Widely hailed as the original ‘basketball wife’ mogul, Jackie Christie, wife of former NBA star Doug Christie, has now placed herself at the center of the Basketball Wives franchise as a cast member of the Los Angeles spin-off series. She recently sat down with Wetpaint Entertainment and discussed balancing a career with a high-profile relationship,what to expect from the L.A. cast (which includes the Laura and Gloria Govan, Ron Artest wife Kimsha and Chris Brown’s former fling Draya o_o). She also detailed the misconceptions that people have about the wives and girlfriends of NBA players, infidelities when dating a sports star, and how she’s maintained a healthy relationship with her baller for 16 years. Check out a few excerpts:
What can you tell us about Basketball Wives: LA?
I think viewers should expect to see a group of women that are no-nonsense. We are very much in your face. I think they will see a different side to a lot of wives they think they may know. [Basketball Wives: LA] is a lot different from the Miami show. You’re going to see a lot more about who we are — you’re going to see into our lives completely.
Should viewers expect the show to be high on drama?
It’s extremely high on drama and excitement. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll go into a ride. It’s real. It’s no holds bar[red]. It’s looking into the life of an NBA wife, girlfriend, and fiancée in Los Angeles.
What are the unique challenges of being married to a basketball player? As opposed to an actor or an NFL player?
I would say one of the unique challenges is [dealing with] the misconceptions [people have about] a lot of the wives and girlfriends: that you only marry for the fame and fortune of it, you’re flighty, you shop all the time. A lot of it is true but then its misconstrued… A lot of times you don’t get to see their struggles. I think the show will really change people’s perception about what a basketball player’s wife is.
Is it hard to balance a career with being a basketball wife?
It’s hard to balance a career with being a basketball wife if your priorities aren’t correct — mine are. I’ve always had somewhat of a career while my husband played but I kept it low-key. I’m a fashion designer so I was designing clothes. The wives and the players were some of my main customers… But [my career] took a backseat when it came to support Doug when he played. For some women [the balance] may be hard. But for me it was easy because I knew he was my priority. When he slows down and hangs up his shoes, then I’ll step out into the limelight. That’s what I’m doing now and I’m going to forward with my fashion line, my books, and everything that I do for a career.
So I hear a lot of women complain. They’re under a lot of stress and say, “I feel guilty. I feel like I should be raising the kids while my husband works,” or they say “I don’t know, I’ve lost my identitiy. I don’t know who I am.” I counsel them all the time to find a path where they can have a career and be the wife of an athlete.
You’ve been married to Doug Christie for 16 years. What are your secret for making a marriage to a basketball player last?
My secret is respect — that’s the first and foremost thing. I think a lot of times with relationships if the husband or the boyfriend doesn’t respect the woman and vice versa you’re going to have a breakdown. You’re not going to have communication. You’re not going to be as intimate. You’re going to lack all the things that a strong and lasting relationship [needs].
My secret is to respect yourself and to respect your mate — put them first. As long as you do that you should be okay.