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Apryl Jones

Source: Atiba Jefferson / Courtesy of VH1

The last time all eyes were on Apryl Jones, it was long before the pandemic. In 2019, when there were less important things to be in an uproar over, the Internet was unleashing their wrath upon her and then-boyfriend, former B2K member Dreux “Fizz” Frédéric, calling them disloyal, among other things, due to her past relationship and the children she shares with former B2K lead Omarion. The pair were defiant as criticism followed every photo they took together, every date they went on. They were happy with each other, and the world was going to have to deal with it.

But then they weren’t. It came out in January of 2020 that they called it quits. They stopped following each other on social media, decided to focus on their kids, and the friendship they had ended up falling apart. They didn’t communicate for nearly a year. So when the opportunity came for the two to reunite as part of the cast of the new Family Reunion: Love and Hip Hop Edition six-part special, which brings together players from all four franchises, she couldn’t pass it up.

“I think that what people can expect to see on this series is, I think from everybody, we all came in with minor issues. Mine happened to be that me and Dreux had not seen each other in months. Like, literally almost a year, and we hadn’t talked in about eight to nine months. You’re going to see us come in, and we’re cordial, but it’s weird,” she says. “It’s kind of like, I haven’t seen you, I haven’t talked to you so obviously there’s some residual feelings that are there. And not that either one of us wants to be together, but it’s like, we haven’t had that closure. I think you’re going to see that. You’re going to see me being more of myself and saying my piece on certain things and getting the closure that I need to just press forward and move on.”

For the 34-year-old mother of two and medical radiation scientist, what could have been the usual mess from Love and Hip Hop turned into a healing experience.

“I feel like a lot of us, we all walked in with something and we’re walking away — it’s not like the normal Love and Hip Hop where it’s complete drama and everybody’s fighting,” she says. “No. For the first time, I feel like you’ll be able to see us walk away with resolve.”

We already touched on her romantic life currently, but we also talked with Apryl about what went wrong in her relationship with Dreux, how she dealt with the onslaught of judgment from the public over the perceived “betrayal” of Omarion, and the truth behind why she was so “different” when comparing her Love and Hip Hop Hollywood debut with her ex to her controversial return. Here’s what she had to say.

MadameNoire: You said you and Dreux tried to make your relationship work and you went to therapy. If you don’t mind me asking, why was it just not working? I know you mentioned you guys are two different kinds of people.

Apryl Jones: This will obviously be mentioned on the show, too. I think you can’t come into relationships being half people. I don’t believe in that. I believe you have to come into a relationship being completely whole. And I feel like that’s just not who he was, so for me, it just ran its course. When you’re dealing with a person who doesn’t quite know themselves fully, for me, I can’t deal with that type of stuff; like insecurities and all of that. So it just really ran its course. And I just think there was a lot of pressure for us in general because of the circumstances of me being with O and people thinking [Fizz] was the bad guy when that wasn’t the case. Me and O haven’t been together for now what’s going to be five and a half, six years. When me and Dreux got together, that wasn’t until three and a half years later and they weren’t friends. No one knows that, which doesn’t matter, but I think it was a lot of pressure on our relationship. I think that also played a part in it, too, which made him feel like he was putting me in a situation and you know, all of that pressure. It was just better to end it and be amicable and walk away from it because it wasn’t going to work.

How did your friendship change after the fact, knowing how important it was to you in the beginning?

For me, I walked into that house when we filmed and I was like, I don’t care if I’m the person chasing this person around, because we did have a friendship first. He was there for me as a friend first and we tried the intimacy and obviously, it didn’t work. So that was really important for me. I don’t like being in conflict with anybody. I think we’re grown. We should be able to hash it out, and if it doesn’t work it doesn’t work. That’s cool. Move forward. Life goes on. But that was my ultimate goal, being in that environment with him, to get the closure. If we walked away being cool, we did. I feel like that’s what’s healthy. I think people are always like, “Well you break up! You’re not supposed to have a healthy relationship [afterward].” It’s like, no, it should be healthy. So I feel like that’s kind of what happened with me and him. It ended healthy. No, we don’t call or see each other like that at all now, but it ended healthy, and that was what was important for me. I’m sure it was important for him, too. No one wants to walk away from anything with anyone when you at one point in your life loved them as much as you say you did.

A lot of people say they don’t live with regrets. Do you have any regrets about taking that friendship to the next level?

Absolutely not. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I would do everything the exact same way that I did it.

