Pilar Sanders has been in the news recently for the bitter, messy and drama-filled divorce trial with her now estranged husband Deion Sanders. The former model who was raised in Elmira, New York met her future husband, Deion Sanders on the LL Cool J show, In The House. A year later Pilar moved to Dallas to be near Deion and the following year, in 1999, they married in Nassau,Bahamas and have three children together. In April 2012, the couple made headlines following a domestic dispute at their home in Prosper, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. Pilar had been arrested for domestic violence after allegedly attacking Deion.
Deion used national television and social media to put the couple’s business in the street while Pilar sat on the sidelines and let her name be dragged through the mud.
I recently had a chance to sit down with Pilar who wanted to tell her side of the story and share with our readers that domestic violence is the same whether you’re married to a famous athlete or a regular Joe.
It seems that when you do a search online about Pilar Sanders, nothing but negative news items appear, what can and/or are you willing to do to make people see you in a positive light?
Negative, only because now of the divorce and everything surrounding it. Most divorces aren’t happy occasions. Neither is mine. My divorce just happens to be with an ex pro baller (football and baseball) and is filled with abuse, lies, and part-time parenting. All I can do is be me. I’ve been honest, tried to be private and always been a good mother (putting my children first). Anything negative about me came from lies and or from those who don’t know me. But I can’t worry about that, all I can do is live my life the best way I can. I cannot worry about things that I can’t change or have no control over. Everyone is going to have an opinion whether it’s based on truth or lies, regardless, that’s life. My truth is my life whether it is accepted or not.
If you never married Deion, what would you be doing?
Acting! I was a Ford model and an actress before and when I met Deion. I was standing well on my own 2 feet. I moved to LA and was making a pretty good name for myself when I met him. In addition to me being an actress, I’m sure I would be much further along than I am now in building my career and life around a business in Health, Fitness & Beauty.
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If you can do anything in life over again, what would it be and why?
Hindsight is 20/20! That’s no lie. I would have definitely remained focused on my career a lot longer before getting married and taking a hiatus. I would’ve still had my babies, but I would also have Pilar. You know what I mean? I would be the successful actress, model, the savvy entrepreneur, then the wife and mother – in that order. Now I’m going backwards, back to my roots of acting and will finally utilize my savvy business skills for myself and not focus on building my partner. I’ve learned that we as women can’t stop doing ‘us’ for the sake of taking care of our husbands. As women, we are natural nurturers, we are known to put our stuff, our career and lives on the back burner to make sure that our men are “on point.” I wouldn’t do that again. I now know I have to do Pilar FIRST and everything else will fall into place.
As a mother, would you say you are a good role model for your children?
Absolutely! I believe role models should indeed be those closest to you and who do the most for you. I believe hands on mothers, as myself, have so much influence on our babies. It’s amazing. We shape their thoughts, behaviors their character; we give them a point of reference for love, respect and life in general! There’s nothing more precious and needed than mommies.
What would you do if you saw your children acting in a similar way you and your ex acted?
I have seen that! My boys were beginning to treat my daughter and every female around them how they saw my husband treat me and it broke my heart! I had to immediately confront this behavior and consistently bring truth to what they were doing and as to what they witnessed. Removing them from the situation was seemingly impossible because the help I sought were (as I later found out) a part of the problem as well. I am still in the process of removing my children from having to witness such disrespect and male chauvinism but unfortunately the courts take their time and don’t always choose to look at the truth that is presented before them. I continually speak with my children and they are coming along. I know they love their sister, their mommy and women, it’s important for me to keep them level headed.
You say that you were abused by Deion, if he wasn’t a successful athlete, would you have allowed him to get away with what he did get away with?
First and foremost, his status in the media never dictated to me on how he has or should have treated me. I loved Deion for who he was, not for WHAT he was. And when you’re in a situation you can’t see the forest for the trees – as they say. I didn’t realize it was abuse until going through this divorce. In the very beginning another woman who had a very similar experience opened my eyes and labeled it. I knew Deion was a very difficult and rude person at times, but I saw him treat everybody close to him like that. So I simply thought it was his personality. Sometimes he was very mean sometimes he was kind. His moods would drastically change if the wind blew a certain way. There was never any rhyme or reason with his mood swings, so after years of seeing and experiencing this type of behavior I just accepted it as him being him. So, I began to ignore it. When it became physical I had no choice but to defend myself and my children. I loved him and believed him EVERY single time he said he was sorry and wouldn’t do it again. I loved Deion and loved our family. Yes common sense tells you it’s abuse, but common sense isn’t always turned on, especially when you’ve been it in so long. I was in it for 13 and a half years, married and a few years before that.
You are known for keeping your body tight, how do you keep yourself mentally fit?
Thank you! I think body, mind and spirit is all synergistic. I stay mentally fit through many avenues like prayer and meditation, reading and learning which keeps your mind sharp, having fun and of course working out. Exercise produces endorphins, HGH, boost your immune system, releases toxins, relieves stress and makes you feel really good! So even in the toughest of times you can still be in a good space physically, mentally and spiritually which all work together because keeping a healthy balance isn’t always easy to do but it is necessary.
Your 2008 reality show Prime Time Love was one of the first reality shows that focused on a black couple, what do you think about how women are portrayed in reality shows today?
It’s sad how women are portrayed on reality shows, but they get decent ratings and that’s all the networks care about. Even on my show, the realness of who I am wasn’t shown. That was edited as well. I am not a weak woman with no ideas or business sense which was how I saw the finished product of the show. It was horrible! It was me who initiated many business deals for Deion. The way I ran a business was all cut out of the show. Which is I’m sure what happens on many of these other shows for most of these ladies. They cut out who they really are and what they really do to get a reaction, negative or positive, so as long as ratings stay up.
Do you watch Love & Hip Hop Atlanta? If so, how do you feel about a woman like Mimi that stays with a man like Stevie J?
No I don’t watch them and haven’t seen them. But no one can judge a woman based on a TV show. I’m sure the cameras and the producers aren’t getting everything that’s going on or showing us who these people really are. I’m sure it’s more to the story than what we see.
If you could create a reality show, what type of show would it be and why?
A reality show that is real. There’s enough drama, comedy, action and adventure in real life,..well in mine anyway, that nothing has to be drummed up or deleted! My life literally is a movie! an Epic Movie!
Do you think you need any more publicity?
For what reason? For myself no, not at all. If it’s to help other women better themselves or boost their self esteem through my trials, tribulations, habits or secrets then sure.
What does Pilar want to be known for?
For the amazing love I have for my babies, my family, women and people in general. For how I see life, love God and how my Health, Fitness and Beauty teachings help change the lives of children, women and families across the world.