When the beautiful, brawling Stanley sisters and their extended clan return to TLC in tonight’s two-hour Gypsy Sisters Season 3 premiere, Kayla Williams and Nettie Stanley are still working though the issues that boiled over in shockingly physical fashion last season. But Kayla is suffering the worst of the fallout from the cousins’ epic battle and how others in her inner circle responded to the altercation.
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I talked with Nettie and Kayla in separate interviews about how the show has impacted their lives, their families and their relationships; that fight and how they’re working on their bond; and what they want viewers to know about Season 3.
CGM: Congrats on a new season of Gypsy Sisters! Does it surprise you that people are so taken with your family and continue to want to follow along on your adventures?
Kayla Williams: It’s very nice to know that people want to know about my family, my kids and my lifestyle — absolutely!
Nettie Stanley: It is really exciting and fun that we are not so stereotyped anymore. It is good to open people’s eyes up that we gypsies are not the stereotype of fortune-telling people. That is what I love to do — to get that word out there to stop stereotyping us with other gypsies.
CGM: A recent preview clip made it appear that the two of you have mended fences from everything that went down last season and the whole gang of ladies is ready to whoop it up once more. Or is there more to it?
KW: The clip that’s on the internet is basically just showing you that we’re talking — but no one knows exactly the conversations that we had, how we mended this, our problems — and that’s not something that just took place right there at one spot. This took place throughout the whole season. We kind of talked about our relationship and we talked about a lot of things, you just have to tune in and watch it. I mean, this season is going to be so great in so many ways.
NS: Kayla is more like a sister than a cousin — we were raised up very close. And sisters fight all the time. You know me and my six sisters, we fight like cats and dogs. But sisters forgive and forget. Kayla was acting more like a cousin to me than a sister and it really bothered me. Because she hadn’t forgiven me like a sister and it really deepened my hurt. I was like, “I am going to get her back to the way it used to be.”
I don’t want to think about the fight. I don’t want to think about fighting her. I don’t want to think about the punches we threw because it really hurts me. I just needed to get it back to the way we used to be. So I set out to get it back to the way it used to be. That is what I was determined to do and that is exactly what I did.
CGM: Details, please?
NS: Well first of all, I started with getting all of us girls back together. I created a trip for us all to go to the horse races and it turned out really well. We went on a trip up to Baltimore and we all got together, including my daughter Dallas, and it was a blast. We all got to pet the horses and meet the jockeys — and, of course, Mellie loved to meet the guys. She met all the guys and got herself a whip. She had a ball with the whip. Her and Dallas were fighting over the whip. They were taking pictures with the jockeys and they just had a blast. She was whipping the men and putting them in their place!
CGM: Is that something you’re particularly proud of — to show people that your family can fight tooth and nail, put it behind you and keep these tight family bonds?
KW: Yes, and I’ll be honest with you — to be able to get on national television and go through some of the emotions that we really truly go through in real life, look out! Because you’re bringing the TV cameras into it.
It is very real and I am not a fighter. I’m more of a lover and so as far as speaking for myself it takes a whole, whole, whole lot for me to reach a breaking point with anyone. That fight with Nettie, I was not proud of that. I was never proud that I had to fight her, but you know I felt like that I was bullied by her for a long time and I felt like the only way that Nettie would give me some respect as her family member was to fight it out.
So ever since that fight has happened, I just know without a questionable doubt that we will never fight like that again — ‘cause I stood up to her. I stood up for myself. We know what we had to do and I think that we have a whole lot more respect for each other so I’ll say she has a whole lot more respect for me at this point in time than she has in the past.
NS: I definitely want people to see that no matter how much you fight, no matter how much arguing you do or what ever goes on, you can still love and there is nothing to stop you from overcoming the bad things that happened. A family’s love is a big bond and a gypsy family’s bond is so big and enormous, that there is nothing too big to destroy that bond.
So people should see that nothing should hold you back from forgiving your family. Always forgive and forget, because you never know when you will get a call from family who you are mad at and find out one of them is gone — and then you will never have the chance to say you’re sorry and that burden is in your heart forever.
CGM: Kayla, do you recall the moment that you realized that you had reached your breaking point?
KW: It was just that last phone call. I felt like it should have been Tanya calling about her kids rather then Mellie and Nettie and the way Nettie and Mellie feed off of each other, they can get a lot of trouble started in a matter of seconds. That’s why I never ever let anything they say or do get very personal with me, because I know how they are and that they can have these tempers and go out in left field somewhere.