OK, stand in it. I respect that. Because I think people felt it was too close for comfort, the fact that you guys were friends and you used to be with Omarion —

Well I think people perceived and people have perceptions, but that’s just assumption. I don’t live my life like that. Unless I know facts, I can’t really say. I think most people are ignorant and I understand ignorance. It’s cool. That’s why I have no problem with it. But I don’t live my life like that. I can understand the perception of what it looks like to people, but it’s not that way. You can’t speak from a place of anything unless you’re the person f–king these people, excuse my French; but the person lying down with them at night, having their babies or experiencing their bullsh-t. I feel like, I’ve gone through all of that with the father of my kids leading into Dreux being a great human being and being there for me. They weren’t friends. Yeah, they were in a group together, but people have sh-t misconstrued. That’s OK like I said. That’s their perception. But I don’t live life like that. So it is what it is.

But when you guys did start dating did you think it necessary to relay that information to Omarion or why not?

No, I didn’t need to tell him anything. He knew Dreux was around me. He knew we were friends. I didn’t owe O that. After all O did to me? I didn’t owe him anything, period. After all that I went through with him, I wasn’t going to have the respect to be like, “Hey, guess what?” It’s like, we had been through too much at that point. So at this point, I’m at the lowest point of my life and the only person who was there for me was Dreux. I don’t have family here. It was one of those moments where it was like, man, OK, a person’s not just saying this, a person is showing up. Mentally I could have went downhill. I have two kids. When I had my daughter I had postpartum [depression]. But you’re talking about three years later, I’m still struggling because I have someone who should be helping me and he’s not. So, I had a person like Dreux who was there for me who supported me. That’s why I don’t regret it and I don’t take it back and it is what it is [laughs]. I didn’t owe O that. And I wouldn’t expect him to tell me. If he’s dating someone and he wants to bring somebody around the kids it’s like, cool. Alright. Whatever. I would expect to eventually meet the person and just know, but I’m not trippin’, so I wouldn’t expect him to trip. And, you don’t own me. I’m not in no marriage. He ain’t put no ring on my finger. It obviously wasn’t that important. You gave me two kids, but we ain’t married or any of that. I’m single to do and be with whoever.

What would you say if someone you used to be affiliated with started dating Omarion knowing the history you had?

I wouldn’t care! Sometimes you gotta look at life like this: life happens. Experiences happen. If I didn’t end up with you and say I’m in a girl group with somebody and me and that girl weren’t really friends and then her and Omarion encountered each other three, four years after my relationship and me and that girl are not real friends but we work together, I’m not trippin’. If I never had conversations with you about — if you were never a real friend, it’s different. They were associates. If you’re my associate and you knew that I was dating him and three, four years later I see you with him, I’m not trippin.’ Now, if you’re talking about someone such as my real friend Amina [Buddafly] or a Nia Riley or somebody that knows my stuff that I’ve actually shared about how he’s treated me and what he’s done to me and those sorts of things, then it’s like, oh no! That’s f–ked up! But no one owns anybody in this world. That’s what people got f–ked up. We don’t own nobody. So at the end of the day, you’re free to float and to move and to do you. I’m not no jealous type, either. So whoever O decided to date, as long as it’s not anyone super close to me like that, he can do whatever he wants.

And where did you stand on people lauding Omarion for being so unbothered by your relationship with Dreux?

Like I said, the world’s ignorant. I can go online and say this, that and the other and so forth, but is it worth it? I’m not emotionally invested in O anymore. I honestly want the best for O. For me, knowing who he is and the way he grew up, I understand the way he moves the way that he does. I have to respect that. That’s cool. You need that. I don’t! So when it pertains to knowing those things and being one with self, knowing who Apryl is? I don’t really care. Cool, he’s unbothered. I’m bothered. Yes, great. Cool. I’ll be that. When you know the truth and you sit in your truth, that sh-t shouldn’t bother you. I know myself and at the end of the day it’s like, the people that they feel are unbothered are the ones actually going through a lot. It’s just all perception. I don’t feel no way. I know what I’m living. Nobody else knows it. It bothers people because they don’t know so they just project. I know, so I’m at peace [laughs].

Something I wanted to ask you about is Moniece [Slaughter]. When you were in your relationship with Dreux, he was having issues with her and it looked like you both weren’t always understanding of how she felt about the way he treated her as the mother of his son and how that was messing with her mental health. Knowing your own experiences in terms of the clashes you’ve had with the father of your children and now that you’re removed from that relationship with Dreux, do you relate or empathize with her differently now? Do you see where she was coming from?

