Shaunie O’Neal, Tami Roman, Evelyn Lozada explain ‘BBW’ cast changes

    TamiRoman-ShaunieONeal-EvelynLozada-Basketball Wives
    Shaunie O’Neal, Tami Roman and Evelyn Lozada are explaining why Jennifer Williams and Royce Reed weren’t invited back for season 5 “Basketball Wives.”

    Last season, the show came under fire for allegedly promoting violence and thuggery because of all the fights, altercations and general nastiness against certain members of the cast. However, Shaunie, Evelyn and Tami were at the middle of the firestorm because many looked at them as the main mean-girl culprits on “Basketball Wives.”

    By the time the season 4 reunion rolled around, all of them had vowed to turn over a leaf because even they were astounded by what they saw themselves doing on TV. But the full weight of their actions didn’t hit them until a petition to stop Evelyn’s spin-off “Ev & Ocho” from airing hit the web. The action was later expanded to include “BBW” and the show lost some big advertisers.

    “[It] was so difficult to deal with when it was airing and when it was all over with,” Shaunie told Upscale magazine. “By the time we did the [season four] reunion we all agreed enough is enough. We had a group talk and were all definitely on the same page. We heard the messages loud and clear. We knew we had to do better. It was an eye opener.”

    The petition against “Ev & Ocho” wound up becoming a non-factor as the show, which would have followed Evelyn and Chad Johnson as they planned their July 2012 wedding, was yanked due to a domestic dispute. Evelyn confronted Chad about cheating and he head butted her less than six weeks after they wed.

    “People were connecting my behavior on the show with the incident with Chad,” said Evelyn. “They were like, ‘Well if she acts like that on the show, then I’m sure she acts like that at home.’ I’m a totally different person at home.”

    For Tami’s part in all the drama, she revealed that she was going through some very difficult things off camera that affected her behavior when shooting began.

    “I was very depressed last summer. I was dealing with some things that were going on with my mother and everything that was happening with the backlash from the show,” Tami explained. “I started eating everything under the sun. I blew up to about 190-ish pounds. I’m a tall girl, so I wear it well, but I was bordering between [size] 14 and 16 in my clothes.”

    Curiously, Jennifer Williams was not invited back for another season of “BBW” after Evelyn and her assistant got physically violent with her. Jenn and Evelyn, who started the show as best friends, made up by the time the season 4 reunion rolled around. Unfortunately that was not enough to keep her or Royce Reed on the cast .

    “It was a chemistry thing. It just became awkward to film or even come up with a conversation. It just wasn’t working for TV,” Shaunie explained, leaving out the fact that she and Evelyn refused to even film with Royce last season.

    Evelyn swiftly jumped in to fill a few blanks on the casting decision with a more than a little shade. “Royce has been a non-motherf—ing factor for the last two seasons, so it just didn’t make sense anymore,” Evelyn interjected. “And as for Jennifer—Shaunie is [being] nice but I’m going to tell you this—we don’t condone the incident with Jennifer, but we do reality TV.”

    Ev continued, “You know something’s bound to happen when you put a bunch of women together and there’s a lot of behind the scenes conversation and gossip going on. So when Jennifer went on this whole anti-show campaign, it was a little tough for us as cast members.”

    Check out the chemistry with the new cast when “Basketball Wives” returns for season 5 in August.

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