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Former basketball wife chats on overcoming abusive relationship

Carlita Hodges
Carlita Hodges

With the popularity of the highly-rated reality show Basketball Wives, and the ever increasing urge of young women who are easily impressionable by the lives of these women to the point where they too want to be a "basketball wife" and will do anything to become one, it was deemed very appropriate to highlight a real life former basketball wife.

Carlita Hodges is the ex-wife of Chicago Bulls guard, Craig Hodges, and was once regarded as ‘The Top 10 Craziest Wives/Exes of the Sporting World.’ During her marriage to the basketball star, she endured abuse, manipulation, and serial infidelity.
After their separation, her husband lied and said she abandoned her children, which she did not. As a result, she lost custody of her children temporarily because she could not afford to get proper legal representation. Her husband continued to play mind games with her regarding their children, and they eventually had a verbal altercation that turned violent. Craig shoved her, which caused her to bleed, and she defended herself. She was arrested and ordered to leave the city of Northbrook.

Since then, Carlita has reinvented her life and is an author, women's empowerment speaker, and much more. She is passionate about helping others heal from dysfunctional and abusive relationships. Although she is not proud that she went outside of her marriage for comfort through an affair with singer R. Kelly, she learned some valuable lessons during and after it.

After years of silence and enduring a damaged reputation, Carlita felt compelled to speak the truth about her life as a basketball wife and published a book, Carlita’s Way: Out of the Dark Into the Light (My Journey), a no nonsense memoir/self-help guide that reveals her secret struggles in her marriage and personal life. Dedicated to uplifting women, Hodges helps women discover their power by giving them ‘reality checks’ on how to overcome heartbreak, abusive relationships, low self esteem, and many of the issues they face that keeps them from thriving and feeling empowered.

In a recent phone interview with the former basketball wife, she explained to me how she was able to overcome such a tragic and dramatic marriage, the lessons that she learned from her affair, and how she is now giving back and helping others escape and avoid similar relationships.

How were you able to overcome and cope after your marriage with Craig, and how long did the process take?

Hmm, let's see, where do I start (laughs). I went to prayer. I definitely had to go to prayer to be able to function. It took some years. It took at least, with the anger and resentment and to really pull myself back together, about a good four or five years.

During and after the marriage, how did you feel yourself evolving and changing?

Well, I kept running to church and it wasn't enough. And how I really saw myself was that I had to stop blaming everybody else and [realize] everything that I had experienced and accept it. I found out how to do that through Buddhism because I never, ever thought that it was my fault. I would not take responsibility because I felt that it was his fault for the moment.

I am also aware of the fact that you felt the need to step outside of your marriage by having an affair with R. Kelly, and eventually, you were able to know when to say 'enough is enough' and was able to walk away from it. What is your advice to the women and men who are trapped in affairs, who want to walk away, but don't know how?

I was in the affair with Robert. It was kind of long-term and it was a little over a year that we dated. It became challenging. I guess I would say I became an arm piece for him as well, a bragging piece for his friends. Then I just left. I just decided that enough is enough. I didn't think about it, I just said 'that's it'. But what I would say to other women as well as men... don't do it. It wasn't a smart move. I don't have any regrets about it because I did learn some lessons in it. My advice would be not to do it. I would prefer to just leave the relationship totally before I stepped out.

What were some of the lessons that you learned from the affair?

I learned that I had to look at myself. I had to stop looking for love in all the wrong places and deal with what was in front of me. I didn't do that, I chose to think that 'well, if he could do it, I can do it'. So I thought I was right. I was wrong, and two wrongs did not make it right; it made it worse.

With the rise of the reality show Basketball Wives, what advice do you have for those young women who are in awe of that lifestyle and chase after being in a relationship (or the side piece) with an athlete?

Well, first of all, put your brakes on really quickly, (laughs) because it's not all what it's cracked up to be. Number two, don't lose yourselves to anyone. At the end of the day if you don't have a spiritual balance, you're going to lose whichever way you go. You need a good foundation to win, and not get caught up with these men.

What are some projects that you're currently working on in addition to your book that you recently released?

I have my book, Carlita's Way: Out of the Dark, Into the Light (My Journey). I've written two sitcoms, one is called "Three Brothers", the other is called "Me Plus One, Starting Over". I am going to be working on another book, and then I'm going to write a series of children's books. Then I will to be assisting with writing the script for a movie for my book Carlita's Way.

How can people book you for speaking engagements?

You can go through Florence Edwards or Charla Mackey, my publicists at Publicity 911. The e-mail address is Florence@Publicity911.com. I'm currently speaking to women, young and older, about these abusive situations because abuse comes in so many packages and I'd like to share some of the Dos' and Dont's'.

Do you have any additional comments, or anything that the readers should know?

Yes, I'd like to say trusting in yourself is always about trusting yourself as a whole. Don't look outside of yourself for the answers because it is all in the inside. Love yourself first. Be sure to check out my website, which is www.Carlita-Hodges.com.

Thank you Carlita!

Thank you so much for having me.