I feel like I related to Moniece when it pertained to certain things, absolutely! The show didn’t show that. The show shows what they want to. When me and Dreux were at the rink and they made it seem like we were laughing at her and then everybody was like, “Apryl’s laughing at someone who has mental illness!” No! First and foremost, it was edited that way. No one was laughing. We were actually really concerned about her. And Moniece knew that me and Dreux were talking to each other. She was the same person saying, “Kam loves you! We would love for you to be the stepmom!” And then she flipped. She really did. It was weird. I still have those text messages. We were like, hold on, what’s actually happening? But there was a moment when were kind of sitting at this cafe. They showed what they wanted to show, but I was telling her, “I’ve had conversations with Dreux about you two speaking.” I tried to play the mediator because I understood both sides, but at the same time I’ve also been around and I’ve actually seen how much work he’s put into being a father and what she’s done. I can only speak from facts. I agree with certain things she said and when those moments came about I would tell Dreux, “I understand as a mother where she’s coming from.” I didn’t play either side. Plus, it was none of my business to play. That’s y’all! Y’all got kids. I’m still dealing with my sh-t with my baby daddy, so I don’t got time to be in y’all sh-t. So yeah, there were moments where I understood where she was coming from, and there were moments where I was like, “You’re full of sh-t.”

What would you say is the biggest misconception about you?

Everything. I think that who people think that I am, they don’t know. From the moment I stepped on TV, everything about me — people don’t know that I went to school and have this and that. People don’t know that me and Omari when we first met he wasn’t really doing well in his career. I supported him working. People don’t know a lot of stuff. So I think the misconception is me, period. People only think they know: “Oh Apryl is Omarion’s baby mama,” or “Apryl now dated Fizz.” That’s all you hear. It’s not like, “Apryl has this degree in radiation science and Apryl’s actually very intelligent and very smart and Apryl actually held this person down” or “Apryl has her own mind and she’s doing women’s empowerment movements.” Everything is misconstrued because of Love and Hip Hop and what they wanted to show. At the end of the day, I know what I signed up for. It is what it is. For me, I don’t care. I think I was bothered by it before but I’m grown now. I’m 34. I’ve sat in my sh-t. I’ve dealt with self, especially during COVID. So it ain’t much that really takes me out of my element anymore. Now I’m like, “You want your peace, sis. You’re a good person to people. You’re a great mother. You’re dope as sh-t. You’re building better relationships with your family.” Those are the things that are important. I don’t get caught up in the f–king social media sh-t or what people think they know about me. None of it bothers me anymore. If you feel like you have to tear me down to build yourself up, feel free. I’m built.

Yeah, I think people feel like they saw you one way when you first joined Love and Hip Hop Hollywood with Omarion, and then after the relationship ended and you returned to the show, it seemed like you flipped. I guess people thought that was disingenuine. 

That wasn’t the case. That whole situation with me and O on Love and Hip Hop was completely controlled. I never even wanted to do freakin’ reality TV. His management thought it would be good for him to show who he was and his life because there were gay rumors. So to show he was in a relationship with a woman and having kids and all that, they thought it would be great. If you love somebody you’re going to do it, but it just felt very controlled. I wasn’t really myself. On top of that, I was pregnant both times so I was really not myself. And when I came out of that relationship, which was fully f–king controlled and it was a lot going on, I was like “Oh my God.” I totally lost myself in that. Now I’m back to being the fun Apryl, the Apryl who doesn’t give a f–k. I would have went on the show doing that but because I had respect for him I was like, alright, let me shut up. People don’t pay attention to the fact that when you’re in a relationship, you have to take all of that into account. You’re protecting somebody. You’re essentially wanting to make that person happy so you’re willing to do whatever it takes to do that. I think that was my case, and it didn’t serve me. But it served him, so as long as it served somebody, sh-t, that’s fine. I’m good.

I know you work in radiation science. Tell me more about that experience. And do people ever notice you when they come in for something? [laughs]

[Laughs] I actually do stenography, which is ultrasounds and stuff. I actually went back during COVID to help in the hospital. I have a mask on at that point. Prior to COVID, of course they noticed me. But I’m like, we have this mask on, I’m in the clear, right? No. People still know. They say it’s my voice. I’ll scan them and right when I’m done they’re like, “Apryl I know it’s you.” I’m like, “How did you know!?” They’re like, “Your voice is distinct,” or “I know it by your eyes and your hair.” The mask doesn’t work with me. People friggin’ know. I just be like, “Well how do you feel with me actually working on you and seeing your breasts and all your body parts?! How do you feel? [laughs] It’s a cute exchange.

VH1 Family Reunion: Love & Hip Hop Edition airs Mondays at 8PM ET/PT on VH1.

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