I learned how to set boundaries, I learned how to make sure my mother’s on the same page, my girl, Shay, who I love–is on the same page. We got to make this a family thing…
A couple whose time on OWN’s “Put A Ring On It” ended with bling, is speaking out. Shay and Fonzo were guided by Dr. Nicole LaBeach via a 9-week social experiment that allowed them to decide if they were ready for the ring or if they should go their own separate ways.
To do so, they tried something different and dated other people. Ultimately, however, their journey ended not only with a ring but a romantic helicopter ride.
After a season where they were stretched to their limits and transparent about a previous engagement and lack of boundaries…
the two decided to stay together and Fonzo popped the question with a GIANT rock.
Below Shay and Fonzo dish to BOSSIP about their “Put A Ring On It” journey.
You guys are one of the two couples who had an actual happy ending. What has it been like watching yourselves back on TV? Is it hard? Is it cringy sometimes?
Fonzo: I ain’t going to say it’s cringy, but there are certain parts that you wish you would’ve done differently. It’s a long process, so a lot of the things [you said], [were because] you was tired, so a lot of things, you might’ve just done just to get it over with, but it is what it is. I don’t think it came out too bad. I think a lot of people learned a lot of things from our situation, and we get a lot of feedback on that. People said we actually helped them, so it’s a good thing.
Shay: I mean, of course, I had a few moments that were a little different from Fonzo. Looking back, honestly, I wouldn’t say that I would have changed how I reacted, because it allowed me to grow in my interactions. I will say I would’ve probably censored myself a little bit better, and of course, there’s a little cringe moment. Knowing that mom and my dad and my family, they’re watching, and I’m like, “Oh, my God, they have to really see me get out of character.” So from a cringe perspective, I would say for my family, but for myself, honestly, no, because whatever you do, it really helps you grow in life.
What’s it been like for you guys reading Twitter comments, we all know Twitter can be brutal.
Shay: Initially, for me, I will say, the comments were very hurtful. I’ve never done anything from TV, putting my life out [there] being in the forefront of people being able to judge you, so the comments were extremely hurtful. It was like, “Oh, my God, is this me?!”
Do I really portray myself as a woman that’s after a man for what he has? Also, the fact that nobody really knows who I am as a person, so you’re just judging based on a narrative that a lot of people tend to use, where women that look a certain way, or a man that you believe or perceive has a certain amount of money, and that was, of course, extremely hurtful in the beginning…
Were they trying to call you a gold digger? Is that what I’m hearing?
Shay: They didn’t try, they did! Listen, I was like, “What?” That was the number one comment that I saw.
Fonzo: I tried to prepare her for that, because by me being in the industry, and I kind of already knew what was going to come from it, because yeah, with people, it’s not going to be good. There’s going to be some good. There’s going to people that’s talking like, “What are they talking about?” You can’t let it get to you. I tell her all the time, stop even reading it, because there’s no good would come from it. They bored, they life is miserable, so they want to try to hurt you, or really want you to answer back. [They’re like] “Oh, will you answer me back?” They be doing a lot of hurting, just to get you to answer them back, so a lot of stuff, you can’t pay it no attention.
Let’s talk about how this show has strengthened your relationship. Clearly, it ended with a ring and you all are planning a wedding. How has “Put A Ring On It” helped you two?
Fonzo: Well, I learned a lot from this as far as boundaries, and before this, our main issue was the blending of the family. So me learning how to work within that structure better, it helped our relationship tremendously, because that was one of our biggest issues. And as a man, a lot of us don’t know how to do that, because we’re thinking this is going to be easy and [just be like] “Hey, this is my girl. This is who I love,” but it’s not as simple as that. So I learned how to set boundaries, I learned how to make sure my mother’s on the same page, my girl, Shay, who I love—is on the same page. We got to make this a family thing. Just because you like this girl I might’ve dated, that has nothing to do with who I’m in love with now. So I learned a lot about how to get these boundaries, and how to just have everybody on the same page. It was a lot for me. I learned a lot, and we put the work in, so now, everything is going how we want it to go, so we’ll have a beautiful wedding in a year, and it’s what it is.
Fonzo, at the Put A Ring On It reunion you shared that you had a “come to Jesus” moment with Shay where you were completely transparent. Why did you feel like it was necessary to finally tell her things you were afraid to tell her, or hesitant to tell her before?