But that last phone call they called me on, it happened like 3 or 4 times just within that month they called me about Tanya’s kids and screamin’ and hollerin’ at me and I felt like, “You know what? I’m tired of being the peacemaker. If I don’t stand up to them they are never gonna leave me alone and they are going to continue to bully me, so we gotta put this behind us.” And that was the only way to do it with them.
CGM: Kayla, in another heartbreaking preview clip from this season, we see you dealing with some very serious issues in your marriage that stemmed from the fight …
KW: There is so much to touch just on right there that there is no way, shape or form I can even touch it in an interview. That is just something the viewers are going to have to watch, because it starts from Episode 1 and then drags clear on to Episode 8 — to the grand finale.
It’s just been a rough road with Richard for the past year, but it’s all extremely self-explanatory for the very beginning of our season clear to the end. It wasn’t easy filming that, because I am a private person and when it comes to my relationship, the whole world doesn’t need to know what’s going on in my home. But the cameras were there at the time and I just felt like, “You know what, then? This season, let’s just be honest and put it up front and that way everyone can see what’s really going on behind the cameras.”
CGM: When you interact with your fans do you find that they like it best when you are all getting along and getting into some sort of trouble or adventure together — or do they like the drama the best?
NS: What most people come to me with is that they love my family and the motherhood that I teach and learn for myself and my children. And they love the fighting. [laughs] It is a little bit of everything I do on the show.
KW: You know what, that’s a good question and not a tough one to answer. I’ll be honest with you; I think the fans love the drama. They just love it. And the reason I say that they love it is ‘cause they’re like “how can they really get that mad and really, really, really fight — with their fists — but then love harder? They like to see what the outcome is gonna be. Are they not going to talk anymore? Are they going to make up? What’s it gonna take for us to see you guys never be able to mend things? But that’s one thing that will never happen. We’ll always, always, always be able to fix our problems regardless what the situation is, but, you see, the fans don’t understand that all the way!
CGM: Nettie, despite what you said about Mellie and the whip, it does seem that motherhood has mellowed her at least a little …
NS: It has! It has taken a toll on Mellie. It has calmed her down a lot. Richard is a year old now and the older he gets the more calm Mellie gets. Motherhood has really kicked in and put Mellie in her place.
CGM: That has to be a considerable weight off your shoulders.
NS: You know it is so good to have Mellie be a mother. And as time goes on and seeing Mellie grow up and get more mature, I have watched myself step back more and more. She has matured so much that I have not had to be so overprotective or have to do so much watching over Mellie. I have not had to do so much watching and protecting and arguing over Mellie. It is really good for me. It was a lot of stressful days I had with Mellie and those are over.
NS: Well, I won’t say completely over [laughs]. I will never say completely over. She still has her days. But Mellie has screwed up a lot, but compared to what she used to be like, she has grown up a lot.
You know something I was really worried about Mellie becoming a mother because she was a really wild child. I didn’t think anything was going to be able to calm her. Truthfully I thought Mellie was going to have a baby and I was going to be stuck with it and she was going to continue with her wild ways. She still has her fun and goes out, but she comes in at a decent hour when she does go out on the weekends and still be there to mother her child. That has really dramatically shocked me that she is doing it without anyone having to say anything to her and direct her to that. Everybody is going to be really shocked to see Mellie become a mother and she how much she has grown up.
CGM: How are things going for Nukkie and Pookie?
NS: You know, I complained so much Nukkie and Pookie — and she had some bad times with him. She loved him and came home and got back with him. But things changed with Pookie. He treats her like a queen now and she doesn’t come home. She doesn’t ask me for nothing. He’s not a drug addict and he is not an alcoholic. He’s not a beater. He treats her with the most respect. He is real good to her. I couldn’t ask for a better husband for my daughter. Comparing her to Dallas, well there is no comparison. Dallas is a whole other picture compared to Nukkie. I couldn’t ask for a better son-in-law to have for my daughter.
All that fighting, all that arguing that I did with Pookie, well, you know what? It was all meant to be. He might have thought it was OK to take my daughter and treat her bad, but once he realized that I was not going to take it and she wasn’t going to take it and he was going to be the husband she wanted and the man I wanted him to be for my daughter, he realized that it was going to be that or he wasn’t going to have her at all. So, thank God, he wanted to change his ways so that he would be able to keep Nukkie. And that’s what he did. I have no complaints.
CGM: Has that good will extended to Pookie’s family, as well? You seemed to have an uneasy truce with Dovie going.
NS: I just deal with them. We are not no goodie-goodie BFFs; I deal with them just because of Pookie and Nukkie. I don’t talk to them on a daily basis. I keep them at a distance and that is the best way to be right now. I couldn’t have them as my BFFs because they are who they are and let’s say that Dovie is who she is, and she will be that bitch. She always puts her nose where it doesn’t belong. I just have to deal with it and keep going on because Nukkie is happy and Pookie is happy. For them loving each other I just got to keep my nose out of it.
