'The Real': Loni Love on How She Feels Tamar Braxton's Firing 'Tarnished' the Talk Show (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
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Loni Love knows her fans want the full story -- so that's what she's giving them in her new book. The comedian's memoir, I Tried to Change So You Don't Have To, chronicles her childhood growing up in the projects, her dating mishaps, career journey and time as a co-host on The Real.
In a candid interview with ET's Deidre Behar, Love talks about spilling it all in her book, including her experience during Tamar Braxton's dramatic departure from The Real in 2016, and how she feels it "tarnished" the groundbreaking show.
Braxton's firing from The Real seemed to come out of nowhere. She's said she was given no explanation of why she was let go from the series, and Love and the other co-hosts, Adrienne Houghton, Tamera Mowry-Housley and Jeannie Mai, said they were also taken aback by the news. However, rumors quickly spread about drama among the ladies, especially after Braxton posted on Instagram about being backstabbed and then unfollowed Love. She unfollowed the other women days later.
"Everybody gets their day in court and everybody gets to tell their side and everybody gets to tell their truth. That's the reason why you write books -- it's to tell your truth," Love tells ET. "The fans deserve it, the fans want to know another side. Well, you're gonna get it."
The aftermath of Braxton's firing was particularly hard on Love, as online trolls accused her of being responsible for it.
"I used to be the person that was like, 'You know what? It will all blow over.' But we live in the age now of social media where it doesn't blow over. It's there forever, there are things that everyone on the show has said that are still living. So, you still have to continue to fight for your character, and I think there's nothing wrong with fighting for your character and fighting for your truth," she explains.
"I've always been a strong person, and in the book, you will understand why certain things were said, why certain things weren't said," Love shares. "Hopefully this will give people another view."
The comedian wants fans to know that despite rumors, Love didn't lobby to have Braxton fired. On the contrary, she's still supportive of Braxton and wishes her the best. Love even gave the singer a shoutout when The Real celebrated its 1000th episode in February, noting that the milestone belonged to everyone involved.
"I think I got a bad rap, and all the girls got a bad rap. But it was really mostly on me because we weren't allowed to speak about it and when you're not allowed to speak about it, that means only one side of the story is out there," Love says. "Then what happens is perception from that one side becomes reality, and that's what hurts. It's so unfair, but people in the industry, they probably know, but outside people don't and that's what is totally not fair."
"None of the girls should have been blamed," she adds. "None of us did anything."
Love says that decisions about co-hosts are "all above my pay grade, but people want to believe what they want to believe." She still feels bad about the situation for two reasons: first, because she was blamed for it, and second, because "somebody did lose a job." "That was embarrassing, it was hurtful, it was confusing for all of us," she confesses. "I have a set of fans that really want to understand it, so I put it in a book."
Love is now allowed to speak out about Braxton's departure, and speculates that the studio realized it made some "mistakes" in not permitting her and her co-hosts to defend themselves sooner. The headlines over Braxton's exit exploded, and Love thinks it "really tarnished" the show and what they were trying to accomplish as women of color.
"You look at other talk show hosts. They get canned and contracts end all the time. ... This was the first show that was like, all women of color, and it really tarnished the show, I believe. It left this cloud of suspicion on the show, and it took like a couple of seasons for us to get over that," Love explains. "The show wasn't meant for that. The show was really meant to uplift and show diversity amongst women."
Love has tried to reach out to Braxton to clear the air. She sends her text messages every now and then, but says she doesn't get any response.
"I just wish her the best. I think she's a powerhouse... But I think it's time to really get together, and she knows that we're not mad at her. We're not upset, it’s just that we just want to clear the record, seriously clear the record. And the only way you're gonna clear the record is if she says something or we all meet and we just have it publicly out there," Love shares. "It doesn't have to happen with any cameras or anything like that. I just want her to know."
That level of honesty is consistent throughout Love's book, I Tried to Change So You Don't Have To, which offers fans a new perspective on Love's journey to Hollywood success.
"It's called I Tried to Change So You Don't Have To because I thought, 'Let me do things that men do,' so I'm going to go through my man phase. And then, 'Let me look like I got it all together and I'm rich and I fake it 'til I make it.' That didn't make it. Then I got to the point where I thought I was gonna be a rapper because I was, like, Missy Elliott 2.0. I was like, 'Let me do the rapper phase.' I was the worst rapper," Love jokes, recalling how she also tried to be a televangelist and "sexy plus size" siren before realizing it wasn't going to work out. "I've been through it all. So, it's an interesting story."
"At the end of the day... you gotta be who you are. [The book] tells how I came from the projects with nothing to becoming an Emmy-winning talk show host," Love said. "This is a blessing to me, so I just want to share it and inspire people with it."
Love's book, I Tried to Change So You Don't Have To, is out now.