Fonzo: See, that comes from me trying to get my Black men on this therapy. So when you find a good therapist, and y’all have these conversations, you learn about yourself, you learn about the things you’ve went through, and it helps you kind of put everything in perspective. I knew how I felt about her, but I was just not going about showing her, [and] I didn’t want anything to come back [up] later. We fixing to get married and listen, once you marry me, we’re going to the grave. Ain’t no divorcing. Let’s get it out, and let’s start fresh, and let’s go start this journey.”
Shay, what has been the best advice that Dr. Nicole has given you throughout this process?
Shay: The best advice I can say she gave was, “Look at yourself.” A lot of times, we tend to want to push blame on the other person because the situation may not appear in the manner that we want it to, but it doesn’t mean that situations aren’t changing, or in particular, this situation, Fonzo wasn’t changing. I really needed to look at Shay, and change a few things about me, and from an advice standpoint, I can say that really helped me open my eyes to see we’re two different people [with] two different backgrounds. And when it’s all said and done some people are like, “Oh, well you could just accept this.” It’s not that simple, especially if you didn’t see that growing up. For us our family dynamics are completely different.So coming in the picture, and not seeing his family interact like mine, I’m like, “Well, what’s wrong with y’all?” That was self-reflecting moment for me, that I had to really sit back and say, “It’s nothing wrong with him. There’s nothing wrong with his family, we’re just different people.”
You guys were not on Put a Ring On It by yourselves, there were other couples on the show, and this was quite a season. Did any of the other couples’ outcomes surprise you?
Fonzo: Well, I’ll say, for me, Charlana and Otis. I was surprised, because listen, when we was at the reunion show, we was watching it backstage, and seeing what was going on with the Milan and Otis thing, it floored me. I was completely shocked. My mouth dropped.
Fonzo: But Kenneth and Shorty, I kind of already knew how that was going to go, but other than that, that Otis thing with the Milan, that was pretty big to me.
What about you, Shay?
Shay: I would agree with Fonzo. I would definitely say, though, from Kenneth and Shorty, I was a little surprised at how they kind of went at each other. Once the situation has ended, and the two of you have agreed to go your separate ways, which they did prior to the reunion… It was just a matter of hashing out the details of the show, but in a more positive way. So that was a little shocking to me, how low things kind of went.
So speaking of positive things, we’re going to talk about this positive wedding, because I mean, I hear we want singers, “clowns on skates”—it’s sounding like it’s going to be lux and lavish. Have you guys started wedding planning yet?
Shay: Yes. So I’ll speak to that, because of course, I’m tasked with creating this extravaganza…
Fonzo: Come on and tell the truth. You a control freak, stop it.
Shay: Oh, now here we go. He says I’m this control freak, right, but the funny thing is, he’s the one that wants this extravagant wedding celebration, and he wants the clowns on the skates, like I said.
Fonzo: Oh man, just picture the Gucci Mane and Keyshia Ka’Oir wedding. it’s going to be big. This going to be big. You only do it once, man, so let’s do it big.
That’s good Fonzo, some men are like, “I don’t really care about the wedding,” but you are clearly invested. You really do want the clowns on the skates, huh?
Fonzo: Yeah, because everybody has that image of the white picket fence, the white everything, and I’ve always had it, and I said once I meet that woman that I feel I could do that with, it was going to be huge, and I met Shay. This is how I feel about her, and we only do it once. I told her, once we get married, ain’t no more divorce. We going to the grave with it, so let’s do our once, man, and make it historic. I’m extra anyways, so if you know me, I’m extra. We going to be extra regardless, but we’re going to make it big, man.
What’s next for both of you? Other than the wedding, what else do you have going on?
Shay: Yeah, so a lot of people didn’t know throughout the season, so I’m a computer engineer, so I’ve worked the entire time we were filming. But outside of that, I have an accessories line, because of course, I love earrings, so throughout the show, I tried to switch them out, and show everybody what I had to come. So my line, Status by Shay, will launch online next week, so I’ll be doing that. I have a lot I do with my foundation now that benefits women with endometriosis, and planning this wedding.
What about you, Fonzo?
Fonzo: Well, I got a clothing line, and I also, too, I’m looking for engagements, as far as speaking. I want to speak on us as Black men getting therapy. Because I’ve got a lot of feedback with that. Again, I think that sometimes you’re here for a different purpose, and I got a lot of feedback that I wasn’t expecting. I didn’t think people would gravitate toward it like they did, but a lot of my friends, a lot of us black men, like me, I think after seeing me, they’re kind of wanting to try it.
So I’m like, “You know what? I might be put here for that.” So I want to speak on that. Just check the Instagram, the Twitter, all of that stuff. You going to see everything. Just make sure y’all keep up with us, man.