If you’re a big fan of reality TV, you may recognize the name Imani Showalter. The ex-fianceé of former NBA star Stephen Jackson, the 40-something beauty appeared on the first season of the VH1 show Basketball Wives LA. In fact, most people mistakenly assume she’s Stephen Jackson’s ex-wife because of her role on the reality series. So who is Imani Showalter? And what is she up to now? Here’s an in-depth look at the former reality show star.
Who Is Imani Showalter?
Born Melissa Imani, Showalter is best-known for being Stephen Jackson’s ex. A former singer, she shares two children with the ex-NBA star. While she was once quite active on Twitter, the TV personality has scaled back her social media presence and now posts sporadically to her Instagram account. She also has a YouTube channel with a handful of videos and less than 250 subscribers.
According to Showalter, she and Jackson were together for more than a decade before their dramatic breakup in 2005 (more on that later!).
What Is Basketball Wives LA?
A spin-off of the VH1 reality show Basketball Wives, Basketball Wives LA ran for five seasons, from 2011 to 2016. It followed the lives of a group of women in the Los Angeles area who were either currently or formerly romantically involved with famous NBA players.
Imani Showalter was a member of the season one cast. She starred alongside Gloria Govan, Kimsha Artest, Laura Govan, Jackie Christie, Malaysia Pargo, and Draya Michele. Notable “wives” from other seasons included Shaquille O’Neal’s ex-wife Shaunie O’Neal and former Real World star and ex-wife of NBA player Kenny Anderson, Tami Roman.
When Showalter first did press for Basketball Wives LA, she said she was “rediscovering what makes me happy again…I want to find my passion and that’s where I want to go.” Apparently, the mom of three did not find that passion on the reality show, because she left after the first season. While at first rumors flew that Showalter was fired from the cast, this turned out not to be true.
Was She Married To NBA Player Stephen Jackson?
While Showalter was never married to Stephen Jackson, she said in an interview that the couple was engaged for 10 years. By the time Basketball Wives LA aired in 2011, the pair had been split for more than five years after failing to make it down the aisle.
According to Jackson, who spilled the tea about the split in an Instagram Live video, he decided to leave Showalter at the alter because she refused to sign a prenup.
“We get the prenup back at least 3-4 months before the wedding. This is all true y’all,” the former NBA star said in the video. “I give it to her. When I give it to her, she shouldn’t be surprised by it because me and her sat down and agreed upon the prenup. A month passed, two months before the wedding, I’m like we need to get that prenup signed, so when we get down there to Houston, we ain’t gotta worry about it. I tell her that like two or three times.”
Jackson went on to claim that Showalter was adamant about having a specific pastor oversee the service, one who clearly expressed that he did not believe in prenuptial agreements. Frustrated with the resistance to the signing of the document, Jackson said he decided to call off the wedding.
Of course, there are two sides to every story, and Showalter quickly took to her own Instagram account to let hers be known. In addition to posting pictures of a letter she claimed proved he never spoke with her about signing a prenup, the angry ex wrote:
“Please look at the date sent…. 2 weeks before the wedding (not the 3-4 months you lied about on live this morning) and also take note of who was copied, not me… his momma…. I’m assuming that’s who sat down with attorneys. And even after them begging him to ‘at least take their calls or have the conversation,’ he refused and NEVER moved forward wanting or even discussing a prenup. Keep lying but I got receipts. YOU never had even had the conversation with me about wanting me to sign a prenup and wouldn’t even call the lawyers back trying to avoid disappointing your momma. Keep it 100 for once.”
Showalter added: “Keep lying to you fans who have no clue how evil you are but leave me alone. I have nothing but time (quarantined and bored) and receipts (yes I’m petty and pay for extra cloud storage to hold receipts of everything because I know I need proof to discount your lies against me) I have every text email legal doc that has ever been sent. If I can put my hands on something from 15 years ago like that just think of all the shit I haven’t shown. I’ve been respectful and quiet to cover and protect not just you but my kids… but my patience is wearing thin. Please just leave me alone.”
Where Is Imani Showalter Now?
Clearly, Showalter prefers to live a drama-free life. Aside from defending herself against her ex on Instagram, she’s kept a relatively low profile since leaving Basketball Wives LA in 2011. In 2012, reports surfaced that she was dating gospel star Marvin Sapp, though the singer denied the rumors.