Story by Danielle Canada
Images by DeWayne Rogers for
Steed Media Service
Makeup: Ashunta Sheriff
Hair: Troy Turner
Wardrobe Stylist: Arzo Anwar of Blends Showroom
New York City is apparently experiencing a Govan takeover. There are two very small — yet very lively — Afro-Hispanic women who differ significantly in demeanor invading the metropolis on this mid-September day. One Govan woman is already well into her rolling out cover shoot with her husband, when the second Govan sister pops up on set. Where Gloria Govan seems polished and sugary sweet, her sister, Laura, reads a little less refined, a lot more boisterous and a smidgen more bona fide. She’s walking like a bird (her words), because she’s just had a fresh pedicure and is wearing the thin drying sandals dished out at nail shops. In attempt to keep her polish smudge-free, she’s aping the gait of an ostrich. Dare we say an elegant and very thin one at that. “Someone came up to me and said, ‘Hey, you’re Laura!’” says the “Basketball Wives LA” star with a trademark smile that covers half of her slender face. After quickly denying that it was indeed her, the svelte mother of four demonstrates how she walked away, birdlike and all, before plopping down into the makeup chair. Satisfied with her story, that big Govan grin is back, embellishing her face once again.
Unlike her sister, Laura is solo on today’s shoot. Also unlike her sibling, the years of love, fights and bevy of babies are embodied on the ring finger of her left hand. At the time, the younger Govan was wedding band free and reportedly unconcerned with thoughts of marriage. Gloria’s since wed, however, and is happy to be Mrs. Matthew Barnes. But for Laura, things are a little different. Her beau of 10 plus years, Gilbert Arenas, has gifted her with a massive engagement ring consisting of several smaller diamonds leading up to a colossal stone. It looks heavy and I can’t resist asking her if it is hard earned.
“I work hard, we’ve been together 12 years,” says Laura. “It’s not about the ring size, it’s about what this represents. Had he given me a string and tied it around [my finger], and said words that were meaningful — that would be just as meaningful as a million-dollar ring. That’s not what it’s about for me. It’s about raising a family, having values. Being able to look at each other and like each other. You can love a n—– all day, but if you don’t like him …” she lets the statement hang in the air. “You have to learn each other.”
Surprisingly, the ring doesn’t come without woes. When viewers caught a glimpse of her rock during the 2011 “Basketball Wives LA” reunion, she was barraged with threats.
While looking effortlessly beautiful and writhing for our cameras on a chestnut colored couch, Laura says rather pointedly, “I got death threats [over it] after the reunion.” She goes on to say that she keeps herself — and the bling — safe in her own special way.
When she’s not fielding comments about her blinding finger candy, Laura’s fielding questions about her weight. The mother of four is significantly smaller than the woman who threatened to thrash Malaysia Pargo on public television. That was one year, several Pargo sit-downs and 86 pounds ago.
“I got lazy after the fourth baby. I said, ‘oh well.’ I got big, f— it. I’m just gonna keep it rolling,” says Laura while having her hair toyed with. “I still ate like I was pregnant for a while. I’m the type of person who says ‘Next Monday, or the 15th,’ that was me. One day my daughter was like ‘you got milk chocolate t—,’ because my nipples were so big and so dark. And then she was playing with my back fat, and it made me say, ‘wait a minute.’ ”
After being snapped back to reality by the gibes of her child, the former athlete and basketball coach took action. Laura says a strict exercise routine, that included carting her children in a wagon tied around her torso, brought her down to a much more familiar size and back to the Laura she knew.“My first motivation was to get back at Gilbert like, ‘I’ll show you what you lost.’ But it became more than that. It became about me, it became about my health, and I did something about it,” she says.
After noting that she and Gilbert have obviously reconciled, Govan says that instead of succumbing to surgery for some extra help, she changed her mind-set. “When I got serious the weight started dropping off. I did my workout throughout my house, because I was uncomfortable going to the gym. I didn’t wanna wear Gilbert’s shirts to the gym, I didn’t want anyone looking at me, period,” she says. “After I lost about 20 pounds I went to a doctor and said ‘can you take all of this off?’ He said, ‘No, you need to work out.’ The doctor told me if you lose 50 pounds I’ll do [a tummy tuck] for free in two months. I gave myself three months and lost 64 pounds.” Laura recently tweeted that her slimmed down figure was au naturel.
With the secret to her weight loss revealed, we wondered what else about the starlet our readers would be surprised to know. A couple of things are blatantly obvious; she’s in love with the father of her kids and Jackie Christie still gets on her nerves (she likens her to a leech). Laura is also actually quite bright, she boasts a master’s degree in sports psychology and she’s a former college business professor.
As for “Basketball Wives,” Laura says she will one day tell her kids that her reality show was just entertainment, much like their “Tom & Jerry” cartoons. As for a final fact about Ms. Govan? She thinks she’s pretty damn adorable, whether you like it or not.
“I’m real, I’m cute, I’m all-American, girl!” she says. And that trademark grin is back again.