‘Basketball Wives’: Tami Roman Reveals How She Landed on Public Assistance Before the Show

Since leaving Basketball Wives, longtime cast member Tami Roman’s career has been on fire. But it wasn’t always this way. After seven years of being an NBA wife, The Real World alum fell on hard times and found herself on public assistance. But Roman insists she wasn’t as destitute as the show portrayed her to be. 

Tami Roman
Tami Roman | Peter Forest/Getty Images for VH1

Tami Roman says her public assistance storyline was exaggerated on ‘Basketball Wives’

Fans met Roman in Season 2 of the Miami franchise. Much of her storyline centered on her getting re-acclimated into the social circle she was once accustomed to. However, her lifestyle at the time didn’t match the other ladies’. She revealed that she went on public assistance for a time while trying to get back on her feet. 

Source: YouTube

But she told Carlos King on his Reality With the King podcast that the storyline was exaggerated. She explained.

When I got on Basketball Wives, it was literally eight months that I went to get EBT. And people made that my existence. And that’s not what happened – I had got cast on a show that was executive produced by Queen Latifah. It was a partnership between VH1 and BET, and it was going to be the first hybrid co-production…We got out pickup letter, the show was going to be shooting out of New Jersey. So I packed up my whole family – my mom, my two kids – and moved to New Jersey waiting for the show to start, had been there a year. And VH1 and BET could not come to terms on the agreement so they decided not to do the show. So I’m stuck in New Jersey, can’t figure out how to get back to California, savings exhausted because I’d already been there a year thinking everything’s going to be fine because I’m going to be now on this show that ultimately didn’t happen.

Roman took a job as an administrator making six figures at Morgan Stanley. But living in New York was expensive. As a result, she went on public assistance to benefit from food stamps and free medical coverage so that it wasn’t coming out of her annual salary for herself and her two children. At the time, she wasn’t getting any financial help from her ex-husband, NBA player Kenny Anderson. She’d signed a prenup and left with what she came into the marriage with. 

She pitched herself for ‘Basketball Wives’

While working at Morgan Stanley, Roman became dissatisfied with her life. With dreams of being a full-time actor, she needed to figure out a way to get herself back in the limelight to have casting directors take note. As fate would have it, she caught a marathon of Basketball Wives one day after work and called the network.

Source: YouTube

They eventually put her in touch with Shed Media, the production company responsible for the show. She pitched herself and joined the show as Shaunie O’Neal’s friend. She stayed on for four seasons of the Miami franchise before joining the LA franchise through the end of Season 8.

The ‘Ms. Pat Show’ star now has a new show on VH1

Since leaving Basketball Wives, Roman has focused on her budding acting career. She also has a new show on VH1, Unfaithful, which was recently picked up for a second season. The funny girl no longer has relationships with anyone from the Miami cast.

RELATED: ‘Basketball Wives’: Tami Roman Slams Her Former Co-Stars – ‘We Were Just Co-Workers’