By: Melody Charles
How could a marriage start like a fairy tale and end in a public, paparazzi-esque nightmare?
Ask LisaRaye McCoy: in the space of two years, the actress (The Wood, Player’s Club, All of Us) and former model went from a whirlwind courtship to becoming The First Lady of the Turks and Caicos….and then left high and dry with a bumps and bruises, a broken heart, and a ravaged bank account. But she’s not a woman to lament her past or fear her future. In a recent chat with UTM, the divorcee has revealed that she’s not only getting her personal groove back, but that she’s reclaiming her acting career and letting the public watch every move via her new TVOne reality show, The Real McCoy. She has every reason to be bitter and cagey, but the 42-year-old is brimming with an enthusiasm and resilience that is downright contagious. Yes, her second marriage turned into hell on Earth and yes, she knows the haters are celebrating. But she refuses to give up on love.
“You’ve got to do something different and step out on faith,” she says by phone in Los Angeles. “You cannot bring your old baggage into something new. Learn from that, move forward and give love a chance. Love is a wonderful thing, it’s very powerful. I’m a fan of marriage, I’m a fan of belonging to someone and I would love to belong with someone because it’s easier to fight life with a partner than not. Someone to have your back, bounce ideas off of, to encourage you and build you up, someone that’s ultimately your best friend.”
Describing her status as “so on the market,” Ms. McCoy does admit that there was some mutual fault in the marital breakdown and that she’s made peace with the former Premeir, in spite of the criminal allegations, the mistresses, and the funny money situation that is still being resolved. “We’ve made amends; there were a lot of apologies passed in that conversation. My heart was heavy, because I did need to realize that I took him for granted. One thing’s for sure, the marriage really gave me an incredible opportunity. He introduced me to a wonderful country and a wonderful life. He treated me very, very well and embraced my family and friends, so for that, I appreciate him. But I did take him for granted, so wholeheartedly, I told him I was sorry for that. We both wish it hadn’t turned out that way.”
She doesn’t pretend to know all of the reasons it all fell apart, but Ms. McCoy does believe that it was both cultural and connected to his new status as the island’s leader, which may have gone to his head. “Definitely. As a new wife, you can imagine how I felt. Like, ‘wait a minute, fool—you got a mistress? How dare you do that at home? Ain’t that much game in the world!’ His country tore him up, and as his wife, you know I wanted to do the same damn thing! I barely had time to recover because by then, I started uncovering a whole bunch of secrets and by then, I was like ‘hold up dude, I’m American, we don’t get down like that.’ I’d like to think that Michael Misick was not that type of person—it definitely wasn’t the man that I married— but I really feel like he just got caught up. He should’ve actually caught himself and understood the dignity and the pride that you should use to uphold the position of being a Premier of T&C. He’s done a lot for the island, don’t get me wrong, he’s really built that island up, but you can’t get greedy in the midst of that when you have a new Hollywood wife who is bringing entertainers and investors over, who are hosting vice presidents, sheiks, CEOs….I lost him in all of that. I don’t know what happened or how it happened, but it did happen.”
So, for the men reading this right now, what’s the status of their union? “The divorce is final, but as for the settlement, that has been held up. The problem is with the T&C islands, because they and Mr. Misick are both under investigation for corruption of governmental funds, as well as him being investigated for the rape allegation that he had.”
Not that her waiting for her prenuptial settlement makes her a gold-digger. In fact, that’s the one perception about LisaRaye McCoy that she cannot stand and she feels it comes from people who lack confidence in themselves and their self-worth. “Knowing where I come from and how I was raised, it’s hard for them to come up with that about me. They don’t know me like that, you know? Don’t hate on the fact that I know and understand my value and what I bring to the table as far my spouse, my significant other, my husband, or my fiancé. I’m not anybody ‘less than’ or trying to be somebody’s mother, I’m trying to be a wife, girlfriend, fiancée. You know how they say that ‘behind every strong man is a strong woman’? if we (women) keep letting them see fit to do what they want to do, when they want to do it and how they wanna do it, then we ain’t talking about nothing! We’re constantly going though this society trying to earn something, do something and get something back in return. You want to be with someone powerful, you want to be with someone going somewhere, you want to be with someone who’s got something and is going to take you with them so you all can build together! But if that’s ‘gold digging,’ then go ahead and call it digging.”
If you haven’t yet seen the show (which airs on Thursday nights), you’re also missing her super-close connection with 20-year-old daughter Kai, whom she credits for bringing her back to the grind in the first place. “When she first found out about everything that was going on with the divorce from the blogs, she was at school at the University of Buckingham in London, and I was being a mother hen and trying to protect her, so when she offered to leave, I was telling her ‘no no baby, mommy’s okay, it’s cool.’
But she wasn’t feeling that in her heart, so she came home and said ‘I am going to school here in the States to be with you, cuz’ you need me.’ And at that moment, I really did need her, and it wasn’t until she started demonstrating how she could help me through it that I said, ‘You know what? You have given me back that drive, the no-nonsense hustle to do that makes me do what I gotta do to make it do what it gotta do so I can take care of you and me.’ And I love her to death for that.”
So, beyond her two best known roles of Diamond from Players Club (“To this day, when I go into clubs, they say ‘there goes Diamond!’ I’m the ULTIMATE stripper, Girl! I’m forever going to be Diamond to them, and that’s okay”) and Niecy from All of Us (“I love the role I played as Niecy James in All of Us, ‘cuz I portrayed a mom that knew for the betterment of the child, the parents had to get along. Niecy was there to let people know that you ain’t gotta not get along with your baby’s daddy. You ain’t gotta slit no tires and bust the windows, you’ve gotta get along for the upbringing of that child.”), Ms. McCoy starts filming a new flick for VH1 in May (“I auditioned with Queen Latifah’s production company, I actually just got that part.”) and no matter what the future holds for she and Kai, she will keep her head up, her shoulders high and her feet forward.
“Prayer, and failure is not an option. I love life, I love living life, and I love laughing. I prefer to look at the glass as half-full instead of seeing it as half-empty and trust this, I had my ‘Lord Have Mercy’ Fund off to the side. That’s the money that you need to have when it gets bad, but I’m still in this economy like everyone else thinking about, ‘okay, where’s the money coming in?’ My reserves are dwindling down, so that is why I’m back to business, back to doing me, back to my career, so I’m very grateful that I have an opportunity and a place to return to, that my fans are telling me ‘we want to see you on the big screen, we miss you, welcome back.’ And that speaks volumes to me.”