Business mogul and executive producer Tracey Edmonds is stepping out from behind the corner office desk and out from behind the camera to join her man, Deion Sanders, on his new reality show “Deion’s Family Playbook” on OWN. Sure she’s producing the family-focused show, but on this project her main role is as girlfriend to the former NFLer and dad of 10! That’s right, Deion plays daddy to 10 kids (5 biological), plus Tracey’s two sons (with ex-husband Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds). Talk about a blended family!
In between flights to Dallas (where Deion lives) and helming her companies Edmonds Entertainment Group and Our Stories Films, Tracey takes a moment to jump on the phone with CocoaFab’s Amy Elisa Keith to dish about it all: learning to love after two divorces, being a minivan mom, and the future of television for African-Americans.
Amy: What made you really want to step in front of the reality TV cameras because you’re so well versed behind the scenes?
Tracey: To be honest with you, I got pushed in front of the camera. My preference has always been being behind the camera and I always promised that I would remain behind the camera. However, we wanted to keep things real. The real story is Deion’s girlfriend so in order to capture life as it really is with Deion and that requires that I’m front of the camera to show America what Deion’s life is really like. Also I felt protected because we were on OWN and so many other networks amp up the conflict and fighting, producing artificial drama.
Amy: Seems like Deion was very persuasive. He seems like quite the personality. How do you guys balance your different personalities?
Tracey: When we first started dating, I thought ‘You’re the most alpha male I have ever come into my life. You’re about as testosterone driven as any man as I have ever met.’ He’s got a big, strong personality but he teases back that I’m quite the alpha female as well. Our personalities though actually working on the show together we actually really, creatively and instinctively with what we wanted to do we were in sync with everything. I think the biggest challenge was me as a producer, wearing the producer hat as well as being Deion’s girlfriend as well as being on camera was really Deion’s crazy schedule. We only had about six weeks to capture everything going on for the show and so when you have a limited amount of time and Deion all over the place and you’re trying to also capture all the kids and what’s going on with their stories. That was a bit challenging.
Amy: With the blended families how many kids are there in total with both of you?
Tracey: I have two of my own. I have two boys that live out here with me in LA and then Deion he’s got five biological kids and he’s got another five kids on top of that he really is helping to raise. That being the twins that are on the show and then his sister’s kids, TJ the baby and his niece Tia and then Florida who’s the baby. There are 10 in his household and then my two so 12.
Amy: That is a full team right there.
Tracey: It keeps life quite active and crazy at times. Crazy fun. They’re truly so much fun to be around. It could have been quite different. I could have fallen in love with Deion and then started pulling my hair out thinking, “Oh my God, how am I going to deal with this.” But I truly love his children. They’re in my heart all the time just like my own kids are.
Amy: You talked about Deion’s busy schedule and you just aren’t sitting at home by yourself eating BonBon’s either. You’re running a major studio but how do you all juggle the long distance love? Are you out in Dallas all the time? Is he in LA?
Tracey: We try to have a regular schedule but sometimes our regular schedule doesn’t work out. As a rule we make sure that we don’t go any longer than a week and a half without seeing each other. During the football season it’s easier because he is in LA on the weekend. When football season is over and he goes back to Dallas and he goes on a family trip then I fly out to Dallas. That’s when we try to work out the schedule of me being in LA for a week and me being in Dallas for a week. When I’m in Dallas my boys are with their dad [Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds].
Amy: That is quite a lot of juggling.
Tracey: I know. I know it is. I mean it’s really hectic and it’s kind of like, it’s kind of like I have two wholly different lifestyles. My LA lifestyle and my Dallas lifestyle. When I get out there it’s a whole different me. I’m driving mini vans. I’m taking the kids to football games on the weekends and baseball games and basketball games. It’s quite different.
Amy: It seems like the long distance relationship is actually a ‘pro’ given our busy work schedule.
Tracey: It really does and I tell myself this all the time I’m really blessed that I have a tremendous, amazing man in my life. That kind of fulfils everything now and satisfies everything for me now. I don’t have to be that woman kind of going out all the time trying to meet someone. I have an amazing man in my life and so that allows me to just focus on family. Family, Deion and then my work. It’s nice if Deion is in Dallas, I work and I come home and spend time with my kids.
Amy: That’s so great to hear you say because divorce can shake people to their core. Did you think that after divorce that love was going to take a back seat?
Tracey: I’m a very romantic person. I always kind of hoped and pray and I’m always optimistic about love. I did go though those ups and downs, after post divorce and you try relationships and certain relationships don’t work and you do sometime reach a point where you’re like, ‘You know what? I’m tired of forcing it, searching. I’m just going to focus on my kids and my work.’ No sooner did I do that then miraculously God puts someone into my life.
SOURCE: Amy Elisa Keith