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LeBron & Savannah James Celebrate 19 Years Together & We Love To See It

"You wouldn't be talking to me right now if it wasn't for her."

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A big congratulations is certainly in store for the Jameses! Earlier this week, on September 14, LeBron and Savannah James celebrated their 8th year wedding anniversary. Symbolically speaking, the 8th year in marriage is usually represented by bronze. A mixed metal, bronze is durable and stronger than copper and iron (two symbols of earlier wedding anniversaries), which is why it is traditionally gifted to couples who make it to this milestone.


The superstar athlete has been a force of nature on the basketball court and has the accolades to prove it, but something he also takes pride in is his relationship off the court with his long-time love and high school sweetheart, Savannah. So bronze is no doubt worth its weight in gold for this couple.

To commemorate their anniversary, LeBron shared photos from their wedding day on Instagram with the caption:

"Our own personal Met Gala 8 years ago. Happy Anniversary Queen!! Who am i w/o you in my corner, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Love you"

Savannah took to her own Instagram to share more candid photos of the couple with a heartwarming caption of her own punctuated with the hashtag #LookWhatWeDid:

"Happy Anniversary to my forever scary movie partner, my forever feet warmer, the Capricorn to my Virgo, my bestie, my babe!!! 8 years down, forever to go! Love you deep!!"

LeBron and Savannah have a relationship that spans over two decades now. And though they are living and loving in the lifestyles of the rich and famous now, the couple had humble beginnings, including a first date that was at Outback Steakhouse in 2002.

Back then, LeBron was making a name for himself in football and basketball in Akron, Ohio while Savannah Brinson was a a cheerleader at a rival school. As the classic high school love story goes, the athlete and the cheerleader fell in love. Though Savannah acknowledged it wasn't love at first sight in an interview with Harper's Bazaar, she knew the potential for something more was being planted there, even at 16:

"I knew he loved me when I left my leftovers from dinner in his car. I'd totally forgotten about them, and he brought them to me. I think he just wanted another excuse to come and see me."

In 2003, LeBron would become a top pick for the NBA draft and would be selected to play for his home team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. It would be the beginning of a frutiful career in the NBA for the legendary King James. He'd go on to win Olympic gold medals, four NBA championships, four NBA Finals Most Valuable Player awards, four NBA Most Valuable Player awards -- and that's just the tip of the iceberg as far as accolades go.

2004 marked LeBron's rookie season in the NBA and would also be the year that LeBron and Savannah became parents. The couple welcomed their first child, a son named LeBron James, Jr. in October of that year. In regards to the surprise pregnancy, Savannah told Harper's Bazaar that she questioned how their lives would be impacted:

"I was very scared. I was bawling. But he (James) said, 'It's not going to slow me down, and it's not going to slow you down. We're going to keep doing what we have to do.'"

The couple would welcome their second son, Bryce Maximus James, on June 14, 2007. Three years later, in 2011, LeBron popped the question and proposed to his long-time love and the mother of his two sons, Savannah on New Year's Eve in France. He'd later tell Oprah Winfrey that deciding to propose was like "a finals game":

"I had been thinking about it, you know, for a while but it just came to me one day and I was like 'this is a part of growth for me.' This is I was like this is the lady and the woman I have been with through all the good and all the bad. She's been there for a long time and I wanted her to continue to be there with me, so I felt like at that moment it was time."

While it took nearly a decade for him to feel ready to propose, their engagement would only last two years. On September 14, 2013, LeBron and Savannah tied the knot amid a three-day star-studded wedding event. Guests included Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union, Chris Bosh, and La La Anthony. And the Jameses did it up big for their big day by getting Beyonce and Jay-Z to perform their collab hit "Crazy in Love" for their reception.

On October 22, 2014, Savannah gave birth to the couple's third child together. This time, a daughter named Zhuri Nova James. LeBron spoke candidly in 2018 about how becoming a girl dad made him a better man:

"I had two boys first, my oldest son, LeBron Jr., and my younger son, Bryce Maximus, and people always told me, if you ever have a girl she'll change you. Three years ago, this bright spot right here happened to our family. And not only did she change me, she's made me a better person. A more dedicated person, a stronger person. I guess a more sensitive person that realized that I have so much more of a responsibility to women in general. So, thank you, Zhuri."

Years later, for the couple's fifth wedding anniversary, LeBron kept the love train going by enlisting the help of singer Daniel Caesar to serenade Savannah with "Best Part" in the couple's living room. "Love you forever," LeBron captioned his Instagram story highlighting the surprise.

In an Instagram post commemorating their anniversary, LeBron clarified that though it was five years of marriage, it has been 18 years of being in a relationship for the lovebirds. "In all actuality going on 18 years. Happy Anniversary Queen," his caption read.

That same year, in a cover story with The Hollywood Reporter, LeBron shared his thoughts on the vital role his wife plays in his life. He credits a lot of his success to her and appreciates the fact that she was there when he had nothing else:

"But in all actuality, Savannah was with me shooting in the gym when I [had] absolutely nothing... [Savannah] was down when I was at my high school, no cameras, no lights. And she was there with me. You wouldn't be talking to me right now if it weren't for her."

LeBron is no stranger to shouting his love and devotion to Savannah from the rooftops for all the world to hear and see. Back in 2019, he penned a heartfelt message on Instagram to show his queen some much-needed appreciation just because:

"The only reason why I can do what I do at the highest level both on and off the floor is my because my best friend got my back regardless the outcome! I'm just the car, she's the engine! Appreciate you Wonder Woman aka Queen."

19 years and three children later, we're happy to see this Black love alive and thriving!

Congratulations LeBron and Savannah!

Featured image by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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