Jackie Christie on 'Basketball Wives LA'

Updated: August 29, 2011, 9:42 PM ET
By Kelley Carter | Special to Page 2

Let's be honest here: Jackie Christie is the basketball wife.

Even non-fans and some of the harshest critics of VH1's hit reality series "Basketball Wives" will agree that when it comes to standout life partners of professional athletes, Jackie Christie -- and her methods to keep her husband, Doug Christie, from stepping outside of their marriage -- stand out.

Almost 10 years ago, the New York Times did a feature piece where the couple talked about how Doug combats extramarital temptations -- the interest in the couple's love story landed them a short-lived reality show on BET in 2006.

We'll get to see Christie and a whole new cast of women (Kimsha Artest, Gloria Govan, Laura Govan and Imani Showalter, the ex-fiancee of Charlotte Bobcats star Stephen Jackson, also co-star) whose connection is falling for guys who play or have played in the NBA, take over Los Angeles. Executive producer Shaunie O'Neal says that her goal is to eventually take the show to every major basketball market.

"People love athletes, and they want to see what type of woman did this guy choose and it's really intriguing for people," Christie says, weighing in on why this franchise has been so successful for the network. "I think that over the years, there's been a really big mystique built around it. I think when Doug and I first got married, we were really, really committed and going on the road together, and the media really put it out there for everyone to see. I think that's what's driving this interest and now folks really want to see players and their families off the court."

We chat with Christie to find out what we can expect from this new series, which premieres at 8 p.m. ET Monday:

You've dabbled in reality TV before, so what made you wanna be a part of this VH1 show?

"I was really intrigued with it. I thought it would be exciting and I wanted to show a different side. I love the Miami show ... but L.A. will be a different look."

What is it you think you'll be able to add to the franchise that we haven't seen in the Miami series?

"I'm a very multidimensional woman -- not that they aren't -- but I have a whole bunch of stuff going on in my life. My husband has hung his shoes up, so now I'm pretty much running the ship. People will get to see a family aspect with me. I'm one of the actual wives that's on the show. So they'll see my life in a different way. There's been a lot of interest in Doug and I's relationship, so I think with me opening the doors like I have this time, there's no holds barred. They'll really enjoy it."

You're a a take-no-prisoners type of woman when it comes to your husband. How might we see that manifest itself in the series?

"I can't give away too much, but I can say that I definitely am no-nonsense. I think that my colleagues and different people and fans and everyone else over the years see that my family comes first. That is number one with me, no matter what. That's what I put first in my life and I'm dedicated, extremely committed to my relationship with my husband and my family. So I definitely think people will get to see and they'll understand a lot more about me by watching the show."

This is VH1's highest-rated show. Was there any trepidation with revealing your personal life?

"It was! But, you know, I really just grabbed the bull by its horns and I decided at this point I'm here, I've signed on to do it, and I'm going to just open up the doors. I want people to really understand me. I always say I'm an open book. Though I keep a couple little secrets, really small ones. But I think they will definitely see everything about me and I want them to. I want my fans to know who I am. I have nothing to hide and I encourage everybody to do the same."

Has your relationship changed significantly now that Doug is retired?

"Life has definitely changed tremendously. When Doug was playing, I had everything meticulously laid out, almost like a military operation. Everybody knew in the family what days that he had a game that day, so I ran things by the clock so that way his life was as stress-free as possible and he could go out and do what he loved doing. Now that the shoe's on the other foot, it's really chaotic because I do so many different things. I don't have one set profession. I'm a fashion designer -- I just debuted my clothes at L.A. Fashion Week. I also run a real estate empire, so it's funny to me, because I let Doug just put his feet up. He hangs with our son, they watch TV, they read together. He trains him and other athletes. He trains Matt Barnes and a bunch of different people, so he's doing that now and relaxing, and I'm the one out running around. I'm on the go from 7 in the morning, until nine, 10 o'clock at night. Doug cooks, he does everything; he's Mr. Mom. So it's changed quite a bit, because now he's doing what I used to do and I'm doing what he used to do!"

So he's become Jackie Christie's husband as opposed to you being Doug Christie's wife?

"That's our joke. I go, 'Now you're Mr. Jackie Christie, I used to be Mrs. Doug Christie.' And he laughs. Since starting out, I said, 'As long as you want to play, I'll be here to support you. I can make the sacrifices, I have no problem. I'll make sure everything is ran off the court exactly as you want, and then when you retire and I start working to pursue my career further, then you can sit down and relax.' And that's exactly what we're doing."

Kelley L. Carter is an entertainment and pop culture freelance journalist.

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Kelley L. Carter is an Emmy-winning entertainment journalist who has written for publications including USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, the Detroit Free Press, Vibe and Essence magazines. She also regularly provides expert pop culture and entertainment commentary for outlets including CNN, E! and the TV Guide Channel.