Anansa Sims and Matt Barnes Talk Becoming “Soulmates” 20 Years After They First Met (EXCLUSIVE)

“You just never know who your soulmate is and who your partner is,” Anansa said of Matt. “I would have never guessed.”

Elizabeth Randolph - Author

May 17 2024, Published 6:01 p.m. ET

(l-r): Anansa Sims and Matt Barnes
Source: Getty Images

When Matt Barnes and Anansa Sims decided to star on The Barnes Bunch, few would’ve blamed them for quickly transitioning into reality TV. The kind that only showed their stunning home, a beautiful family with six kids, and a doting, famous grandmother keeping them in check when necessary. But rather than only showing the good, Anansa and Matt showed viewers the real.

The couple showed their 2020 breakup, co-parenting with their ex-spouses, legal woes, and their desire to have another baby.

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Despite the extra attention on their family and relationship these days, the future Mr. and Mrs. Barnes are stronger than ever. And, like all love stories, theirs took time (20 years, to be exact) and is still blossoming as they prepare to walk down the aisle.

In an exclusive interview with Distractify, the former NBA player and the model discussed their relationship timeline and how they make their union last.

(l-r): Anansa Sims and Matt Barnes
Source: Getty Images
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Matt Barnes and Anansa Sims started dating in 2018 but had met 20 years before.

They say love will find you the moment you stop looking for it. In Matt and Anansa’s case, it’s absolutely true.

Matt and Anansa started dating in 2018 after initially meeting back in college. They attended UCLA at the same time during the '90s and had mutual friends, including Kobe Bryant and his sister Shaya Bryant. Shaya, Anansa's best friend, has appeared on The Barnes Bunch.

Anansa told us Shaya reintroduced her and Matt when they all attended the 2018 All-Star Weekend. Neither knew they would be together two decades after their first meeting.

“You just never know,” Anansa said of her and Matt’s relationship timeline. “I mean, in college, I had a whole boyfriend. He had a whole girlfriend. So you just never know who your soulmate is and who your partner is. I would have never guessed. He wasn't on my radar, and I'm sure I wasn't on his radar.”

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(l-r): Anansa Sims, Matt Barnes, and their son, Ashton
Source: Getty Images

Anansa Sims and Matt Barnes with their son, Ashton, in 2019

Matt and Anansa welcomed a son into their blended family in 2018.

After reconnecting at All-Star, Anansa said Matt quickly “locked me down for years.” In December 2018, the couple welcomed a son named Ashton. They also moved in together, blending in their families, including Matt’s sons from his first marriage with Gloria Govan (Carter and Isaiah), and Anansa and her ex and David Patterson’s kids (Ava, David, and Dean Patterson).

But the couple’s blended family almost didn’t happen.

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Anansa said she was initially “nervous” about dating again before Matt asked for her number. She shared that her ex previously told her, “Nobody’s gonna want you with three kids,” a stereotype she thankfully didn’t believe.

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“Never give up on love,” Anansa advised those starting over after a breakup. “Never give up on love. Don't listen to what your exes say, the negative stuff they say, and just heal, move forward, and be your best self. Because somebody is out there for you, you know, if you want love, you will find it. You gotta be positive, though.”

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In 2024, the couple showed their time in therapy on ‘The Barnes Bunch.’

The Barnes Bunch offers a refreshing take on high-profile relationships. One of the most unique takes is with Anansa and Matt’s couples therapy sessions. In many episodes, they sit down with their therapist, Dr. Quinney, and share their honest feelings about their relationship and family issues.

Matt said his and Anansa’s willingness to show the “real work” they do on their relationship through therapy separates The Barnes Bunch from other celebrity reality shows. However, it was essential for the NBA champion and All the Smoke host to show himself putting the same work into his family as his career.

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“I feel like sometimes people put their relationships on the back burner and don't put that same energy and passion into their relationships as they do to what they love,” Matt said. “So I learned, obviously, through a failed marriage as well, that you’ve got to put that same energy, time, passion, and commitment into your relationship and continue to make that grow just like I'm making my other businesses grow.”

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“I just think you can learn that it's not perfect, but it's real,” he added, discussing relationships. “And it's daily work. But if you found someone who's worth it, you don't feel like you work a day in your life.”

Catch new episodes of The Barnes Bunch on Fridays at 10 p.m. EST on WeTV.

Reporting by Pretty Honore.

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