Tichina Arnold Remembers Whitney Houston

"Happily Divorced" star Tichina Arnold dishes on Whitney Houston's death, marriage and single parenting. An edited version of our interview with her follows

by Ilyssa Panitz • More.com Celebrity Reporter
tichina arnold image
Photograph: Courtesy of TV Land

More: What freaked you out?
TA: Two things, actually. The first was, Oh my God, I have to feed, clothe, bathe and take of this little human being for the rest of her or his life. I mean, let’s be frank, motherhood is a job that lasts a lifetime. My other thought was, I have to wipe someone’s ass for the next five years. That was a really traumatic experience for me.

More: And here I thought you were going to talk about the money aspect and how expensive it is to have a kid.
TA: I thought about the money when I was about five months pregnant. The good thing was I was still working. I was doing a stage show with Billy Dee Williams and playing his love interest. They cast me as the sex kitten, and you know the funny part? No one knew I was pregnant. I think because my character had to wear five-inch heels I allowed myself to be in denial that I was having a baby.

More: What happened when the baby was born?
TA: It was scary. It was exhilarating and it was truly great. There are so many different emotions you feel when you become a mom. Overall, it has been a lot of fun.

More: So you didn’t have to give anything up?
TA: Oh, I did. I gave up my passion for riding motorcycles. I even sold my motorbike. My whole wild side went away when I became a mom. Instead I became more settled. I bought a home and was ready for the job.

More: Has your daughter ever asked why her daddy doesn’t live with her?
TA: Oh, yeah. We talk about it all of the time. My daughter is seven going on 75. I tell her enough so no one gives her more information than I do. I give her enough facts so she is satisfied.

More: Talk about creative thinking.
TA: It makes you realize how dumb you are. Seriously, I really don’t think I am smarter than a fifth grader. I am constantly looking up answers for her questions.

More: What is the toughest part of being a single parent?
TA: It is very tough because no matter who I am or what I do I will always be her mother. No matter how hard I try I will never be her father. Although I have to fill in for the father role because he is not here, I can never be him. You basically do what you can. I will say this, as a single mom I don’t have too much room for mistakes. I have to get it right the first time because in this role I can’t afford to make the same mistakes twice.

More: Does she ever ask for him?
TA: She used to cry at night and even went through a spell of wanting her daddy. She would be sobbing, “I want my daddy.” Eventually she got used to having me tell her mommy and daddy live in two separate places and stopped asking questions.

More: Does she see her dad a lot?
TA: Twice a year.

More: Who helps you?
TA: My daughter is raised by a village. When I was pregnant my mom was so excited and couldn’t wait for me to have a baby. I sometimes think I had a child because of her. What was especially hard for me, I had endometriosis so I never thought I could get pregnant.

More: When were you diagnosed with that?
TA: About a year before she was born. I had it really bad. Physically, I thought I would never be able to reproduce. I guess God gives you the people you are supposed to be with.

More: Is your daughter excited to see mommy walk down the aisle?
TA: I am not doing a traditional wedding. We will probably go to Hawaii and make a vacation out of it. She is excited. They have known each other since she was two and they have a good relationship.

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First Published February 17, 2012

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