Basketball Wives Episode 1: “This Is My Reality”

Welcome back, ladies. We missed you.

Evelyn Lozada lost two of her best friends within two days during the summer of 2012. Her marriage to Chad Ochocinco imploded when she confronted him about his infidelity, a confrontation which ended in a physical altercation. And right after that, her brother in law, Anthony, died from a long battle with cancer.

In a truly heartbreaking moment on the premiere episode of Basketball Wives, she explains that Anthony, who walked her down the aisle at her wedding to Chad, had a conversation with Chad on their wedding day, telling him to take care of Evelyn. “After everything happened,” she says, “I’m like, wow, he did the total opposite.”

Nearly a month after the incident occurred, Evelyn decided it was time to take the situation into her own hands and speak to the media. Call it damage control or just the desire to contain the situation, but it’s not something she wanted to relive so early on and she dreads these interviews. “There was this perception about Evelyn, all she does is argue and fight,” she explains, but because of that reputation, people started blaming her for what had happened, which is not something any victim of domestic abuse should endure. To add the the snowball effect of one awful thing after another, Chad has remained silent throughout, and the only time he did speak about the situation, he made comments that Evelyn says “made me look worse than I already had.”

“Have a voice,” Evelyn’s mom tells her as she’s about to do the interview. “Be strong, speak up.” Her mom’s encouragement and strength bring tears to her eyes and make her realize how important these interviews are. “I just want to put my side of the story out there and move on.”

After the interviews, Ev goes to see her mom and the reality of the situation and what she’s lost sets in. “Why is this happening to my life?” she asks.

“Words can’t even explain how dark I felt,” she says. “This can’t be my life.”

The conversation turns to Chad, and Ev’s mom, Sylvia, asks “What the hell happened to him?” and Evelyn responds “He likes ass.”

Turns out Chad send Sylvia a text apologizing for his behavior, but Sylvia’s not having it. She reads Ev his apology and the response that she wrote back to him, and Evelyn is upset that he’s still tweaking his version of the story. “This is supposed to be my husband, he’s supposed to protect me, and still to this day, he hasn’t said s—, he hasn’t said ’My wife had nothing to do with this,'” she says. “That’s crazy to me.”

Last season brought the drama and there was very little restraint when it came to these ladies and their interactions with one another. When Shaunie and Tami get together for the first time this season, it sounds like each of them has made some changed. While Tami says she’s showing more restraint and reeling it in, Shaunie feels the opposite and says she’s more inclined to finally speak her mind and speak up. “You’re releasing!” Tami says. “I like that.”

“Now I think I don’t care. I don’t give a damn,” Shaunie continues. “You’re gonna get the uncut version.”

Tami reveals that right now she’s alone in her life — she and her boyfriend have broken up, her mom is terminally ill, and her ex-husband is offering her no support. “For the first time, I feel like it’s just gonna be me,” she cries.

Barely halfway through, and already this episode is bringing the tears.

Evelyn goes to visit her daughter, Shaniece, in L.A. — can I get a show of hands here for people who want Shaniece to be a permanent fixture in the cast?? She is hilarious. She’s probably the only person in the world who can get away with complimenting Evelyn on her healing forehead scar, and when she asks what’s new with Chad, Evelyn responds that he’s been dragging his feet to sign the divorce papers.

Shaniece wonders if Chad wants to reconcile, and Evelyn thinks he probably does. “She’s really not feeling Chad these days, and that’s understandable,” Evelyn says. When Ev tells her Chad seems hopeful that they’ll get back together, Shaniece lays it out there. “I don’t really think that’s a good idea,” she says. And then she admits “I didn’t like him from the beginning.”

Then she says “If everyone doesn’t like this particular person, it’s for a reason.”

“I wouldn’t say everyone,” Ev says.

Nobody likes him,” Shaniece deadpans.

Evelyn attempts to justify that they really did have good times together and they loved each other, but that Chad wasn’t ready for marriage, but wise Shaniece says that he’s never going to be ready, in her opinion. In the end, Shaniece tells Ev “I’m proud of you. And I’m sure there’s a lot of other women who are proud too…Starting over isn’t so bad. We’ll start over together.”

Evelyn continues her talking-it-out-tour and heads to Shaunie’s to catch her up on all things having to do with her breakup and Shaunie asks the big question, “Do you forgive him?”

She says she’s not mad, but she doesn’t forgive him. Shaunie believes Chad is very determined to win Ev back, though. “Very determined is an understatement,” Evelyn tells her friend. “I would have thought by now he would have been dead in the water. He is not giving up.”

It’s about time Suzie entered the fold, and when she shows up to dinner with the ladies, she explains to them that she’s not at 100% after having two major jaw surgeries that have left her swollen, healing, and unable to fully open her mouth.

That’s a problem in Suzie’s world, and she explains that she’s been celibate for ten months as a result of all of this.

“Suzie being celibate for ten months is like, ’Really, Suzie?’ ’Cause like, you’re the one who kept the penises in your purse,” Tami laughs.

Tami wasn’t able to attend Ev’s wedding, so she wants to know details about everything: the wedding, the “condom conversation,” all of it.

“What I need is just a little more information about Chad and Evelyn. Why not share it with the group? You shared it with Iyanla, so you might as well tell me, I’m a little closer to you than Iyanla!”

So Evelyn breaks it down like so. “This is the thing. Dude, you mess around with f—ing birds. Let’s just keep it real. You mess around with birds that don’t have nothing to lose and are quick to put you on blast. So before a bird puts you on blast, I want you to tell me so that I know what the f— is up and I don’t get blindsided.”

What Shaunie wants to know is how it turned violent, and Ev says there have been times when she’s seen Chad angrier, but maybe it’s that they were in a confined space in their car, or maybe it was that Ev told him she wouldn’t stick by him if he kept this stuff up. “I don’t really have closure with it,” she says. “I feel like I need to feel comfortable about it and I just don’t.”

Tami, surprisingly, says that she thinks people, and Chad, deserve second chances. “Sometimes people have to go through some s— to get TO some s—,” she tells Ev. She clarifies that she doesn’t believe in third and fourth chances, but that maybe Ev should “step out on faith” and hope things do work out with Chad. “Would you give your daughter that advice?” Shaunie asks. And to our surprise, Tami says yes. In fact, she thinks that it applies to any relationship, even Rihanna and Chris Brown. “Mistakes will be made,” Tami says, in every relationship. Suzie disagrees completely and thinks Ev could do a lot better (“She should never have to deal with a man doing that to her.”)

“I felt like I was the only one at that table who felt like Tami’s advice was total bulls—,” Suzie says. Now that we’ve all heard it, it’s time for the masses to weigh in. Let us know what you think of the season premiere, Evelyn’s situation, and Tami’s advice in the comments, and tune in next week for more brand-new Basketball Wives.