BMWK: That’s fantastic! So you met in May. How did you know you were ready to take that next step?
Taye: I told her the first day we met right then – when I started gathering myself by leaving Elmer Fudd and coming back to Taye. She said, “Hey, I don’t want any foolishness. Let me know! I’m not about any foolishness.” I’m an Omega and she’s seen me. Then, I used to play in college football, so I’m used to the stereotype. I even took off my Frat pen walking over there to her because I wanted her to see me and not the stereotype. I told her, ‘Hey, I’m not going to even date you if I don’t consider you marriage material. I’m not lonely. I’m not out here looking for somebody to go to the movies with or somebody to just lay up with.’ I’m a pretty settled male. I’m in my career. I’ve got two beautiful daughters and I let her know I’m a packaged deal. If it didn’t work out we could be friends. That was my mindset.
So upon going out on our first lunch, we talked a lot. I asked her a lot of questions. I probably gave her a thorough interview the first week! You know, 50 Cent had 21 questions; I probably gave her 221 questions!
Keri: Yes, he did!
Taye: But she did it right back.
BMWK: How was that for you with the questions, Keri?
Keri: It was fun because of course, I’m meeting this guy. He’s been watching me for a while. I had never seen him – ever, ever, ever, so I was very skeptical. Very skeptical and very, very cautious. I didn’t mind the questions and I gave him the questions right back.
He asked me a question, I asked him a question. So we just kind of went back and forth like that. But that allowed us the opportunity to be transparent from day one. And with that, I felt like ‘OK, he really is what he says even though I was still a little skeptical. It took a couple of months to trust him fully. I finally said that he’s my friend. He’s more than just a boyfriend or someone that I’m courting. He’s my friend and so those questions actually benefitted us because we gave all the ugly first!
Most people put on a front and they just want you to see the good parts of them. We did the opposite. We gave all the ugly, all the bad, everything. We put it upfront: this is my past; this is who I was; this is who I am now. You take it or you leave it.
Taye: Yeah, I figured if she stayed around after that, we could talk! [Laugh]
Keri: So that’s how we did it. We started out just being open and honest from day one. I’m glad we did it that way.
Taye: It changed everything. I think we both had been in relationships previously where transparency was not at the forefront.
Taye: I told her stories about where I’ve had situations where the person I was dating would lock phones and had multiple email addresses and different things like that. I was cool with that space at first, but I just felt like it was always something missing. We both observed great power couples who seem like best friends. I said I always wanted a relationship where if we had the same phone and we got up and she grabbed my phone by mistake, it wouldn’t mean anything because she’d have all my passwords.
I just see so many people go through those problems and I really just wanted an open, transparent relationship. I really wanted to put it out there from the beginning and she felt the same. That’s how we built it and that’s how we still roll to this day.
Keri: To this day!
BMWK: I love it! So Keri, you mentioned your friend asked you when she pointed him out to you if you were ready to date. Does that mean that you’d just gotten out of a relationship? Or was there something going on that she thought you may not have been ready to date at the time?
Keri: There are two things. One: I was recently divorced last year. And the second thing was that I had just lost my seven-year-old daughter. She passed away on November 10th of last year.
BMWK: Oh, no. I’m so sorry to hear that!
Keri: It’s OK. It’s OK. So that was two big um, what’s the word? [Taye: Obstacles.] Obstacles that I was facing and dealing with. Not so much the divorce, because praise God that’s the best thing I could have ever done, was leave my ex-husband. It wasn’t the divorce. It was really the loss of my daughter. Everyone at church knew that my daughter had passed away and so that’s why she asked me if I was ready to date.
BMWK: OK, I can definitely understand that. So what are you guys looking forward to the most in marriage?
Taye: Wow! That’s a great question. Wow! [Laughs] To be honest with you, I think right now I have what I’m happy about, but I think in marriage, just being in that covenant under God would probably be the biggest thing. That’s the cherry on top.
I think we have the Sunday already. We have a saying that we say all the time – which is going to carry forth what we want to do in our life – we say Team Walton Powerhouse. I think we’re going to be a real strong powerhouse couple. Her purpose and things she wants to do in life, I totally support. I think we can both compliment each other with some things I want to do in life as well. That’s something I look forward to. That’s why I praise Lamar and Ronnie, and what they’re doing. They’re just being a shining light for a lot of couples out here. I mean we have a lot of friends, male and female, who are really kind of giving up on love. When I posted our engagement being on Facebook, a lot of people were like, ‘Taye, you’re making us believe in love again.’
Keri: They were inspired and said we gave them hope because a lot of them have similar backgrounds that we have. To see that Taye and I have taken that leap of faith, number one, because we really just stepped out on faith. We said ‘OK, we’ll give love a second try and we’ll see what happens’. I’m glad we did and that’s where we are today.
Taye: We got a lot of people rooting for us.
Keri: We do.