Shaunie O’Neal is transitioning from her Basketball Wives post to serving as a preacher’s wife alongside her husband, Pastor Keion Henderson.
The newlyweds tied the knot at the Aurora Anguilla Resort and Golf Club in May, as noted by People. The cameras were rolling for Shaunie’s big day, and the nuptials are currently being shared on her new VH1 special, Shaunie & Keion’s Destination “I Do.”
Speaking with BLACK ENTERPRISE, Shaunie and Pastor Keion spoke openly about deciding on a destination wedding to control the guestlist and their transitions in the wake of getting married.
For Shaunie, she’s had to adjust to life as a first lady for the first time in her life and get her fans used to the idea of her being married to a pastor. But the Basketball Wives executive producer is confident that the new show will introduce viewers to her “graduation” in life.
“I think that it is a journey of the new space that I’m in,” she told BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“I think it was important, especially for the Basketball Wives fans, it was important for me to show them me evolve into this new life that I have now. Because it’s always been so many questions of like, Oh, my God, you know, how are you a pastor’s wife now? And how do you just jump from one to the other? I think this special kind of shows my graduation.”
For Pastor Keion, reality television is a new space he’s had to get acclimated to after marrying a reality star and television producer.
“[it was] Quite frankly, frightening up front,” he revealed. “Because, you know, I live in a world where there isn’t much forgiveness offered, but a lot is needed.”
“But the more the days go by, the more comfortable I become in that reality and express the comfort of my own skin,” he explained. “It actually becomes preferable to the former.”
As for Shaunie’s adjustment to first lady duties, she feels it was a role she was prepped for, having grown up in the church.
“I think what the world doesn’t realize is that I’m already a church girl, I grew up in church, my mom was a church pianist, and my brother played the drums,” she shared. “I was a church secretary for a couple of years.”
“I know what a First Lady represents,” she continued. “I probably am not your typical first lady. But I do know what that is.”
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing as Shaunie shared her challenge of being her version of a first lady instead of who she felt people expected her to be.
“I struggled with thinking that I had to conform to what the people’s expectations of a First Lady was,” she said.
“And I think once Keion assured me and just affirmed in me that being my genuine self is all that he would ever look for me to be, that’s all I needed to hear.”
“I can’t meet everybody’s expectations, and then I probably never will. And that’s okay,” Shaunie added.
“My husband is fine with me being genuinely me. And that’s what I’m going to be. I think in doing that, I still accomplished many of the first lady expectations by bringing my genuine self and love and care for the people with me because that’s just who I authentically am.”
Shaunie & Keion’s Destination “I Do” premiered on Monday, Nov. 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT and will run for three weeks.