Nicole “Hoopz” Alexander is known for three things: winning the VH1 reality television shows “Flavor of Love,” and “I Love Money,” and getting her heartbroken by NBA vet, Shaquille O’Neal.
After scoring $250,000 from working the reality show circuit, and being publicly humiliated by her famous lover, Nicole slowly faded into a world of unforgettable reality TV stars.
Now she’s back in the spotlight and opening up about how she used her reality show spoils to buy a huge home in Tennessee, launch a clothing business, and build her brand, which includes her latest reality TV project “It Takes a Sister” on Oxygen. Nicole also serves as the executive producer on the series, and her aim is to use it to help shift society’s perception about black women on reality television.
“I’m still hopeful for love,” she tells xoNecole as she skims through her three-year relationship with retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal. “Shaquille is so smart in business and look at his wife [Shaunie]…being together with him, you just gotta sit back and soak up [that knowledge] and pray you’re making the right decisions, too.”
Below are excerpts from Nicole’s chat with the celebrity news site about her sibling series, her ex-boyfriend and her new love.
On your recent reality show, within the first episode we see you crying over your ex. We’ve followed your relationship over the last few years, and you guys were very cute and best friends. What happened?
I don’t want to say anything that may offend him, or if he thinks or looks at it differently–out of respect for him, but we just started seeing two different things. I just feel like, I started losing a little bit of who I was. Because I’m not overshadowed by him, but my focus became him. And I still had a career to uphold, and I still had a fan base, and I still have all these other things, so we just started to go different ways. And I came back home and we started doing long distance a little bit, just to get some space and you know — It’s so weird to watch myself crying on television, because you guys never see me cry in any of those shows. But I’m like a hopeless romantic, my heart is humongous so I do get hurt a lot.
I’m at my store and my phone started ringing off the hook from people I haven’t talked to in a while. And they’re like, “Oh Nikki, I’m so happy you’re on TV. You and Shaquille-you guys are at the Wimbledon.” And I’m like, I’m not at the Wimbledon. I’m at my store right now, about to put up my opening sign. Then I looked, and the story was everywhere. And I’m thinking, but that’s not me!
It was an uppercut. I just didn’t expect him to do something like that!
And I literally sat there and I’m looking at them sitting next to each other and she’s all over him, so I knew it had to have been longer than obviously what I just saw.
And everything was good before that right?
Yes, we were fine. We were in a little long distance relationship, but everything was fine. But the respect level of not being out in public. For me, let me have done that and he would have killed me. Out of respect, I would have never taken someone to a major event that you know would be televised. To me, it was like more of an ‘F U!’ And that’s what hurt the most. We were supposed to be way better than that. Do that behind closed doors, not that I’m saying that would have been okay, but be better. Don’t be sloppy.
At the end of the day, you can’t hold on to that. People are going to do what they are going to do. There is no stopping that. I’m not saying it didn’t effect me at first, because it still hurts now, but you gotta be like, okay, cool. It is what it is. It’s what he decided to do and he has to live with that. I move on and be the best person I can be. I’m still hopeful for love.
Tell us about your new love!
His name is Ovince St. Preaux. We’ve been together a little over a year. I wasn’t looking for anything. I was just happy I was going to be focused on me. Doesn’t it always happen that way? The minute you’re like no, I’m just going to focus on me, career, and that’s it. And then, oh hi! You meet someone and then one thing leads to another.
I took a chance on love again, even after the past, which is really hard. But he is so patient and I love him to death for that. To be able to just be there and to still be okay with me letting all that go. And still loving me.
He has a big career on his hands too, [he is a UFC fighter], but we’re juggling the time between our relationship and our careers between each other.
It’s been over seven years since you’ve done reality TV, what influenced your decision to return?
I’ve gotten offers to do shows before, but I need substance behind my shows or something deeper. I wouldn’t do it if it was anything different. We were the forerunners of reality television. We started the love shows [with Flavor of Love], and we started the challenge shows. I like to forefront new movements. And I’m not taking away from any of the family shows on TV. I think they are all great.
