Omar Epps: Life & Real Love After Basketball

house-omar-eppsTwenty years ago, a 20-year-old Brooklyn native wanted ‘all the juice’ in the urban classic film Juice. Now, the then- budding actor Omar Epps, who played DJ Gee Q in the urban classic, is still going strong as Dr. Eric Foreman on FOX’s medical drama “House MD.”  He’s had numerous memorable roles including those in “Love & Basketball” and “Higher Learning”, but the nine-year run on House is one of the actors longest-running. Unlike other “McDoctors” and their soap-operatic hospital affairs, Dr. Eric Foreman keeps the focus on medicine. The veteran actor beneath the white coat stays focused on fitness.
On Staying Healthy

“Right now, I’m doing five-day- a-week workouts,” explains Epps. “For about an hour and a half to two hours. I try to do them in the morning. It just varies—Mondays and Wednesdays, upper body, and Tuesdays and Thursdays, lower body. Friday is just a general workout: at least a half hour of cardio, then machines and free weights.”

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With all the fast food eating that he does on the small screen, Epps doesn’t let that deter him from his health goals. “I’m in the gym now actually,” he confesses. “As the schedule gets more hectic, it’s harder to maintain. I like to stay fit as much as I can. I’m always doing calisthenics in my trailer, 250 pushups or situps. I’m thinking of even taking up yoga this year.”

 

On The Iconic Film Love & Basketball

Epps added, “I think it’s sort of that fairytale love story for women. Monica and Quincy had a real friendship and that’s the basis of every great relationship which is really hard to do. It’s that fairytale where you grow up with someone, you know him or her as a person, [end up] taking their virginity, then she [moves on] and lives her life, he lives his. Then they go off to college. I think that part of it is timeless.”

omar epps family

Omar Epps & Family (courtesy of Instagram)

On Finding Love In Real Life

Epps has been married to same woman, Keisha Epps, three years his senior, for 10 years.  That’s a lifetime in Hollywood. There’s a few things Epps says keeps his marriage going: keeping your private life private, truly loving that person, and being realistic.

“The movie Love & Basketball is the real deal. You could use an older couple, who might not be in the sports atmosphere, or who are in a corporate atmosphere. Here, basketball is a metaphor for that tension. I know independent women in their thirties, who have trouble finding a guy who may not be where he wants to be, and vice versa with men. It’s more prevalent now in the 2000s, because there are more women getting into positions of power, and not just because it’s a movement, but because they’re the better person for the job. So this movie comes right around that time, when that’s a discussion that people are having. And how do you work it out? I don’t know, just like in real life. You figure it out. I guess in our film, love triumphs over all. But with compromises.”

On His Responsibility

I’m a black man and proud of it, I love my people. And I’m all for the “one world, one culture,” but in order for us to have one culture, each culture must be its own and understand its own. And as an African American man, we are the number one displaced people in the world, because you can come to America and you can go to the Greek or Chinese part of town, and people still have their own native tongue. We’re the only people — us and white people, actually — who don’t have a native anything. We’re just trying to find our way, in the midst of everybody reaping the benefits of our ancestors’ work.

But the primary responsibility I feel is just to kids in general, no matter what color. I’m inspired by kids, so I would like to return the favor. I want to push it so that my daughter, godsons, and goddaughter won’t have to go through and see the same things that we saw. That’s what it’s all about: recycling and sacrifice. I want to make the best of my time on earth, so the ones that come after us can be smarter, wiser, stronger, more talented. The responsibility that I feel comes naturally, it’s the nature of my person. I don’t have to go to the school in the slums and put on my face. I live that every day, with every person I come in contact with. And that’s the easiest thing to do is, be me.