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It seemed like the relationship between former NFL player Victor Cruz and his ex-fiancee Elaina Watley ended abruptly. Then before we knew it, he was out and about with Ms. Karrueche Tran.

We may never know what resulted in these two calling off their engagement; but during a recent interview with PEOPLE ‘s Parents Latina, Cruz is sharing the co-parenting journey he and Watley are currently navigating.

Cruz, who is the father of 8 ½ year old Kennedy, shared that communication is key in raising his daughter with his ex.

“You can’t do anything as a co-parent without talking. Even if you’re no longer living under the same roof, the discussions still need to happen for the sake of your kid. And you have to put your ego aside because it can create turmoil and distraction.”

He continued, “The focus should never be on the parents. If your child is happy, then everyone is going to be happy.”

Cruz shared that it’s important to both of them that his daughter understands her cultural roots.

“We constantly speak to her in Spanish,” he tells Parents Latina. “She’s in a language-immersion school because we want to make sure she’s fluent. We’re making a concerted effort to raise her to be bilingual and multicultural so she’s always in touch with her roots.”

Cruz shared how important it is that Kennedy lives 17 mins away from the neighborhood where he was raised, in Paterson, New Jersey to help her understand “that we’ve come a long way.”

“It’s her job now to take it further,” the athlete says. “Last November, we volunteered at a homeless shelter in Paterson during Thanksgiving. I plan on doing that every year so she can see how important it is to take care of our communities.”

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