know are nothing like that.
Did your appearance on the show have any affect on your relationship with Matt?
It gave me the opportunity to realize how it is to get up and travel and the stress that comes with not being able to be around your family. It gave Matt the opportunity to be with the kids 24/7 as well. So we both got a chance to walk in each other’s shoes a little bit and that helped us.
What were some of the cons?
People trying to get a hold of me to tell me negative things definitely brought me some stress. It can really ruin your relationship. But Matt and I try our absolute hardest to ignore that and continue to do what we’ve done, and that is to be happy!
Initially, you were told that it was a show about independent women. Do you feel like you were tricked into doing something that turned out to be very different?
Absolutely. Initially I was told this show was going to be about women trying to step outside the shadows of their significant others in order to show their empowerment. There’s this stereotype about basketball wives that we have a bunch of nannies, and that we’re gold diggers and that we go to spas and shop all day. A lot of us are practically single moms with no help. We may shop a little but it’s not like we’re going to Neiman Marcus and blowing $12,000. I was excited to do the initial show. It was the whole groupie drama—that’s not what I was about.
Finally, I know you’re getting married. Congratulations! Are you planning a big wedding?
Thank you! It’s August 21st and we're hosting 200 people. It’s going to be in Santa Barbara, California!