(Photograph: Sabrina Lott)
Tami Roman is the subject of several online petitions deeming her a bully and seeking to end her stint on "Basketball Wives," but the television personality insists that there is more to her than the VH1 reality television series that made her popular. Now, the famed reality television antagonist is ready to turn over a new leaf and is leaning on her Christian faith while on the road to redemption.
Roman, the 43-year-old ex-wife of retired NBA player Kenny Anderson, joined the cast of "Basketball Wives" during its second season, and during her time on the show, has engaged in her share of physical and verbal altercations. However, it seemed that fans were fed up with her behavior after season four.
When Roman's encounter with former "Basketball Wives" co-star Kesha Nichols drove the latter to tears, she was accused of bullying by thousands of people who took to change.org to create and sign petitions to have her removed from the show. While Roman eventually apologized to Nichols for her aggressive behavior, the show's fans were not so forgiving.
The entire ordeal and resulting backlash caused the tough-as-nails reality television star to fall into depression.
"I was traumatized," Roman revealed to The Christian Post. "I became an introvert and literally withdrew from everybody that loved me, the people that I worked with and I didn't know how to handle what was happening."
After the noticeable change in Roman's behavior caused a friend to check on her, the mother of two decided it was time to check in with God.
"It caused me to just say, 'ok God help me out of this situation' and I decided to make all the necessary changes," Roman told CP. "But I needed to have people really know me, know Tami and not just the imagery that they see on 'Basketball Wives.'"
It was then that she decided to take on multiple speaking engagements where she could meet people in real life, away from the drama drummed up on television screens. Prayer was the tool used to pull Roman out of the depression following season four of "Basketball Wives," and it was indeed also prayer that brought her to the show in the first place.
As a single mother of two young girls, Roman was having trouble keeping the lights on in her home and receiving public assistance. She desperately wanted to provide a better life for her children and begged God to help her out of the tough times.
"I honestly got down on my knees and just said 'God please send me what I'm supposed to be doing.' I know this is not right, I know I'm not supposed to be in this moment," Roman recalled to CP. "And literally the next day I woke up and the idea came to me that VH1 had wanted me to be involved with 'Basketball Wives' the year before. And I said maybe I should contact them now and see if they'll put me on season two."
After feeling convicted to provide a better life for the two lives depending on her, Roman's prayer was answered and she was cast as a member of "Basketball Wives" during its second season. Although she grew up in a Christian family and was even baptized three times, the defining moment in her walk with God came while enduring hardship with her daughters.
However, God has brought Roman through a number of other trials in life that she is now ready to come to terms with.
"I've been in situations when I've been in domestic violence situations, my mother and I talked about it on the show. I've been molested as a child, I've been raped before, I've been homeless, I've been in a marriage where there was infidelity," Roman revealed to CP. "I think I've run the gamut of things that are not right. So from an overall perspective, I always look back at what I think is the worst day of my life and then I say, 'you made it through that so you can make it through anything else.'"
After watching herself for over three seasons on "Basketball Wives," Roman realizes that her troubled past may have played a role in her negative behavior showcased for audiences on the show.
"I watch myself and I see myself on t.v. and I think what it has taught me is that I've been harboring a lot of feelings about my past. I have a defensive personality and I've learned through the course of this show that you can't do that," Roman told CP. "Sometimes the way you've perceived something is not the way a person intended that to be and I had to learn to articulate rather than get angry, rather than curse people out."
While Roman openly admitted that being a "profanity scholar" is her vice, she is also ready to showcase her growth on the show.
"You know people saw me lash out at people on the show for three seasons and particularly the fifth season, I didn't want to be that type of person," Roman told CP. "Even in past episodes of this season, people saw me explode and be able to bring myself right back down because I don't want to continue to be that type of person that feels I need to put up my dukes in order to express myself."
Although Roman is learning how to navigate through the backlash stemming from her own actions on "Basketball Wives" she is not ready to accept the backlash her daughters Lyric,19, and Jazz,17, receive just for being her children. Roman recently took to Instagram to apologize to Lyric who was scrutinized for her appearance on a recent episode of the show with her mother.
Roman vowed not to involve her daughters on the show in the future, telling CP that her 19-year-old Christian daughter is a straight-As college student, who is bilingual in French and deserves to enjoy her youth without unnecessary backlash.
It is up to Roman to take the reigns as the matriarch of her household after her mother, Nadine, recently passed away following a battle with liver cancer. Roman acknowledges that the loss of her mother has been difficult, but she testifies God is helping her deal with the loss.
"I know all things happen according to God's plan," Roman told CP. "So I had to come to the realization that even though I wanted my mother to be here with me, that wasn't His plan for her. But I think through his deciding to take her from me and my daughters, it's caused me to grow up."
While Roman's mother once handled much of the reality television star's business ventures, she is now standing on her own two feet by co-hosting the late night talk show "Tiny Tonight," marketing a hair extension line, and creating a cosmetics line called TR Love Cosmetics that features its lipgloss in Walgreens stores and donates a portion of their proceeds to the Akasha Center for Integrative Treatment.
Before "Basketball Wives," Roman had a 14-year career in the entertainment industry and wrote a short film, "Sundays At Noon," which is making its way around the film festival circuit.
Since "Basketball Wives" films for six months and is edited down into one-hour episodes to create exciting storylines, Roman insists that fans don't get to see her for who she fully is. She is an avid church attendee at The Fountain of Praise Church in Houston, TX where she encourages people to visit. She is also a mother who prides herself on instilling spiritual and moral values upon her daughters, and she is a businesswoman who is determined to be defined by more than who she was once married to.
"'Basketball Wives' doesn't and will never define me. It's just one more step in my life that's afforded me a certain amount of popularity and vision in the entertainment industry," Roman told CP. "I'll continue it as long as it continues and when the next thing comes along I hope to be involved with something else. I want people to know and really try to understand that there's more to me than "Basketball Wives"."