CGM: So we won’t see any happy backyard barbecues with the Stanleys and the Smalls this season …
NS: You will never see backyard barbecues or baby showers — God knows what it is going to be like when they have a baby and all of us are in the room? We are going to fight. That’s my daughter and I get to go back in the delivery room. I will try to bite my tongue and keep my mouth shut, but there is only so much I can do, because I have a mouth and sometimes I can’t shut up.
CGM: Kayla, what will we see of your kids this season?
KW: Well my kids are on there this season, but I don’t think that they’re on as much as they were the second season. But what you will see of my kids is just my kids being kids. Danielle is not lookin’ to marry, but she’s still going very strong with George. Her and George did not film together this season. I still look at them as kids still.
Nettie’s daughter ran away at 14 and now she’s married and she’s pregnant. My 14-year-old daughter is still living at home and acting her age. She’s not interested in boys, so I don’t think there is too much of a dramatic change as far as my kids go this season as there was last season.
CGM: So there aren’t any big, fat, American gypsy weddings in your future?
KW: There is a big difference because Danielle will be 16 in three months and, see, that’s why I think things are different with my kids than what Nettie did with hers. I’m allowing Danielle to date George — and why am I doing that? Cause I don’t want her to run away. I want her to know that she does have freedom and she has it right under mine and her father’s nose, so there’s no need to want to run off. But my thing for her is she has to get her GED. She’s home-schooled when you’re home-schooled, you can’t get a high-school diploma, you can only get a GED. So my biggest thing for her is to achieve that and then we’ll talk about her other wishes that she has later.
So they didn’t film a whole lot but what they did film was very, very funny and very interesting to watch, most definitely.
CGM:What is your feeling about social media — Facebook, Twitter, and so forth? It’s a great way for you to keep in touch with your fans, but it also can cause a lot of problems.
KW: Well, I’ll be honest with you; it is very rare that I have anyone that comes to my personal Facebook page which is also for fans or my Twitter or my Instagram with any sorts of negativity. But from time to time there will be somebody that comes to Facebook and leave rude comments. How do I handle that? I erase the comment, I’ll unfriend them and I’ll block them from my account — because I want my page to remain as positive as I am and I don’t like drama.
Social media is not drama that I have to deal with — I can remove it and that’s what I do, Because when people come to my social media pages and want to see what’s going on with me, I don’t want them to see any fans going back and forth with one another or me allowing it or tolerating it. I want them to come there and see exactly what they want and leave that page happy.
CGM: Is there anything about your family that hasn’t been captured on camera — something you do with your kids, a side of your personality or the like — that you’d like to see in an upcoming episode of Gypsy Sisters? Or that the fans would like to see?
KW: Oh that’s in episode 8 and I’m not gonna spoil that and give it away. That’s episode 8!
NS: The fans would love to know more about me and my husband. They would love to know more about the man who has won my heart. Huey is a very shy guy. He is not camera-friendly — he just can’t. We were completely opposites attract! I am the outgoing, fun-loving, giggly person. He is the most private, shyest guy in the world. We are like day and night, but I give him what he needs and he gives me what I need.
CGM: Can you go anywhere without being recognized now?
NS: Never! Never! I was just up in Atlantic City and I was just flocked all day, every day. I mean, I go out to the convenience store, I am flocked. The season hasn’t even hit and I am still being flocked by fans. But that’s what makes the show is the fans. I am so grateful for the fans. I love them. That is what made us is our fans.
KW: The fan base is unreal! I can run into them no matter where we’re at. If I’m at a gas station pumping gas, I take pictures with people. There’s times I don’t really want to take pictures, because I might be in a pair of boxers and a tank top, I might be going out comfortable for the day or just you know do a quick run. But when a fan runs into me I never, ever, ever turn them away or turn them down for a picture. And I have never ever have anyone come up to me and be negative towards me in no way shape or form. I’ve had nothing but positive things come to me.
I am a very big people person. I love people, people love me and it’s a way to reach a lot of people. You know, there’s a lot of people, there’s a lot of women out there, there’s a lot of young girls, there’s a lot of kids out there that are growing up into such a crazy world and to be able to know that your are some sort of role model and you’re impacting so many people’s lives, there’s no words. There’s just no words to describe the feeling that it can give you to know that you have a positive impact on someone else’s life to give other people such a positive drive, I will continue that as long as I can!
Gypsy Sisters Season 3 premieres tonight at 9/8CT on TLC.