Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kandi Burruss and producer/director hubby (and RHOA regular) Todd Tucker have shared their relationship on-screen since meeting four years ago. Now married and expecting their first child together, the couple—co-parents to Tucker’s daughter, Kaela, 19, and 13-year-old Riley, Burruss’ daughter—talk to kym allison backer about the joys and pains of blending a family, getting ready for baby and, of course, Mama Joyce.
EBONY: Blending a family can sometimes be a trying process. Were there any special steps you took to make sure your daughters were comfortable, especially once Kaela joined you in Atlanta?
Kandi Burruss: I told Todd from the start that I never want to be looked at as the wicked stepmom. I don’t even want to be in any situation where Kaela is upset with me because I say the wrong thing—because I know how it is. I had stepparents when I was a younger kid, so I know how it goes. Finding that right balance matters.
Todd Tucker: There definitely were challenges blending the family in the beginning. Riley was a little hesitant. For me, it was just about trying to build that relationship with her. When we first started out, we had this little thing where I would take her to dinner, just me and her, once a week, so we could just start talking and building our relationship. When my daughter came down, we just started putting them in situations where they had to interact.
EBONY: You’ve been very open about fertility complications you faced when you were first trying to get pregnant. What was the main issue?
KB: I found out I had scar tissue from fibroid removal surgery I’d had, and on top of that, more fibroids grew back, so there were a lot of issues. We went to the fertility specialists; they removed the fibroids that they felt were a problem for conceiving, and afterward, they gave us the choice of either going forward with the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process or wanting to keep trying the normal way to see if it would just happen. Seeing that we’d been together for a few years and we’d been waiting so long, we decided to go forward with the IVF process. Luckily for us, it did work the first time around.
EBONY: Besides the IVF, how is this pregnancy experience different for you?
KB: I think the major factor is that my husband is involved. Unfortunately, when I had Riley her dad wasn’t involved, so it’s going to be a totally different experience, I think, because now I have to have somebody else’s opinion! [Laughs] I’m happy to have the support and the love, don’t get me wrong; but having done it as a single parent the first time around . . . it’s like a new experience! Todd is actually doing well. He had a situation the first time around [with his daughter’s mom], so he didn’t really find out until later on [that he was going to be a father] … he didn’t get to experience knowing he had a baby on the way. For him, it’s brand new; for me, it’s like I’m starting over.
TT: This is my first time out from scratch with a child. I’ve never held a newborn! But I’m all in; I’m ready to do it all. I’ll probably Google some things so at least I can come out the gate doing it myself, and people will think, ‘Ooh, he kind of knows what he’s doing!’ But I’m ready to change diapers, I’m ready to hold my baby. I’m ready to do whatever needs to be done. I’m just going to enjoy it.
EBONY: We must know: Is Mama Joyce excited about the new baby?
KB: [Laughs] She’s excited now! My mom is doing much better, ’cause you know we all went through a period of time where things were a little rocky, all the way up until after the wedding. After we got married, that’s when she realized there was nothing she could do about it; after that, she was cool. She’d said some things in the past that she apologized for and we were on the road to recovery, thank the Lord. Then I got her a house that’s close by, so now we do Sunday dinners a lot at her house, which is pretty cool—I think she enjoys it. I guess it’s just all that getting older. Everybody’s maturing, doing things differently.
Read more in the November 2015 issue of EBONY Magazine, on stands now!