Rebecca Crews is the glue that holds the Crews family together. While her husband, actor Terry Crews, is off for months at a time providing the bacon, this mother of five and grandmother of one, fries it up and holds it down. Fans get to peek inside their lives weekly on BET’s "The Family Crews," which is in its second season.
S2S caught up with Rebecca to find out if her life is as charmed as the reality-TV version. How has celebrity affected their lives? Are her faith and ministry affected by the show? What’s it like to be married to Terry? We find out.
Tracy: How did you get involved doing a reality show?
Rebecca: This show was a surprise. The reality concept was a total surprise. Four or five years ago, I wrote a sitcom about a family of four. It was loosely based on our life after Terry’s football career. I wanted an opportunity to work in entertainment, but I didn’t want to be away from our family. I put it together. I did a little research on it, but didn’t get many opportunities to pitch it. I closed the book, left it on the table and out of the blue, Robbie Reed of BET contacted us and said she had an opportunity for us. I was at Bible Study and Robbi saw me there and saw me worshipping God and wondered, “Who is she?” When she came to us about the show, she said she wanted a wholesome family. Two or three years later after meeting her, and five after writing the sitcom, we’re playing ourselves on TV. It’s destiny. Prayers are a big part of why I am here today.
Tracy: Your spirituality obviously plays a big role in your life. How do you balance that with Hollywood, and what is Rebecca King Crews ministry?
Rebecca: I started that a couple years ago because I’ve been in ministry since my teens, primarily with music in the church. I’ve been a choir director, music director, worship leader–everything involving worship and music in the church. I do one-on-one counseling with people: Marriage, family relationships. In the 20 years, I’ve been involved in that, I’ve always been asked to come and talk and share testimony. As I started to get more of those requests, I decided to put up a website. When “The Family Crews” happened, I got so many invites, I couldn’t go to all of them. I’m suddenly in show business. It kind of merged.
Tracy: Have you considered giving up the current ministry and just letting the reality show be a ministry? You can reach lots of people through TV.
Rebecca: I have a talk-show pilot that’s in the works. There’s been speculation as to whether the Lord is wanting me to go a more showbiz route with ministry. In the pilot, we use scriptural principles as we minister to people. I found that in a setting like that, you can’t preach the Bible. You have to use the Bible without words. As a result of “The Family Crews,” [my ministry] has evolved into something that includes entertainment. Up until now I’ve served in churches. Now, it feels like God has thrust me into the world. I think our talk show is going to get made. I have no idea what’s going to become of it in terms of the style. I’ve looked at some other formats for it. We’ve looked at do we wanna go with family topics or issues involving entertainment. We’re revamping and repitching. I believe God has a way. I think how that manifests will be a surprise even to me.
Tracy: So, a lot of reality shows these days have lots of drama, fighting and scandal. How are fans reacting to the wholesomeness of your show?
Rebecca: We have very minimal drama. The response has been love it or hate it. When we do Twitter searches, we find people love our show. People who love it, love it like crazy. People who want what they think we have are crazy about our show. Christians love our show. Even non-professing believers, love the positivity. Some people are mean. We have the same effect that the Bible has on people. You’re either for us or against us, there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground at all.
Gary Johnson of "The Family Crews" talks about season two. Watch.
Tracy: How do your kids adjust to the celebrity and the reactions from fans?
Rebecca:They’re aloof to it, to be honest. We’re not as recognized as a lot of people are. We’re primarily recognized by members of our own community. We live in an area that’s lily-White. We don’t get a lot of interaction here, but if we go anywhere that’s our people, or Hispanic, they’ll call the kids out by name. They’re very, very sweet. I haven’t had anyone be unkind in my presence. Some of the ladies are like, “Girl, your man is fine.” He’s not a superstar to me. I’m proud of him. He’s my husband and their dad. We’re real people. We have a lot that others don’t have, but we have the same kind of lifestyle issues you have. We have to work and make sure everyone’s OK. We hope the family stays together.
Tracy: Now, the family includes a new baby. What’s it like being a grandmom?
Rebecca: I couldn’t contain my joy when I met my granddaughter. She’s the light of my life. I don’t have to hold her, change her and walk with her all night. She’s just amazing. She’s very bright, and she’s walking already. She’s just as cute as she wants to be. [Naomi, the baby's mother] has recently gotten married. She’ s putting her home first, looking out for her baby and taking care of her man. I do say, keep your career, and keep your thing on the backburner in case you need to make money. Don’t give up your dreams. I did let myself fall in the trap of making others’ issues more important than my own. I encourage women to keep their family and don’t forget about yourself. There’s a time for everything. You can’t do everything at once and be flexible.
Tracy: Will Naomi’s wedding air on the show?
Rebecca: I wish it had. Maybe we’ll do another one. For now, they wanted to make it right. They went ahead and did a [justice of the peace] wedding. It was four in the afternoon. I wasn’t there. I was sad about that, but there’s going to be another celebration at some point; I’m sure. She’s voiced her desire to do that. I’m sure we can do that. We have to make that happen for them.
Tracy: So, what’s it like to be in a marriage where you have to relocate a lot, and what advice would you give to other couples in a similar situation?
Rebecca: I was never of the opinion that I was going to be moving around. I was of the opinion that I’m committed to my mate. Once I got married, whatever we’re doing, we’re together. I wouldn’t have assuaged myself by sitting in another city while my husband’s away from me for a very long time. I don’t think marriages survive that. How we handled being away and coming back together? We stayed on the phone and Skype. It’s about priorities. Is your marriage the priority? If it’s not and work is, you’re likely to have problems in your marriage. There has to be an effort for both to make marriage first.
Tracy: Tell us something about Terry that we don’t already know?
Rebecca: He was electrocuted when he was 3 years old. That’s why he has an odd scar on his lip. He was electrocuted with 100,000 volts and survived. The part of his lip that was blown away was done over by a plastic surgeon. There was reconstructive surgery at 14 or 15 years old. He’d put an extension cord into his mouth. He’s a miracle. God spared his life for a reason. He’s alive today and doing great things. The other thing is that he’s an artist. He’s an absolutely talented, amazing artist. He paints. He draws. He went to school on an art scholarship before he got a football scholarship. He walked on and got a scholarship. He’s lived through a lot, and overcome a lot, to be who he is. He’s just a champion.
– Tracy L. Scott