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Shareef O'Neal Celebrates 18th Birthday Party

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Whether you tune in starting from Season 1 or you join in on drama in the current Season 9, you’ll quickly realize when watching Basketball Wives that very few cast members are actually married to basketball players — or to anyone for that matter.

Shaunie O’Neal, who created the idea for the series and serves as executive producer, came up with the concept years ago, when she was still a wife married to Shaquille O’Neal. She shared in an interview on The Tamron Hall Show set to air on Friday — exclusive clip obtained by Bossip — that even though she intended for the series to be filled with a cast of wives, she quickly realized why it was so hard to find some willing to participate. That revelation came about when Hall asked what message she was trying to send by having mostly women who aren’t married but dated ball players on the series.

“Well, you know, honestly when it first started, it was going to be wives. When I had the idea I was a basketball wife. That’s kind of where it started. But it has evolved into, not so much,” she said. “I will be honest. If you are a wife and you come on this show or do reality TV at all, it opens up Pandora’s box. Honestly. People are not nice. So for a successful flourishing marriage, you have to be really, really strong to join this journey. It’s not so much a message, I think it just ended up being the way it is and how it all works. It’s a lot easier for a woman who’s been in a relationship with these guys or maybe just dating to be on this show than it is a — there aren’t a lot of Jackie Christies [laughs]. Jackie Christie is in a successful long-standing marriage and Doug supports her on this show and he participates. It’s not a lot of those guys, so it’s hard. It’s hard to be a wife of a player and do reality TV. That’s just my opinion.”

She has a good point. As we previously shared with you, a number of women who joined the show as wives have ended up getting a divorce, including current cast members Evelyn Lozada, Jennifer Williams and Malaysia Pargo. Granted, the show was not the root cause, but being on television while your marriage is falling apart certainly can’t help it.

But as she mentioned, some people, like cast member Jackie Christie, have been successful in love and TV. In a recent interview with us, she shared what has kept her marriage to Doug Christie strong for 26 years.

“It is definitely communication. A lot of relationships start suffering when people aren’t communicating,” she said in Februrary. “Communication is the key to long-lasting relationships because you can put how you feel out there. Being best friends, having fun, letting go of inhibitions, not being hung up on trying to be something that you’re not or trying to relay your relationship with someone else and comparing and all of that. That will damage or slow the process of having an awesome relationship down.”

And that’s great advice to follow — basketball or everyday wife.

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