I think I just wanted to bring a different element of real. I have five younger sisters, you get to see them all. And with all the 13 kids, which you’ll only get to see eight, it’s such a humongous family. And they are such a big important part of my life. They are the reason that I work so hard and have to keep maintaining. They are my drive. And you have to keep the business in the family. So, I’m just passing it on down.
Upgrade or Downgrade: Did These Celebs Find Better?
1. Shaunie O'Neal was married to Shaq for over eight years before their divorce. Shaunie has since moved on and although she may have financially downgraded we are thinking her new man is an upgrade in many ways. Check out her new beau next.1 of 43
2. We are sure Shaunie is not worried about money with her young honey dip model boyfriend Marlon Yates. Plus, she has her own show and she is probably racking in alimony.2 of 43
3. Deion Sanders and Pilar Sanders3 of 43
4. Deion Sanders4 of 43
5. Janet Jackson and James Debarge's marriage was annulled in 1985.5 of 43
6. She then found love in producer Jermaine Dupri6 of 43
7. ...but she landed on top with current husband Wissam Al Mana7 of 43
8. Nelly dated Ashanti off and on for over five years...8 of 43
9. ...then he was spotted hanging out with model, LaShontae9 of 43
10. but after they broke up, he was caught hanging out with Floyd Mayweather's ex, Miss Jackson.10 of 43
11. But don't feel sorry for LaShontae, she bounced back with NBA baller Brandon Jennings.11 of 43
12. ...who used to date G.O.O.D Music's first lady, Teyana Taylor. He's gotta thing for curly haired girls, huh?12 of 43
13. Kim Kardashian definitely has taken her chances with love over the years. She's dated....13 of 43
14. Ray-J14 of 43
15. Nick Cannon15 of 43
16. Reggie Bush16 of 43
17. Miles Austin17 of 43
18. and finally ended up pregnant by Kanye. Upgrade?18 of 43
19. Amber Rose was with Kanye West19 of 43
20. Then she married and divorced Wiz Khalifa...20 of 43
21. ...and now she is dating rapper Machine Gun Kelly. Upgrade or downgrade?Source:Machine Gun Kelly Instagram 21 of 43
22. Selita Ebanks was engaged to Nick Cannon22 of 43
23. ..and also dated Terrence J23 of 43
24. Terrence J is now dating model Nicole IssacsSource:Terrence's Instagram 24 of 43
25. Nicole Murphy and Michael Strahan are reportedly engaged but before him.....25 of 43
26. Nicole was married to Eddie Murphy. We think she upgraded! Looks wise at least. (Pr)26 of 43
27. Nick Cannon is no stranger to dating celebrity women. He's dated.....27 of 43
28. Kim Kardashian28 of 43
29. Christina Milian29 of 43
30. Engaged to Selita Ebanks30 of 43
31. FINALLY he settled down with Mariah Carey only to divorce her a few years later. (PR)31 of 43
32. Eva Pigford and the uber handsome Lance Gross were engaged but that ended and she dated.....32 of 43
33. Flo Rida33 of 43
34. She recently ended things with singer Kevin McCall. He just might look better than Lance!34 of 43
35. Oh and Lance? Since qualling it quits with Eva he has since married stylist Rebecca JeffersonSource:Lance Gross Instagram 35 of 43
36. Rihanna36 of 43
37. Rihanna Loves herself some Chris Brown but before their reconciliation she dated....(PR)37 of 43
38. MLB Star Matt Kemp. We are throwing in our vote for him!38 of 43
39. BUT, not so fast, she ditched Matt and has been spotted with on-again off-again beau, Drake39 of 43
40. Halle Berry seems like she has finally found the one in Olivier but before him she was with....40 of 43
41. Gabriel Aubry41 of 43
42. Eric Benet42 of 43
43. Wesley Snipes43 of 43
(Photo Source: Instagram)