Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Lisa Raye recently sat down with Essence and set the record straight on her financial status and marriage.

ESSENCE.COM: Is it difficult to go through rough times publicly, especially with a spouse.
Yes. There is a law in Turks and Caicos that you must remain married for three years before you begin any kind of divorce proceedings. If you want to get a divorce before that you have to be able to prove certain things that will grant you the right to do so.

ESSENCE.COM: What evidence did you provide that helped you in your case?
I can’t be specific right now. I will say that there are things that happen within a marriage which can disrespect the union and actions can be taken against those things. As an actress, I have put myself out there as an independent Black woman, a single mom, a go-getter, a hustler who isn’t afraid to survive. If you get with a man who goes against who you are or what you believe in, people who know you begin to say, “Hey, that’s not the LisaRaye I know.” As his wife, my name has been associated with things that I have nothing to do with, and I have to fight to clear my name.

ESSENCE.COM: When you say you have to “fight for your name” are you referring to the British investigation into the government of Turks and Caicos and its leader, your estranged husband?
Yes. I have been summoned to the hearing for questioning from the commission regarding the corruption inquiry into my husband’s government.

ESSENCE.COM: Do you believe your husband is innocent or guilty of those allegations?
That’s not for me to decide.

ESSENCE.COM: Do you think that you and your husband could have avoided such a public war?
Honestly, I hoped our divorce could be amicable. I’m saying to him, “Let’s get it over with so we can move on with our lives. It’s not fair to keep me involved in all this mess that I know nothing about… I’m human and enough is enough.” I’m going through some things, but I’ve been quiet and haven’t spoken to my country. I was trying to bow out gracefully, but after a while the Southside [of Chicago] had to come forward and finally say, “Hold on! Wait a minute!”

ESSENCE.COM: Many balked at your whirlwind romance and marriage and accused you of being an opportunist. How do you feel about that assessment of your character?
First of all, I’m a fan of love and partnership. I would say this to my critics: If a man comes to you there obviously has to be a connection. I had a man who’s smart and powerful and who I fell in love with. He’s embracing my family. Add the fact that I have an opportunity to bring tourism to his country and be involved in something historical. Who in the hell would say no? But what scared me was the idea of being First Lady?

ESSENCE.COM: Bloggers have often said that you’re too “ghetto” to be a First Lady. How does that make you feel?
I am not and never grew up in the ghetto. People need to get it right. I grew up on the Southside of Chicago. What people don’t realize is that my father was a multimillionaire who owned 12 hotels, motels, a steel mill, a radio station, a club, nursing home, and a law office. So I think it’s safe to say I’m a little above middle class and I’m a daddy’s girl. I make no apologies for loving the finer things in life or the men I choose to date. I don’t feel bad about the person I am. Now, I do have an edge, rawness and realness, and I can tell you I’m going to keep that. I’m one of those women who’s not to be messed with. I’m very opinionated and boisterous at times. I’m also kind and humble. I know when to fold and when to hold and that’s important. If my edge scares you, then you have a choice to remove yourself. Other than that, I’m very approachable, and when people meet me they always say, “You are so down to earth and nothing like I thought you were.”

GV Says: Did you peep Lisa's description of her upbringing....Interesting. I'm not mad....She's a little rough around the edges but I like her.

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