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Incarceration is rough. When a person goes to jail, they may be the one actually behind bars, but their relatives, in some ways, serve that bid with them. Rapper-turned-actor Jeffrey “Ja Rule” Atkins and his wife, Aisha Atkins, recently opened up about his 2-year prison stint to television host Wendy Williams and how their family was affected. According to the couple, Ja’s incarceration, which was the result of gun possession and tax evasion charges, made their now 20-year-old daughter, Brittney Atkins, physically sick.

“She hated to visit him there and seeing him like that,” said Aisha. “She’s used to him being a boss, and he’s the one telling everybody what to do and where to go—his staff. And in prison they’re like, ‘No, you gotta go stand over that line.’ You gotta do this, and you gotta do that. She got physically ill, like throwing up and sick. She couldn’t take it.”

Aisha also shared how she was forced to pull herself together in the wake of her husband’s arrest.

“I was devastated, but I have to keep it together for our moms and for my children,” said Aisha. “It was hard in the beginning, but I just pulled myself together and did what I had to do.”

Overall, Ja says the ordeal brought his family closer together.

“It made us closer,” said Ja. “We work hard. We move around. We do great financially for the family, but sometimes that body is missing. I didn’t really realize that until I was away, away and couldn’t be with the family. That was a different thing from, ‘I’m going away for the weekend. I have to work.’ I could come back home. When you can’t come back home, you realize that body is missing. You can give the money, you can do those things, but kids need their fathers and their mothers in the household. It was tough.”

The family’s new reality show, “Follow the Rules,” debuted on MTV Tuesday.

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