Back in 2016, Matt Barnes declared that the biggest mistake he’s made was appearing with ex-wife Gloria Govan on Basketball Wives. He called the show a “negative, untrue” depiction of the lives of basketball players and their partners. Three years later, while speaking to VladTV in videos that came out this week, Barnes stood by his statement. He noted that being on the show put a lot of stress on the couple’s relationship, which was already not the most stable.
The 39-year-old now retired NBA player said a year or two into Basketball Wives, he and Govan (who only appeared for Season 1 and 2) started to have relationship issues because of it.
“I was kind of being a young athlete and she was just kind of becoming known in the entertainment space so she was kind of feeling herself, so that kind of came to a head in 2010, my first year with the Lakers. We split for 10 months, I want to say.”
They would get back together, with Barnes saying he wanted to provide their twin boys with a somewhat stable home, but it just didn’t work. According to Matt, “we just found each other at the wrong time.” He was in the NBA, she was younger, they had two kids and then signed up for Basketball Wives and things went downhill from there. It also didn’t help that when the couple made certain decisions or had issues, it was taunted by the other women on the show who weren’t fond of Gloria and felt she portrayed her relationship as perfect. (Remember Gloria vs. Shaunie and the girls at that restaurant?)
“I just think — I don’t even blame the show for us breaking up, by any means. I just think once you open up that book to allow people to look at your private life, you can’t get mad when people comment on it,” he said. “That was my hardest thing. These people, at the time, were talking about the mother of my children and some people were even crazy enough to talk about my kids, so it took me a while to understand that we allowed this. We gave them access to our life so we can’t cuss everyone out in the world who has something to say that I don’t like about my family.”
“I don’t blame the situation. It probably didn’t help, but it also opened my eyes to behind the camera and the TV side and that’s what I’m doing now, and realizing that it’s not tough to create shows, but quality shows,” he said. “I think there was a whole deception of how this show was supposed to be and the franchise has made money and been successful, but it’s just a horrible depiction of, I think, what they’re trying to perpetuate to begin with. It started this whole reality TV fiasco.”
Barnes said he initially felt like a mistake was made when the cast was invited over to he and Gloria’s former shared home in Season 1 and they tried to rope him into spilling tea about the habits of his teammates after the Tiger Woods cheating scandal broke.
“We had the whole cast over to our house in Orlando, and the way they kind of plant sh-t and each person, they were trying to tell one girl to ask me something. So basically, it just came down to everyone looking at me like, ‘Well what are you guys doing on the road? What do your teammates do on the road? I’ve seen you talk to Tiger’ and all this other sh-t. I was like, hold on. I called timeout right away. I was like, ‘I’m not doing this sh-t,'” he said. “I’m the only current player in a relationship…one of the only people, Shaq and I, that’s in the league representing “Basketball Wives” and I’m just like, you think I’m a f–kin’ snitch on [anybody]? It’s just something I saw early on of just how scripted everything was and how drama-filled they wanted everything to be.”
Looking back on it now, Barnes says those involved with the show just wanted to create a lot of issues for him and his family.
“They never wanted to see me, Gloria and the twins happy. They wanted to see like me and Gloria fighting, and Gloria fighting with the other girls, and early on it was just like, I’m not with this sh-t,” he said. “I tried to pull her but she was under contract and they threatened to sue her and do all this kind of sh-t so she had to stick in there, but it was a mess from the beginning.”
Show or no show though, the couple weren’t meant to work. They married in 2013, despite a suspicion of domestic violence situation against Govan in 2010, but they split in 2014. Their divorce was finalized in 2016 and she moved on with his former Lakers teammate, Derek Fisher, whom she got engaged to in 2018. He has moved on with Beverly Johnson’s daughter, Anansa Sims, and welcomed a son with her in December.