So people basically would say ’Pac married you just for conjugal visits, but those weren’t even allowed? And you really were a mental and emotional support to him?
That wasn’t even an issue. The thing was, like, we would never do anything like that. He wouldn’t do it, and neither would I. And that’s what people would say.
What was the relationship between you guys after the marriage was annulled?
It was, like, you know, you move on, I move on, that’s it. But the funny thing is that he would still call me and leave messages and say, “Listen to this song,” or “How are you? It’s Tupac.” So he always kept me, like, “It’s gonna be all right.” I remember him specifically saying, “You don’t understand now, but you’ll understand later,” because he always had this notion that we were gonna get back together. So I remember him telling me he didn’t want to damage me. He didn’t want me to get hurt in any of whatever was going on with him, so he’d rather leave me alone. Was I hurt? Absolutely. Did I feel like I was used? Absolutely. But I understand now. Am I angry? Absolutely not. But when you’re young, you do so many things. You know how many times your parents tell you not to do something, and you do the opposite? It’s life lessons. It’s growing for you. I knew Tupac. No one can take that away. I really knew him, and he would never hurt me.
Did you ever feel like, Oh, he just wanted some security while he was in jail?
Of course. I’ve never dealt with a whole bunch of people in jail, but of course they want to keep communication. Remember, I was the one who basically stopped my life when he was in jail. I moved closer to him. I made sure I was on visits. I made sure he had packages. You can’t just send a package to prison. You have to go to the store and have the store ship it to the prison. It was like my day revolved around him and what his needs were. So when it was getting closer to him getting released, it was like, Yeah, okay, I don’t need you anymore. And that hurt.
I never wanted anything from him. I just wanted to be a friend to him, someone he could trust, someone that he didn’t have to worry about telling his business to the media or anything. I was truly, purely there for him. When he moved and he got out of jail, I was actually on vacation when that happened. And when I found out he was being released, he didn’t even tell me. I had to call the prison to find out what was going on. He didn’t tell me. I was actually out in L.A. at the time. And what happened when I heard that he was released and he couldn’t leave the state of New York, I flew back just in case he needed me to do whatever. And a member of his family came and said, “We’ll take his stuff. You had your 15 minutes of fame. Now we’ll take over from here.” I couldn’t even express to you the pain.
But somehow you guys still managed to become friends afterward?
Mm-hmm. It was like, “Hey, Keish, what’s up?” Like nothing was wrong. Like nothing. And it was like we didn’t skip a beat. He would just pick up the phone and act like nothing ever happened. Like, “Oh, Keish, wassup?” And I’m like, “Wait, what? Let’s rewind this. Let’s bring this back.”
When was the last time you saw each other before he died?
He came into New York. I heard he was here, but I didn’t try to reach him. When I came off of work, he left me a message and was like, “Keisha, I’m in New York. Call me. I’m at the Hotel Nikko. I want you to come down here.” And I was just like, Here we go. We saw each other prior to this, but this was the final time I saw him alive and well. I was like, Oh, no, not again. We were on the phone for half an hour. I was like, “But why? We’re divorced. We don’t have anything.” And he was like, “You will always be Mrs. Shakur.” I was like, “Okay.” So after a lot of coaxing, after the award show, it was the MTV Awards, I went to the Hotel Nikko. He opened up the door and was like, “Wassup? You look good.” And we spoke. It was weird. We spoke, but didn’t speak. It was more like he just wanted me to just lay down, and he went to sleep. No intimacy, nothing like that. It was just, like, he just wanted to lay down, and he went to sleep. I got up in the morning; he was still sleeping when I left.
And that was how long before he was killed?
A couple of days before. And then the next thing I heard was that he was shot out in Vegas. As a matter of fact, he went out to L.A., and then from L.A., I heard he was going to Vegas. We would talk, ’cause he would say, “Why didn’t you wake me up before you left?” And I was like, “No, you were sleeping so peacefully, and I wanted you to rest.” And that was it. But had I known more, I wish I would’ve went to wake him up.
How do you feel about the fact that it’s 15 years after his death and people still are celebrating him?
That’s why this is important. I was through doing any other media. Okay, I said what I said. It’s done. I’ve moved on in life. I have my own stuff in my life going on. It is relevant because it’s important to keep his memory alive and educate the people, the younger generation, who are interested, who are intrigued, who want to be a part of this industry, to look at the people who started, to see where it is that hip-hop has gone.
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