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Michael Ealy On How Important It Was To Learn His Wife's Love Language

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On Friday (May 3), The Intruder hits theaters and the film's trailers promise to give us the steamy love scene between Michael Ealy and Meagan Good we didn't know we needed. In the psychological thriller, the stars play a couple who are taking the next step in their relationship and buying their first home, only to find that they are now stuck with an uninvited houseguest from hell.


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While the couple conjured up some major chemistry on-screen for the film, in real life, the stars are both married to partners who they are very much in love with.

Like all couples, celebrities aren't immune to miscommunication. We all have a desire to be loved, but not just any old way. A few years back, the internet was introduced to the concept of love languages by Gary Chapman and had the relationship world shook. It was then that we learned that misunderstandings can happen when it comes to the way we love, too. Michael Ealy, who has been married to his wife, Khatira Rafiqzada, since October 2012, recently sat down with xoNecole and opened up about how learning to love in his wife's language transformed his marriage for the better.

The 45-year-old actor revealed that understanding the way your partner needs to be loved lies in paying attention to the little things. He shared, "There are definitely lessons that come with staying with somebody and living with someone. Most of it is learning how to meet them at their level. Right? So for my wife, celebrating her birthday and I think certain other holidays really matter to her. They don't, to me. My birthday could come and go. It doesn't matter to me."

Instagram/@MichaelEaly

According to Michael, the key to a lasting relationship is knowing when to put your partner's needs before your own, even if that means taking time to celebrate special occasions you never may have cared about before. He shared that although he never put much importance on his birthday, understanding the sentimental value that certain holidays have for his wife made him change his perspective.

"I had to not approach her birthday in the way in which I approach mine. That was a hard lesson to learn and it took me a couple of years to figure it out. Because it was important to her, I realize, yeah, this is who you married. Like you married someone who, for whatever reason, this matters to them."

Michael says that being conscious of what matters to your partner is important because although certain acts of love may be menial to you, they can mean the world to the person you love. The Intruder actor told xoNecole, "So I have to kind of put aside whatever philosophy I have to kind of get through my life and any holidays in my world and be like, 'okay, this matters to you. I'm going to do whatever it takes so that you can be happy on this day because it makes you feel heard.'"

Spoken like a true heartthrob.

His co-star, Meagan, who has also been married to her husband, author and TV producer, Devon Franklin for the past five years, added to this sentiment and revealed the most important lesson she's learned since becoming a wife. The actress explained, "One of the biggest things I've learned is that you cannot love somebody the way you want to be loved. You have to love them the way they want to be loved, and vice versa. And you guys have to learn each other's language."

GREGG DEGUIRE VIA GETTY IMAGES

Although initially, she and her husband had to make some adjustments and compromises when it came to their lifelong union, she learned that real love can come of a number of different packages and they won't all be something you're used to; and that's OK.

Watch the video of the actors' candid conversation with us below.

MICHAEL EALY REVEALS THE HARD LESSON HE LEARNED IN HIS MARRIAGEyoutu.be

The Intruder hits theaters on Friday!

Featured image by Instagram/@MichaelEaly.

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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