Essence Music Festival is a hotbed for action, so it’s no surprise that we ran into Basketball Wives‘ ringleader Shaunie O’Neal last night backstage at the Superdome in New Orleans, where she arrived mere hours after leaving the wedding of Chad Ochocinco and Evelyn Lozada. Taking a moment to chat with VH1 News’ Janell Snowden before D’Angelo hit the stage, Shaunie seemed elated to be at the annual event where she was drama-free and enjoying herself.
[UPDATE] We’ve added the video footage of our complete interview with Shaunie below.
“There’s so much love in the air, it’s so much fun. I don’t even care if I don’t sleep!” O’Neal said before confessing that she had been boozing on and off throughout the day. “Basketball Wives has taught me a few things; I didn’t really drink before that show.” In good spirits and fresh off the plane from the wedding in (spoiler alert!) St. Maartin, Shaunie proudly announced “She’s a Johnson!” and was thrilled that Ev and Ocho finally tied the knot in a July 4th ceremony. After teasing Evelyn’s beau about dressing himself for the occasion, Shaunie issued a round-about apology by emphasizing how incredible Chad looked. “When he came down [the aisle], that boy was sharp! I’ve been talking about his outfit ever since I left. He look so good!” According to Shaunie, the navy blue “rich looking suit” was “tailored perfectly,” and his shoes were equally impressive: “They went with that suit and that wedding.” But who cares about Chad, right? We wanted to know about the bride!
Including her white wedding dress, Shaunie confirmed that Evelyn underwent three outfit changes throughout the night, one of which was a “hot” catsuit ensemble. “She looked so pretty, and everything was so beautiful. From beginning to end, we just had a ball!” And she wasn’t kidding. Since Evelyn was “busy taking pictures and hosting” early on, her gal pals made sure that she caught up with “way too many shots” once the time was right later in the evening (which we knew about from Chad’s live-tweets from the night). Absent from those festivities, however, was Tami Roman, another cast-member invited to the wedding who didn’t attend. (Roman was also at the Music Fest and though we snapped a photo with her daughters, Lyric and Jazz, we didn’t discuss Ev and Ocho’s wedding.) “I don’t want to speak for anybody,” said Shaunie with the utmost apprehension. “Tami was invited, but I don’t know. It was far… St. Maartin is a trek.” Besides O’Neal, Suzie Ketcham was the only other Basketball Wives star present.
Shifting the conversation, Shaunie told Janell that, should any coital wedding consummation activities result in a pregnancy (“You know Evelyn got it in,” she said), Evelyn and Chad have agreed to Shaunie being the child’s godmother. “She doesn’t want kids anymore, but Chad does,” she explained. “He tried to trick me and say she that was pregnant, but she was like ‘No, I’m not,’ and I said ‘Can I be the godmother’ and they said ‘Yes.’” Congrats again to the bride and groom, and to the new possible godmother!