INTERVIEW: LaLa Anthony Serves Up Advice (To Us & Her Celeb Friends) On Weddings VS. Marriage, Divorce, Sex....And What Carmelo Thinks About It All
We caught up with LaLa Anthony at her Barnes & Nobles book signing for The Love Playbook in NYC this week. She locked down NBA baller Carmelo Anthony for the last 3 years, and the happily married couple has been together for over a decade.
So we got her to serve up her own tea about sex, divorce, weddings vs. marriage, and what Melo thinks about it all....
5th and Mercer fashion designer and Baggage Claim actress LaLa is dishing up the real about love, marriage, sex, divorce and more. And we got her to tell us some things she didn't put in her book.
After going through a public rough patch with her NBA husband, she's got some insight on when a couple should go the divorce route. LaLa, who said she loves breaking stereotypes that say she can only have one career at a time, consulted her friends Ciara, Kim K., Kelly Rowland and her inner circle of friends for her relationship advice book. So we may get a few nuggets in there.
Here's some things we just had to know:
On 'Game Time' -- Marriage vs. Wedding
"So many people want to get married for the idea of the wedding. You have this big wedding, you have all these people come and so many people are more concerned with the materialist part of it than the actual marriage. Of course when you get married you want to have someone witness the love and long lasting relationships but people are more concerned with the wedding. I say don’t forget about the marriage and what’s really important. Is there love there at the core of your relationship. Weddings are great but then everybody goes home and you’re still stuck with the person you married."
On whether she would go back and change anything about her wedding day?
"No, not at all. As long as you do things your way and you feel good about it that’s what ultimately matters at the end of the day. You’re not going to be able to please anyone. We talk about that in the book. You have to be able to look yourself in the mirror so I’m happy with the way I did the marriage and my wedding because I did it my way. I was talked about for being engaged for so long and then getting married but I’ve lasted longer in this relationship than a lot of people that were criticizing me. But at the end of the day I did it my way and that’s what I’m most happy about and I wouldn’t change anything. You know life is about learning. Some things are necessary so that you can learn and grow from it."
On being in a relationship where she felt like she was just dating the man to feel validated
"Yes - I definitely did that in my earlier relationships. I felt like without him I felt like I wasn’t whole, I wouldn’t make it and my whole purpose was all about him it was never about me. You know, what did he want to do and I started losing myself in that relationship and it was very dysfunctional and one day I woke up and I was like this isn’t healthy. Luckily I was able to get out of it and get past it."
On who contributed advice for the book, besides mom and grandmom
"Well, you know my core group of friends. Dice, Po, Kelly, Ciara, Trina, Serena, Kim, you know Monica. My group of friends that I talk to, that I go to for advice. My day one friends too that some people may not know who they are. It’s great to have friends that you can go to when you need advice or when you need help. That was another thing that motivated me to write the book because I realized how many women out there don’t have a great circle of friends, don’t have a family so I kept thinking to myself who do they go to for answers."
On divorce and suggesting it for a couple
"You have to evaluate your situation. If that’s where you feel like, unfortunately, that’s where it’s going I would not encourage someone to stay in a relationship where they’re not happy. But have you done everything before you’ve gone through that final step? Have you tried therapy? Have you talked to your pastor? Have you talked to family? Have you talked to friends? Have you done everything and they say yes, who am I to encourage someone to stay in a relationship where they’re not happy. And I’ve seen people who have gone through a divorce and they come out stronger and find new love. You have to evaluate the situation. Not just for divorce but for break-ups, make sure you do all the necessary work before you just jump to that. You don’t want to throw that word around lightly. You want to do the right things before you get there and if you feel like that’s where it’s at then I would definitely support somebody in that."
On the celebrity couples she admires?
"I love Will Smith & Jada Pinkett. Through everything they’ve sustained. You can tell family’s most important. I love that about them. I love Jay Z & Beyonce. They’re role models. They just show that two people can have two amazing careers and be so successful but still come together as one and still have this great union and be great parents. And that’s what we do here. Kiyan is with one of us at all times, as he should be. He’s witnessing what’s going on. We’re not keeping him at home and not allowing him to experience this stuff."
On dishing motherhood tips to Ciara
"Well, you know she sees me with Kiyan and she spends a lot of time with him. She’s just such a great person and such a giving person that I know that will carry on to her being such a great mom. She’s going to be so great and she’s so excited and so happy. I see how she is with Kiyan and that’s just a small indication of what a great mom she’s going to be. Parenting doesn’t come with a manual – you just have to figure it out. But as long as you have love in your heart everything else falls into place. There’s no direction on what to do. Tips are great but as a mom you have to find your way and figure it out."
"Kiyan has changed my life. What is means to be a mom and basing your life around someone else. You know all my decisions, my work schedule to day to day stuff is based around Kiyan. The feeling of loving someone more than yourself is something I didn’t understand until I became a mom. Kiyan was at the book signing and it was important for me to have him there .I want to share this kind of thing with him. It’s important for him to see his mom working. I always want him to feel included and apart of it. And also get to see a strong mom working and putting something out there. And being able to see what a well rounded woman looks like."
On her ONE rule of sex
"Spice it up. Don't plan sex!"
On what Melo had to say about her writing a book on love and sex
"He was like I don’t know how you do all this stuff. He was like I don’t know how you have all this time. He knows I’m the person that my friends and family come to for advice and support so he thought it was a good idea. Just the idea of being able to help other people, he’s going to be supportive. It’s great for both of us. We’ve both been blessed to be in these great positions and if you’re not utilizing it what good is it? There were girls up there crying, literally crying, talking about things they were going through and how much they appreciate having someone like me to talk to and having a book to go to for insight. Those are the moments that matter. So my husband of course, is going to support me."
"Yesterday, Kelly was getting emotional because you realize how many people need people us and need a voice and are kind of lost out there and need help and don’t have people to turn to. So, of course, my husband was supportive of that. He couldn’t be at the book signing because he had a game but we had a little thing afterwards just for my friends and family and he came and we had a really good time and celebrating all the amazing things. We had a really good time. And a lot of my family was at the book signing. Everybody comes out to support and I never take for granted what a great support system I have with my family. My day flew in from overseas just for a few hours just to come to the book signing. That’s the kind of stuff I have to think about and be thankful for. I really am thankful. The book is number 1 right now. We’re just waiting to see if I’m on the Bestsellers list. I know what I felt yesterday in that room and if we can stay in this number 1 spot that would be amazing but I already feel accomplished just from yesterday."
On whether she'll go back to her hosting gig
"Here and there. I don’t really miss it because it really was taking over my time. Now it’s my acting career and producing which is something I love because it’s a challenge for me. It’s real, I’m still studying, I’m learning and I’m really enjoying it. With radio and hosting, I kind of feel like I can do it with my eyes close, it’s second nature to me. Now I’m stepping into something now that is a challenge and I’m learning so many new things. Acting has really taken over my time and my world now and I’m really, really enjoying it."
Her good friend Po also showed up at the book signing this week. Next up for LaLa: She's currently shooting a movie called November Rule executive produced by Queen Latifah, will appear on the new STARZ series "Power" with Omari Hardwick, and is starring in the upcoming flick Think Like A Man Too out June 20th.
The Love Playbook is available everywhere now.
Photos & Interview: Shirley Vernae Williams