Shaunie O'Neal on::: Show's Criticism, Royce, & Her New Dating Life

Vibe sat down w/ Shaunie O’Neal to discuss the hot topics in the media recently, Shaq, her new reality show, her new love life, etc. Read some excerpts here:

VIBE: People think reality TV is scripted so when you do confessionals on your show are you reading from a teleprompter?

Shaunie: No. The first show was more me just giving an overview of what the show is about. It’s about the women in that world and all the issues on the other side without coming off as complaining. It’s our reality so to answer your question, there’s no teleprompter. You’ll see in further episodes, with whatever is going on, that I’m just paraphrasing what I feel about it.

Vibe: What’s your response to the criticism about some of the women not being actual wives?

Shaunie: I always tell people they can talk to Vh1 about that. They named the show, not me. When I [first] stated the concept, it was a lot different. We went through several phases in the two years it took to create the show, a lot changed. Two years ago, Evelyn was shopping for her wedding dress and getting the venue and all that. She would have been a wife by the time the show aired. I was married then. Jen is married. Honestly, when we first casted the show you had at least four actual wives and since then all hell has broke loose but here we are. But Vh1 named the show. Look at all the other wives shows, all those women aren’t wives. I think it’s just a catchy thing that’s going around.

Vibe: Explain your decision to make Royce part of the cast.

Shaunie: Originally she wasn’t in my thought process to put on the show but she had reached out to me about a year and a half ago just on some personal stuff, just needing somebody to talk to. First of all, Royce is great TV—let me not even front—but she honestly just needed some support and guidance. Yes, she’s wild and crazy but to be totally honest Royce is like that 16-year-old sister that’s buck wild and will say and do anything and doesn’t know any better. Royce is an innocent kind of free spirit and people are judging her saying she’s a slut, she’s a hoe. From what I know she’s not out there wilding out with a bunch of men or trying to get a bunch of men. She’s a dancer, that’s what she does, that’s her profession. She studied dance—tap, ballet and everything else. She just happened to be a dancer for these teams and got caught up in that world but I think Royce is really a good girl. It’s just that after she did that booty dance it just went straight to hell but she’s really a sweetheart.

Vibe: You’ve been spotted on dates recently. Will your new love life unfold on the show?

Shaunie: I’m dating [but] on the show I’m just narrating and giving my little two cents and opinion so that’s the extent of it. I’m not on the show as a full time cast member. I made a couple of guest appearances, which one of them was on the first episode so you will see me hosting every week but you won’t see me there interacting and in the mix of things.

Vibe: Do NBA wives expect infidelity?

Shaunie: It’s so funny, I was talking to one of my girlfriends that’s married to a retired NBA player and we were talking about Gloria and how she’s so naïve with the cheating thing and I was explaining to her—and my friend is older than me and has been in the game a lot longer—and she was like, “She doesn’t know? Come on everybody knows.” So I don’t know if they expect it or you just know and think that once they marry you and have a family that it goes away or just stops. I think that sometimes that’s the mentality. Don’t get me wrong, there are some guys where that does happen [but] very few. Back then I was just thinking, we’re getting married and that’s different. This is not dating. This is serious so he might have be wild then but not anymore. So I think we can be delusional.

Vibe: How do you feel about Football Wives?

Shaunie: We’re working on Football Wives now. I’m executive-producing. I want to have a dynasty of all the sports and all of their lives because I think that although we have a common ground, we’re still very different. I’m finding out with football—in doing research and gathering our ladies—that this is a different type of life because these guys can go out in the street and people might not know them by face, which helps cut down on the jump offs. And then football players seem to have more of a religious background that overflows into their work. They’re praying together, they’re staying together and they actually have a curfew and a lot of rules that are actually enforced, and I never really found that in the NBA. It’s different things for different sports but again we all have a common ground with each sports so we’re going into other genres.

Here for the full interview.