Jeannie Mai had a milestone birthday this year, so she’s spent a lot of time reflecting.
“Turning 40 allowed me to really visit those dark areas and open it up in front of me, and one of them was I had a falling out with my mom, because she didn’t believe me when I tried to talk to her about it,” Mai tells Yahoo Entertainment. “As a victim of sexual abuse, I learned that you never heal, you just continue to heal. So I sat down and I said, ‘Mom, I have an issue with something that happened years ago, and I want to talk to you about it, because I want to move past it. So when we did it, I posted it.”
Mai and her mom, Olivia TuTram Mai (better known to her daughter’s fans as Mama Mai), discussed what had happened on a May episode of Jeannie’s show, Hello Hunnay with Jeannie Mai. They talked about the eight-year period of estrangement that followed Mai’s revelation (from the time she was 16 to 24) and the cultural issues that affected them. It was an important conversation that, ultimately, The Real co-host found strengthening.
“Within one night, one million people watched it,” Mai said. “And it made me realize that the last part of healing is seeing yourself being able to help someone else through your experience.”
Her intention is to always keep growing and to help others do the same.
“For all my fans out there… that’s what I really, essentially hope is that we grow together, and you just learn to be more confident in your skin every day,” Mai says.
Mai regularly dishes out more of that candid talk on daytime talk show The Real, which she hosts alongside Adrienne Bailon Houghton, Loni Love and Tamera Mowry-Housley. And by this point, they’re all exceptionally close.
“I think I’ve seen every one of their nipples. And we show each other our panty lines,” Mai says. “We have a wacky relationship. I mean, we keep it trill, trill.”
While they discuss some sensitive subjects, the women manage to stay on good terms, show after show.
“They way that it works is that we respect each other,” Mai explains. “Even though I may not agree with them, it doesn’t mean that I have to diss them or make them feel disrespected in any way. That doesn’t help the conversation.”
Mai has a new co-worker these days on the new ABC mini-golf show Holey Moley, which she describes as American Ninja Warrior combined with the Adam Sandler movie Happy Gilmore. It’s NBA superstar Steph Curry, who’s an executive producer.
“I learn from Steph. He’s mad professional,” Mai says. “We were shooting at 3:30 a.m., freezing cold in Santa Clarita, [California], and he was so nice. There were so many things I was forgetting and he was just like, ‘It’s gonna be fine. It’ll be fine.’ And it was.”
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