The Truth About Gizelle Bryant

Gizelle Bryant (née Gizelle Graves) is the spitfire, green-eyed bandit on The Real Housewives of Potomac. Prior to keeping us entertained on the tube, this reality TV star's life was rich with political affiliations and a career that showcased her exceptional baking skills. However, ever since 2016, she's allowed the RHOP cameras to capture all the details of her personal and professional life. 

We've seen this mother of three go from dealing with the aftermath of her failed marriage to megachurch pastor Jamal Bryant to facing struggles in the dating world following their divorce. On the bright side, RHOP has acted as a launching pad for Bryant to become an entrepreneur — and here you thought she was just a thorn in the side of co-star Karen Huger! Tuh!

While this television personality continues to immerse herself in therapy to figure out why she's so quick to kick people out of her life (which we'll get to in a bit), let's discuss some relatively unknown facts about this Bravolebrity. Keep on scrolling to find out the truth about Gizelle Bryant.

Gizelle Bryant's dad is kind of a big deal

Gizelle Bryant's father, Curtis Graves, is a very prestigious man. According to The Daily Dish, he was the first African American to serve as a member of the Texas House of Representatives since 1899. While he held the position from 1967 until 1973 (impressive!), the New Orleans native is actually a jack of all trades. After Graves' time in the political realm, he worked in NASA's Academic Affairs Division, before becoming the agency's Director for Civil Affairs, per Bravo TV. Upon his retirement following a 30-year career, Graves became a full-time fine arts photographer. According to his personal website, he was even commissioned back in his hometown to capture images of New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina.

This must be from where Bryant gets her tendency to juggle multiple projects! When she's not spending time with her daughters, Bravo states that the reality TV star "keeps herself busy with multiple philanthropy projects and entrepreneurial ventures." The website notes that she also "generates funds to revitalize various major cities in order to help those in need or in transition."

Jam-packed schedules seem to run in the family!

Bryant is a sorority girl with a college degree

While her author bio on Amazon states that Gizelle Bryant was born in Houston, Texas, she actually didn't grow up too far from the city of Potomac, Md. Indeed, the television personality and her three siblings were raised in the political hub of Washington, D.C. After graduating from high school, she chose to stay relatively close to home by attending Hampton University, a historically black college in Virginia. After pledging to the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Bryant graduated from the private university in 1992 with a degree in marketing (via the Daily Mail). 

In case this whole RHOP gig doesn't work out, this college grad could always dust off her marketing degree and head back out into the workforce. Oh, who are we kidding? Bryant never really left the business world at all! According to a 2016 report by The Baltimore Sun, which was published just ahead of RHOP's first season, it was revealed that this multi-hyphenate worked "with the city council of Birmingham, Ala., to help 'revitalize' the city, and fund-raises for a number of local charities."

Brains, beauty, and oh so charitable!

The juicy details in Gizelle Bryant's 'salacious' book

In 2019, Gizelle Bryant flexed her writing prowess by releasing the book, My World. While speaking with Bossip at the time, the reality star-turned-author revealed that the effort was "loosely based" on her experiences while married to Jamal Bryant (pictured, right). At the time of their romance, he was the pastor at Empowerment Temple AME Church. Together, the formerly married pair lived in Baltimore, Md., according to The Baltimore Sun

As the pastor's wife, Gizelle Bryant was dubbed the "First Lady" of the church, she explained to Bossip. Through her book, she was able to shed some light on the inner "cliques in that world," where they "support each other and they throw each other under the bus." In an interview with Essence magazine, the author called her first novel "a fun read." Bryant added, "It's very salacious. It's a page turner, but ... after you finish reading My Word, you're going to feel real good about yourself." Sounds messy!

Adultery, out-of-wedlock children, and divorce, oh my!

After college, Gizelle Bryant worked as an event planner for the NAACP, where she first met Jamal Bryant, according to the Daily Mail. The media outlet described the reality TV star's future husband as "a pastor's son, motivational speaker and rising star on the evangelical circuit." 

After tying the knot in 2002, Gizelle was thrust into a life of luxury. With Jamal becoming a high-profile preacher at Baltimore's Empowerment Temple AME Church, his job afforded he and his then-wife to cruise around town in a flashy Bentley. Meanwhile, Gizelle soon gave birth to their daughters, Grace, Angel, and Adore. However, when rumors surrounding Jamal's infidelity began to swirl, he admitted to being unfaithful to Gizelle, who basically dropped him like a hot potato! 

"I decided I was not going to continue to stay in a relationship in which there was not a major commitment," she told the Daily Mail. Yas, queen. For his part, Jamal had also fessed up to having two out-of-wedlock children who were conceived prior to him marrying Gizelle. By 2008, she filed for divorce. Can you blame her?

