Kevyn and Tashida Callender (Picture by Dominique Bonnett.)
Kevyn and Tashida Callender are living out the ultimate Love & Basketball love story. No, neither of them play basketball, but they definitely live the story of the highly popular 1990s movie. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, date, break up, then realise they really belong together. And can’t live life without each other.
The fun-loving couple has only been married two months now, but have known each other 16 years.
“It’s been good. I feel like it’s been a bit blissful. We haven’t had any tough times yet. So it’s good we are still in that honeymoon phase,” Tashida née Cox said of being married.
Kevyn added, “For me it’s been the same. She makes me miserable every day. I make her miserable every day, it’s pretty much how it was before we got married, except now I get to come home to her.”
During an intimate interview at their home in St George, the very down to earth couple took EASY magazine on a journey of their admittedly very unorthodox relationship, which culminated in the ultimate fairy tale wedding on December 2, 2017, under the theme December2Remember.
The couple met in church 16 years ago when they were both teenagers and had the usual first impressions of each other.
For Tashida, “He was annoying when I first met him. Very annoying.” Meanwhile Kevyn thought, “Who was this rebel girl and why doesn’t she smile. I felt like she would slap me.”
But Kevyn wanted to know more about Tashida, much more.
“We would come to church, I would give her trouble, she would avoid me like the plague. I pursued her and she wasn’t checking for me. I kept pursuing her and she still wasn’t checking for me. We spent a lot of time together developing a friendship and me finding out everything about her, like what makes her happy and what hurts her and so on. I started to develop really strong feelings for her,” he recalled.
Tashida wasn’t having any of it at first, but after hanging out with mutual friends for an extended period of time, she too started to develop feelings for the man she once avoided.
“We had the same friends circle, so we would always end up out together and hang out together. Not long after we started annoying each other, we started going out and then we got together,” Tashida said.
Unfortunately, although they may have appeared to be the perfect couple, a few years later they went their separate ways.
Neither Tashida nor Kevyn remembers the exact reason they broke up.
“I don’t know why it ended, but we did break up and we went our separate ways, but . . . we would maintain communication from time to time. I went to pursue studies as far west as Vancouver, Canada, and she went as far east as London, Britain, and I was pretty convinced that that was it. We were almost enemies at one point in time. I didn’t want to see her name on paper. I pushed her away and she pushed me away,” Kevyn said on a sad note.
But as fate would have it, they ended back up in each other’s lives after Tashida faced a tough time in her life.
“Her aunt was sick and I believed that had a lot to do with us coming back together. I was there a lot during that time with her taking care of her aunt. Even though we weren’t talking I know that this is a woman I love and I would drop anything and do anything for her. So in a sense, Auntie Maria brought us back together,” Kevyn said.
After he got the girl of his dreams back in his life, Kevyn knew he couldn’t let her go and decided to make the move to make her his wife.
“I realised then it made no sense fighting and pushing her away anymore. I decided you know what, let me find a ring that fits her finger size and do this thing for real. She was wearing a ring that belonged to Auntie Maria on her ring finger and I took it off and asked her why you wearing this on that finger. So I was just playing around and sizing it on the different fingers and when I saw how it fit, I tried it to my finger to see how it would fit. Then I went to the jeweller and got the ring,” Kevyn said.
However, showing how much of an unorthodox couple they are, Tashida admitted that the proposal, or lack thereof, wasn’t the traditional one.
She walked EASY through her version of the proposal which came while the couple was on a trip to Fort Lauderdale, a surprise birthday trip for Tashida who turned 29.
“He created 29 puzzle pieces and put them in a bag and made me pull one each day for the month of November, but my birthday is in December. I had to figure out what the puzzle meant, each one had a clue for the surprise, which turned out to be a trip to Fort Lauderdale for my birthday. So while we were in Florida, the night before my birthday we went out to dinner. When we came back in, I realised the pieces were scattered.”
“He had actually put the ring on the bedside table with the puzzle piece which said ‘double or nothing’ underneath it. Our favourite movie is Love and Basketball. I put my phone down went to sleep and didn’t see the ring. At about 3 a.m. I woke up and he was sitting in the bed staring at me and I was like ‘What, did something happen? He asked me if I wasn’t going to put up that last puzzle piece. So, I looked around and picked up the ring and was like, ‘What’s this?’,” she recalled with a hearty chuckle.
However, Kevyn, who shook his head profusely during Tashida’s recollection, had a slightly different version of the engagement story.
“I placed it there strategically because I knew she would put down the phone, plug it in to charge and see the ring . . . . She took the ring off the bedside table and threw it on the bed and asked, ‘What going on here? What this about? And I’m like ‘What you think’?” he said in all seriousness.
Tashida chimed in, “I put it on and we had a conversation about what it meant.”
Their dream wedding followed and it was everything they both imagined.
“I had my dream wedding. My bride was beautiful. The ceremony flowed amazingly well,” Kevyn said while rubbing his wife’s hand.
Tashida said she didn’t necessarily have a dream wedding in mind before but, “I had a dream person and I found him. We wanted to have a wedding that was really memorable and we achieved just that.”
The couple admitted that not much was going to change as they forge ahead with their relationship. Kevyn, 32, told EASY a big part of their plans was to become successful in business together.
“Before we got married, our goals were to be successful in business together, and to develop each other’s business and integrate them under one umbrella. We have a lot of things in the works and a lot planned for the next five years. Babies would come two or three years down the road,” he said, to which Tashida, 30, agreed.
And as for what’s their goal to making their love last, Kevyn said, “Laughter, communication and Moscato. Be each other’s friend. I would say I’m not trying to change her as an individual unless it’s a positive change. I don’t expect her to change me or who I am because that’s what you fell in love with all those years ago. Love each other, respect each other, grow and learn from each other.”
Tashida agreed and added, “Prayer is very important and don’t take yourself too seriously.” (DB)