Jessie James Decker is pint-sized and fabulous. We fell in love with the Southern belle on the E! series, Eric & Jessie: Game On, and have seen how the unapologetic country singer has come to have it all: a gorgeous NFL husband (New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker), a beautiful baby daughter, a successful music career, and burgeoning beauty and clothing lines. But it wasn’t always easy. VH1 recently sat down with the New York transplant — who still likes going to Cracker Barrel — at Smirnoff Ice’s Ladies With Game Tailgate and learned the story of a simple country gal who rose to fame.
Allow us to help you get a peak into Jessie’s world and see what she has to say about the ups and downs of being married to a professional athlete and letting the cameras into her everyday life.
VH1: Were you a big football fan before you started dating Eric?
I wasn’t the biggest fan because I grew up in so many different places; I never was really able to attach myself to a team, but as soon as I started dating Eric I immediately was asking every question that you could imagine. Even the most annoying, like: “What happens if all three quarterbacks get injured? Who goes in?! What do you do?”
What are the pros and cons of being married to an NFL player?
I think the pros are everything — it is so much fun to be a part of something so exciting. And I’m impressed by him every time he’s on the field. He’s such an athlete and God gave him talent and he works his butt off. The con: You never want to see your loved one get hurt. That would be so scary, right?
What’s your favorite New York City activity?
What is not my favorite thing to do here?! The food, the shopping, I mean we’ve already seen a show. Everything is incredible and I feel so blessed to be here.
I feel like people from New York City get a bad reputation, don’t you think?
I never heard about a bad reputation, [but New Yorkers] tell it like it is and I actually like that. I don’t want anything sugarcoated – tell it to my face, tell it to me straight.
How are you adjusting from previously living in Denver?
For me, it was actually an adjustment to go to Denver. Being from the South, I was like a fish out of water in Denver. I was familiar with New York because I was signed to Island Def Jam, so I came here all the time. I was excited to come back in a way even though I never lived here. The people are incredible. It just feels like everything is meant to be. We love everything about this city.
You and Eric have what seems like such a solid, grounded relationship. What’s your love advice for the average person?
I would never, ever settle. That is my biggest thing and I always say it. I’ve seen so many friends of mine who are on the verge of divorce now because they just got married like, “Well, he’ll do.” You will end up in divorce. You need to marry someone that is your soul mate, that you’re obsessed with, and never ignore that. People make fun of me all the time. They’re like, “Not everything’s gonna be perfect,” well it is in my world. And it should be. Because you deserve it.
What was the moment when you knew Eric was the one?
I felt like I literally would die without Eric. I had nightmares in the beginning of our relationship of him leaving me. That’s when I knew I could never live without this man.
If you had a hall pass for a day, who would be your go-to guy?
That is so hard and I know it sounds cheesy but I just don’t think anyone’s hotter than Eric. Even if I didn’t know Eric I still think he would be my celebrity crush. He’s so freakin’ gorgeous.
How is Eric doing on daddy duty?
He does more than what I thought he was ever capable of and I thought he was going to be amazing. He’ll change every diaper, he’ll try to get up in the middle of the night but I’m like, “Babe you have practice tomorrow, no! I will do it.”
How did your world change after being on your reality show?
Before, I really didn’t have that big of a female fan base. Women hated me. I wanted songs to empower women and they just rejected them. But, when everyone came to me with the [reality] show idea I was like, “Maybe if girls got to know me, they wouldn’t be this way.” All of a sudden I had this huge female fan base and girls wanting to be my friend. I mean if they only knew, I just wanna hang out with them. I’m the girl next door that wants to braid your hair.
How do you stay connected to your Southern roots through the chaos of fame?
It’s all I know. I grew up that way and I don’t think you fix what ain’t broke. I like being Southern, I like going to Cracker Barrel — I mean that’s just how I am. I think what keeps me from going into that whole Hollywood scene is that I’m probably a little intimidated by it. I’d probably walk in there and wouldn’t know what to do.
The Kardashians are the royal family of reality TV these days. Were you a fan of them before your show? Why do you think they’re still going strong after all these years?
They’re all absolutely beautiful and they’re a really tight family, you know? I don’t know how many people out there are really that close with their family but they’re obviously doing something right.