Entertainment

‘Basketball Wives: LA’ Star Talks Abusive Relationship With Estranged Husband, Jayson Williams

Fri., Aug. 19, 2011 8:18 AM EDT
by Nicholas Robinson

As VH1 gears up to premiere their “Basketball Wives” spin-off, “Basketball Wives: LA,” cast members are opening up to future fans and sharing details of their storied, tumultuous and entertaining lives. In a recent interview with New York’s WBLS radio host Egypt Sherrod, cast member Tanya Young Williams opened up about her troubled history with estranged husband, former NBA star Jayson Williams.

During the interview, Williams explains why she and her husband have yet to finalize their divorce.

“…you have to realize we went through eight years of appeals and wondering what the next trial was going to be, so that ended up being a lot of pressure on him,” explained Tanya. “…he began to drink more [and] take more prescription pills, so the person I knew was no longer there. I mean he was spending a lot of time in one of our other homes, and you know he was really estranged from me and my children, and at the end of the day I didn’t want my children to think this is what a good marriage looks like.”

So I really filed for divorce not because I didn’t love him but because I didn’t like the way he lived, treated me, treated my children. And so I really did it because I wanted my children to understand you deserve a great father. We deserve a great family.”

Williams explained that Jayson’s alcoholism eventually turned into violence and at one point, she was so afraid of her husband that she slept with a knife under her pillow.

“I was scared because when someone’s in that state you don’t know when they’re going to cross over. So yeah, there were times when I did sleep with a knife under my bed. Just in case,” said Williams.  “I explain to women all the time. I lived a just in case life. So when the chair [he]threw … went through my window, how did I know the next time it wasn’t coming at me? When he was punching the window out of the car and my children were in there, the next punch comes to me. But I think … I was a victim in power, not a victim in peril.”

According to Williams, she and Jayson are currently on better terms and despite his past short-comings, she hopes he can, one day, become the father and husband he once was.

“We just have a chemistry that works, but he also has a sickness. He’s sober now, so that should be good,” said Williams. “Hopefully he’s getting the psychological help he wants, but I think we’re just going to pick up the pieces and keep rolling. I don’t know where we’re going to roll to, but I think we’re going to have a great friendship  because we really get along outside of the chaos.”

Jayson Williams is currently serving a six-year prison sentence on DUI charges as well as aggravated assault charges stemming from the shooting death of a limo driver in 2002. According to Williams, Jayson will be up for parole in the coming weeks and if her husband is released, she hopes that they can rebuild their family.

“And so at the end of the day I just want him to come out and have the opportunity, or choose to be a good father to my children,” explained Williams. “You know he wasn’t before he left, and he hasn’t written them much since he’s been away. … one time in 16 months so you know that’s a red flag that he’s still going through something, but I’m going to give him the chance to come out and be a good man and be a good father. And I hope he does that.”

“Basketball Wives: LA” is set to premiere on Aug. 29. – nicholas robinson

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