NBA Wife Spotlight: Jenine Howard
Singer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, fashionista, mother of two, and dedicated wife of Juwan Howard (17 year NBA veteran, member of the Michigan Fab Five, and currently with the Miami Heat), the gorgeous Jenine Howard, does it all! The epitome of grace and class, this Brooklyn, New York native has managed to maintain a healthy and successful NBA marriage in a world where divorce statistics are high, and negative publicity and stereotypes bombard the media. Meet her one time, and you immediately know there is something special about her humble and genuine spirit. She’s real and it’s refreshing!
Find out what she has to say about being married to a professional athlete, the touching story behind her foundation, her opinion of “Basketball Wives” and much more!
MirraMirror: Where are you from, Jenine?
Jenine Howard: I’m from New York..born and raised in Brooklyn. But, Miami has been our go-to, offseason home for the last ten years. Well, we split time between Miami and Chicago.
MM: How long have you and Juwan been married and how many kids do you have?
JH: We will be married nine years in July! We have two boys. Jace is 9 and Jett is 7.
MM: How did you and Juwan meet?
JH: We met at a charity event where I was interning…he was the celebrity guest.(laughs) Our eyes met and that’s where the story begins…
MM: How did Juwan propose to you?
JH: We were in Grenada, where my family is from. He wanted to bring me back to my “roots.” (laughs) I had no idea he was proposing. He got down on his knee and asked me to be his wife…. and that was it. It was unexpected, it was sweet. It was a magical moment. But what made it really, really special was that he thought of bringing me back to my parent’s country of origin and that was awesome! We got married a couple months after that.
MM: What are your secrets to having a successful NBA marriage?
JH: Our marriage is really no different from anyone else’s… you have love and respect between two people. I’ve had a great example from my parents who have been married forty years. So I knew going in, that I wasn’t going to take this lightly. It has it’s challenges. It’s not easy being married to someone who is highly visible and is a target for… I hate to use the word groupie… but, the type of women who lack values and just see the dollar signs and have no interest in knowing them for who they are. I hate to mention it, but it does exist. So, I went through my insecurities early on in my marriage. But now, I’m to a point where I don’t focus on that. My focus is on myself being whole and having a relationship with God, first and foremost. And Juwan feels the same. He wants to have a relationship with God and his goal is to be focused on the Lord. And once you have that foundation, and if he can honor the Lord, well… then I’m easy (as a wife.) That’s where we draw our strength from. We decided from the beginning that this was for the long haul. We love each other and we want to be together forever. There are no excuses. We put our marriage first – that’s our priority. Our goal is to grow old together.
MM: Why do you feel so many NBA marriages end in divorce?
JH: As sad as it is, the statistics are high. I personally think that there is so much temptation out there…and, when you give a young athlete that kind of attention and put them on a pedestal…with all the access and excess that they have – it’s a lethal combination. It’s like giving a three year old a gun, particularly when they don’t have a strong foundation. It’s sad to say, but many don’t come from a two parent household and those certain values were not instilled in them. So…unfortunately, a lot of the couples don’t get the guidance or have the right tools to make a marriage work in the NBA. These guys are not bad guys. They get stereotyped as these heartless individuals…but they’re not bad guys.
MM: What do you do for “couples time?”
JH: We have date nights…when he’s in town! We try to make them as often as possible….sometimes “often as possible” is only once a week. (laughs) And, we always take a two week long vacation together in the offseason…just him and I! We also write each other love letters…he writes me love notes and I write him love notes. It’s so important because it reaffirms us, it encourages us, and it helps us not take each other for granted.
MM: Sources tell us that you can sing! Is that true and do you sing to your husband?
JH: Well, he complains that I don’t! Early on, I recorded an album and I love to sing! I actually just sang with Michael McDonald at a charity event. I won’t turn down an opportunity to sing, but my passion has shifted. Singing professionally would take so much time away from my family and I don’t believe in having other people raise my kids. I feel like I’m the anchor for my family right now…I am the anchor! But, I do sing for Juwan, but not as much as he would like.
Jenine pictured here with the beautiful Savannah Brinson, longtime girlfriend of Lebron James.
MM: What’s your opinion on the reality show “Basketball Wives?”
- JH: I don’t think it’s representative of us (NBA wives) in general…it’s entertainment. Yes, some of the issues that the girls on the show experience obviously exist. But, does it represent us all? Absolutely not! Are there women (NBA wives) who have healthy relationships? Absolutely!
MM: What’s a typical day like for you?