How Gizelle Bryant tackles long-distance co-parenting

Even though the demise of her marriage was full of drama and (most likely) caused a great deal of embarrassment due to her ex-husband's infidelity, Jamal and Gizelle Bryant are actually in a good place these days. Jamal may have packed up and moved to Atlanta, Ga., but he and Gizelle are pros at being long-distant co-parents. 

Gizelle told Essence in 2019 that because Jamal is physically away from their three daughters, he goes "above and beyond" to ensure that "he's with them." What's most shocking, however, is that the exes have become friends. "Our relationship is better than it's ever been," she said. The publication went on to note that Gizelle, Jamal, and their kids had just returned from a family vacation ... together! But to Gizelle, this was no big deal, especially since their marriage ended so long ago. "He and I have a great friendship and we still kind of rely on that as we go through our daily life," she explained, adding that they "know each other probably better than anyone else knows us, and that's a beautiful thing."

On Father's Day 2019, Gizelle expressed her adoration for her ex-husband on Instagram, captioning a sweet picture of Jamal and their daughters with: "@jamalhbryant so happy that these girls belong to both of us." Aww. Super sweet.

Bryant's daughters encouraged her to appear on RHOP

Gizelle Bryant appears to have settled into her role as The Real Housewives of Potomac cast member who constantly gets underneath the skin of frenemy Karen Huger (pictured, first from left). However, she wasn't necessarily gung-ho about appearing on the reality series at first. While Bryant was friends with one of the season one casting directors, when he mentioned he was looking for women in the Potomac, Md. area to appear on the new show, Bryant told The Cut, "At first I was like, 'No, this doesn't sound like it's for me,' but he was like: 'What else are you doing right now?'" 

Bryant wasn't necessarily concerned about putting her own life out on front street, but was more worried about her three daughters. "I didn't want them negatively affected about what people might say about their mom," she said. However, after having "a conversation" with her children, they told her, "Mom, you're wonderful, just go for it." And the rest is television history!

Gizelle Bryant's filling a void in the makeup industry

Gizelle Bryant is undeniably the breakout star of The Real Housewives of Potomac. The opportunity to appear on the Bravo TV series has provided her with so many opportunities. For instance, it allowed her to provided a solution when she noticed a void in the makeup industry in regards to the shades available to people of color. 

"I've always had trouble as a black woman finding a tone and shade that matched my skin tone," Bryant told The Cut in 2017. "I've always had to buy two or three shades to try to find a match." Back in 2014, Bryant began working on her own makeup line. She debuted EveryHue Beauty two years later, and has since expanded the range to include pressed powder, primer, and illuminating blush. However, one of the brand's revolutionary products is a tinted moisturizer. "We'll have 12 shades," Bryant told the media outlet. "From the darkest you could possibly think of, all the way to the lightest."

Another breakup prompted Bryant's therapy sessions

After her disastrous marriage to Pastor Jamal Bryant, Gizelle Bryant moved on and found love with former professional basketball player Sherman Douglas (pictured, right). In 2017, she told People that they met at the gym. "I took a running class and we ran on a treadmill and he would always take the treadmill behind me," she explained to the magazine. "I think he was liking what he was seeing in front of him." 

After going on a coffee date, they clicked and decided to begin a relationship. Sadly, things didn't end well, and Bryant broke up with Douglas "after a year-and-a-half of dating," Essence reports. In hindsight, the reality TV star told the publication that she was "happy" she was no longer with her ex-boyfriend, because she didn't agree with some of the "things" he had done. For one, Douglas memorably stood her up on an episode of The Real Housewives of Potomac after she invited him to co-star Robyn Dixon's dinner party (via The Daily Dish). Bryant told the Bravo website that she and Douglas attempted couple's counseling, but that was a flop, too.

As of 2019, Bryant has continued to attend therapy sessions by herself. "I'm trying to figure out why I kick people to the curb and remove people from my life so quickly," she told Essence

Gizelle Bryant's Belgian chocolate chip cookies are TDF

Prior to signing on to star on the The Real Housewives of Potomac, Bryant had a career whipping up treats for her own brand of desserts called "Sweet Gizelle," The Baltimore Sun reports. The Bravo star's concoctions were even sold at Timothy Dean Burger in Washington D.C., which was owned by her good friend and former Top Chef contestant, Timothy Dean. The author of The Baltimore Sun piece described Bryant's Belgian chocolate chip cookies as "chewy and just sweet enough." Now we're hungry! 

The restaurant has unfortunately since closed, but if you get in a disagreement with Bryant, you might be able to try some of her specialty items for free! Don't believe us? Just ask co-star Karen Huger. After one of their many televised fights, Bryant attempted to smooth things over and make peace with her on-again, off-again friend by bringing her some homemade cookies on an episode of RHOP. Sure, Bryant told Huger that the cookies were made by her three daughters. But knowing her backstory, we suspect that she was probably the one who made the delicious desserts — or, at the very least, played a role in the baking process!