Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in October 2019.
Tika Sumpter is an extraordinary woman and skilled actress who’s appeared in a variety of television shows and films, including: The Haves and Have Nots, Southside With You, Nobody’s Fool, One Life to Live, Gossip Girl, and more.
Originally from New York City, Tika is the mother of a beautiful baby girl, Ella, and is engaged to be married to fellow actor Nicholas James. I had the chance to speak with Tika to discuss motherhood and marriage and learned so much more about her life experiences that helped her portray such complex, yet, relatable characters.
Jaleesa Lashay: Who has taught you the most about love?
Tika Sumpter: My mom is one of the people who has taught me about love, but it’s in a different way. It’s not a societal form of love. It’s just how much she gives to her family, how much she took care of us. Making things happen and literally making a dime out of nothing. Now, relationship-wise? It’s crazy. My dad died when I was so young, [Tika was 13 years old] so my mom remarried and I don’t know. It’s almost like I had to figure that part out on my own.
I had to figure out what was love for me — what it felt like— not just making me feel good, but for the long haul. Who treated me with respect and kindness, and we have fun together. Not just being in a relationship to be in a relationship.
JL: It’s interesting because now you’re engaged. What type of journey did you go on to think of what type of wife you want to be if you didn’t necessarily grow up with those specific examples?
TS: I know what I want, and I do know what love is. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not boast. Love does not make you feel inadequate. I know what love does not do. It’s almost like creating what I know feels right in my heart and my soul. When I wake up in the morning, I don’t have anxiety. I’ve been in relationships where I know what love isn’t, and so, I want the opposite of that.