JH: Well, like I said, I’m the anchor for my family. My husband is the head of my household, but I keep everyone tight. My focus are my children and my husband. At the beginning of the day, I cook them breakfast every single morning…I make sure they are prepared for school. Once that’s done, I take time to work out for myself…I do yoga, or run about 4 miles…I like to mix it up. Then, I’ll take about two hours to sit in front of the computer and work on my foundation…responding to emails. We own four residences, so I have to manage those as well. By that time, they (the kids) are almost ready to get out of school. Then, it just depends on whether or not my husband is in town, or out of town..whether there is a game or not…that 3:00-5:00 hour is pretty busy.
MM: Please tell us about your new business venture!
JH: Yes! I just partnered with my sister for a medical spa! The grand opening will be in June! And, we’ll be doing therapeutic massages, acne treatments, laser treatments, botox,…everything! It is a 2500 square foot spa (The Skin Center) located in Apex, North Carolina. It’s something we’ve been brainstorming and has been in the works for two years. So, I’ll be between Raleigh and Miami quite a bit to oversee that. I haven’t been in business for myself before other than charity work…so, this is unchartered territory for me. But, I’m excited and looking forward to the challenge!
MM: Tell us about your charities!
JH: Well, I have founded my own organization called The JUICE Foundation. It is in honor of my late brother-in-law who passed away from cancer. He was initially given six weeks to live because at the time of his diagnosis, his cancer was already at stage four and wasn’t treatable. The doctors just wanted to put him in hospice and simply treat him for pain. So, we went on this quest to find alternative treatments. This man was 37 years old, and you just don’t give up on someone who has so much life to live ( or anyone for that matter.) We fought his cancer through an array of cutting edge treatments – a large part of it, being through his diet. He lived a little over a year when the odds were stacked against him. It left such an incredible mark on me and I wanted to continue the mission of educating people and making them aware of the different routes you can take. “Juice” (his nickname) fought his cancer through juicing, oxygen treatments, colonics, and vitamin shots. It was mind, body, and soul and he was able to stay alive for a very long time. I believe that if we would have caught the cancer at an earlier stage, he would still be here today. The foundation also gives grants to families that want to seek alternative healing because insurance does not pay for these holistic treatments. We’ve also partnered with the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. They’ve been extremely supportive. And, although they treat cancer with western medicine, they are starting to realize that alternative treatment is a very viable form of treating cancer.
Juwan has had his foundation (The Juwan Howard Foundation) for 15 years. He’s a strong advocate of education and has hosted camps and coat drives in the inner city of Chicago for years. When the earthquake in Haiti hit, we collected supplies and clothing…anything that’s needed, the foundation steps up and lends a hand!
Jenine pictured above as the host of the 1st Annual “Fashion For a Cause” for The Juice Foundation.
The Juice Foundation hosts an intimate luncheon and fashion show at Neiman Marcus. Celebrity guests included Michelle Mashburn (wife of Jamal Mashburn), Monique Idlett (wife of super producer, Timbaland), Adrienne Williams (fiancee’ of Chris Bosh), and Savannah Brinson (girlfriend of Lebron James.)
The Juice Foundation holds event at Whole Foods Market.
MM: Ok, on to a few questions on fashion and fun…Who are your favorite clothing and shoe designers?
JH: This season, I really like Jil Sander…I like her bright colors and the cut of her clothes. I also wear Lanvin, Halston Heritage, Preen, Rick Owens, and BCBG Runway. As for shoes, what girl doesn’t love a Christian Louboutin shoe? They’re just so sexy! I’ve been wearing his shoes for years before the red bottom craze…I’ve always been a fan of his. Oh, and I have to mention Charlotte Olympia…I love her shoes! As for handbags…Balenciaga.They’re easy and functional…and I do love my Birkin bags…they’re timeless.
MM: Favorite Miami boutiques?
JH: En Avance in the design district…they always have cool stuff and the new designer you can’t necessarily find in Saks or Neiman’s.
(The Webster in South Beach is another favorite.)
MM: Favorite Miami restaurants?
JH: Zuma and Phillipe
MM: What cities have you lived in and what has been your favorite?
JH: We’ve lived in Denver, Dallas, Houston, Portland, Chicago, and Miami…he’s played for other teams, I just didn’t move my family. Chicago in the summertime is my favorite hands down! I feel kind of bad saying that being from New York! (laughs) It has a big city feel, but with country hospitality. The weather in the summer is amazing…and the people are so ready for summer and warm weather that they are so happy! I like Miami too. In the winter, it’s a fun place to live.
MM: Any closing words you’d like to say to address the misconceptions and stereotypes of NBA wives?
JH: People need to realize that we are mothers and wives and we go through the same exact emotions that every other mother and wife feels. We all don’t sit around and shop all day or party all day. Another big misconception is that we compromise our values for money and a lifestyle. I have met incredible NBA wives on this journey, and I can tell you firsthand, that is not true. It’s an amazing sisterhood for a lot of us. We love each other, we support each other…our children are growing up together. And yes, we do deal with some of the stereotypical problems..but for most of us, family is paramount.