Brad and Jen. Courtney and David. Nick and Jessica. And of course Kim and Kris. The examples of relationships gone bust are plentiful. In a culture where celebrity (and non-celebs for that matter) relationships implode faster than Michelle Bachman’s brain cells, Ice-T and Nicole “Coco” Austin’s decade plus marriage is something of an anomaly. One might have said magical thinking when the gangsta rapper and butt model/former stripper first got hitched after dating for only two months. But as these two unlikely love birds show us on their show “Ice Loves Coco,” you should never judge a book by its cover. Their continued relationship success and enduring love for each other holds love lessons we could all benefit from. Here’s why. (By Rachel Khona)
1) They actively show each other how much they care
“In the streets we say you’ve gotta show and prove. Words are easy. You can say it all day, but then act out a different way,” Ice says. Coco tells Ice that even though she’s been in plenty of pictures with waterfalls, she’s never seen a waterfall as they’ve all been photoshopped in. So what does Ice do? He takes her to a waterfall. He makes a point of not just talking the talk when it comes to showing her how much he loves her, but walking the walk.
2) They keep it hot
Whether or not you appreciate Coco’s particular brand of bootylicious-ness, there’s no doubt that Ice does. Sure she enjoys getting dressed up to the nines in her high heels and tight dresses, but she also does it for her boo. “I actually wore this so you could see the cutesy swimsuit,” she tells Ice while lounging in the pool one day. “You know I do that for you. I even wear my heels for you.”
Even if your thing isn’t acrylic heels, it doesn’t hurt to dress up for your partner and vice versa.
3) They respect each other
They don’t boss each other around. They don’t have a parent-child relationship. They don’t demean or nag each other. In fact, when you compare them to the relationships of fellow reality stars the Kardashians, Ice and Coco seem like downright sages (sorry Dalai Lama). When the couple jets off to Miami, Ice’s friend Marc finds out and shows up intruding on their romantic trip. But Coco makes her dissatisfaction clear without resorting to whining, getting angry, or taking Ice’s initial lack of action personally. All it took was one “Honey…” and an eyebrow raise when Marc walked away for Ice to get the hint. He made sure to tell Marc the next day it was time to give the couple alone time.
4) They’re always learning about each other
On their anniversary vacation to Hawaii, Coco gets to learn more about Ice’s past in the military, seeing the barracks where he stayed first hand. In fact, it was her idea to visit. Though she knows Ice as well as any wife could after eleven years, she’s still curious and inquisitive when it comes to discovering more about her hubby. “It’s amazing that after eleven years we’re still learning about each other,” she says. To which Ice responds, “I think you stop learning things about your partner when you’re uninterested in them. There will always be things about people you’ll never know. That’s a good thing.”
5) They make their relationship the first priority
In spite of their busy schedules, they have an unspoken rule to never to spend more than 24 hours apart. Though sometimes they have to break the rule, like when Coco has to fly to Arizona for four days to help her sister with a fashion show, it’s a rule they take seriously. During their visit to the Sundance Film Festival, Coco was offered a plum movie part much to her excitement. But upon realizing the role required her to be away from Ice for two months, she declined. Her ever-supportive husband encouraged her to accept the opportunity, but Coco had already made up her mind. “I put my relationship first,” she says. “Ice and I’s relationship means the world to me. People say, ‘11 years, how do you make it work?’ It works because I think my relationship is much bigger than a movie.”
6) They’re supportive of each other’s interests
Ice is a manly man. He doesn’t dance and he certainly doesn’t believe in things like ghosts and psychics. But Coco does and that’s all that matters. When Coco decides to take salsa dancing classes, he tags along simply because that’s what she would do for him and he wants to make her happy. He later surprises her by going to her salsa class dressed up and ready to dance with her. But the love doesn’t stop there. Upon realizing how stoked Coco and her mom were to meet famed medium James Van Praagh at a book signing, he invited Van Praagh back to their condo where Coco gets her own personal reading.
7) They listen to each other
When Ice surprises Coco with a private luau for their anniversary, she is completely shocked. Everything she had dreamed of was perfectly executed, from the leis to hula dancers. When she asks Ice how he knew that’s what she always wanted he responded “I knew ever since you were a kid and you watched that damn ‘Brady Bunch’ episode you wanted to go to a luau. I listen to you, even when you don’t think I’m listening to you.” And listen he did. He recreated what she wanted to a T. No pun intended.
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