Shaunie Henderson and Pastor Keion Henderson
Exclusive Interviews

Shaunie Henderson On Being A Nontraditional Pastor Wife

Shaunie Henderson, the creator and executive producer of Basketball Wives, redefines traditional expectations as a pastor's spouse and first lady of The Lighthouse Church.

The star's journey began with a whirlwind romance with Pastor Keion Henderson in 2020, which led to their marriage years later. Since then, Shaunie has embraced many typical first lady roles, including supporting her husband, engaging in ministry responsibilities, providing spiritual leadership, and conducting community outreach.

Yet, the 49-year-old's background sets her apart from other first ladies. Shaunie brings a unique perspective as a public figure, which stems from her previous marriage to NBA star Shaquille O'Neal and her experience in reality television.

In an interview with xoNecole, while promoting her memoir Undefeated, the Basketball Wives creator discussed what being a first lady means to her and how she has lived her life non-traditionally.

When asked if she had always been nontraditional, Shaunie revealed that throughout her life, she has made it her mission to better herself by learning from experiences and breaking harmful cycles.

Shaunie Henderson and Pastor Keion Henderson

Shaunie Henderson and Pastor Keion Henderson

Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images

“I think that's just who I am. I can’t say I intentionally go against the grain. In the book, I talk about things from my childhood, like my dad being late all the time. I was totally opposite with my kids when they were in school. I was always there early. My mother is not affectionate, and she doesn't verbally say, ‘I love you,’ but she does things to let you know. That's the way she shows her love,” she said when describing her relationship with her parents.

“But because I missed that 'I love you' and hugging and kissing, I do that with my kids. I try to always give what I needed myself. There were basketball wives who weren’t very nice to me, so I went out of my way to make sure that once I was a wife that I didn't treat anybody else like that. No one was going to feel like that on my watch.”

Toward the end of the conversation, when discussing her first lady responsibilities and the pressures of upholding that image, the mother of five explained she isn't too hard on herself to fit the mold, given her significantly different background from most first ladies and her relatively new role.

“As far as being first lady, now, I'm not knocking how any first ladies decide to operate but I just knew that the idea of what that usually is was not me. And, to be honest, rightfully so. I'm probably the only first lady that created a reality show that has been on television since 2010. My life is not remotely close to that of most first ladies. We've experienced completely different things. Most of them have been pastor’s wives for a long time, this is all new for me. I come with an entirely different journey; that wouldn’t lend itself to being a traditional first lady,” she stated.

Shaunie's nontraditional approach appears to work in her favor, as she has been welcomed with open arms just as she is.

Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.

Feature image by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images



These Newlyweds Found Love Thanks To A Friend Playing Matchmaker

How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.

Jason and Elise Robinson’s union is a reminder that kind people still get their happily ever after. The pair had their first date in October of 2021 and tied the knot on June 15, 2024. Both of them have dedicated their lives to celebrating and supporting Black culture so it was only fitting they get married in what's considered the Black Hollywood of America during the Juneteenth celebration weekend. From the florists to Elise and Jason's gown and suit designers to the table signage and so much more, everything was Black-owned. It's no wonder their love for Black culture was the jumping-off point for their love story.

'ACross Generations With Tiffany Cross' Highlight Career Hardships With Melba Moore And Amari Marshall

ACross Generations with Tiffany Cross, the thought-provoking podcast featuring intergenerational discussions returns with a new episode exploring the realities of the entertainment industry.

This installment brings together host Tiffany Cross, Tony Award-winning actress and Grammy-nominated singer Melba Moore, and dancer extraordinaire Amari "Monster" Marshall. The dynamic trio engages in a compelling conversation, delving into the artists' financial struggles, the impact of social media, and the importance of mentorship in the industry.