He’s a light-skinned, 53-year-old former pimp turned gangsta-rap pioneer who sang about killing cops before playing one on the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

She’s a White, 32-year-old Valley girl turned swimsuit model with 39DD-26-4012 dimensions, a penchant for TwitPic’ing seminude photos of herself and a talent for balancing soda cans on her backside.

Together, they are Ice-T and Coco, happily married couple. And while some might see them as a sort of novelty, their union has survived the usual celebrity-couple jinx, putting their PDA on Front Street for a decade strong now.

What’s their secret?

“Partnership,” says Ice, who was born Tracy Marrow in Newark, New Jersey, and raised in Los Angeles. “Being around Coco is like being at the spa: stress free. Her agenda is to make my day better, which makes me want to make her day better in return. That’s how we make life better for each other.”

Coco (née Nicole Austin) agrees and stresses the importance of communication: “You have to open up and bring up whatever’s in your head.”

To further display how they’ve made it work, the couple premiered their E! reality show, Ice Loves Coco, in June—shortly after renewing their vows at the W Hotel in Hollywood. The show chronicles their day-to-day, as Ice continues his rap and acting career and Coco launches her clothing line, Licious. They recently spoke to XXL about their life together and being role models for happy hip-hop marriage.—Mariel Concepcion

XXL: Take us back to the beginning. How did you two meet?

Coco: We met about 10 years ago, in California, at a video shoot. I was leaving the bathroom, and his friend said, “You have to go meet someone right now.” In comes Ice, in a red snake suit and hat. He was introduced to me, I introduced myself, and sparks flew on his end. He had a grump day—he has those often. I didn’t know we were supposed to click. Afterwards, he regrouped and asked if I would consider dating a gangster rapper. I said, “Of course.” [He responded,] “Baby, take the N off nice and you get Ice.” I was smitten right there.

Ice-T: I was in a bad mood, and I was doing [the shoot] as a favor for a friend. Coco was a model on the set, and my friend figured, This will cheer Ice up. I turned around, and I was like, Damn! And when she walked away, I thought, Homegirl got booty, too!

You got married two months after meeting. How did you each know the other was the one you wanted to spend the rest of your life with?

Coco: He made me laugh like no other. He’s always making me laugh—crying on the floor. I also liked the fact that he’s hardcore but on the inside he’s not. Maybe to everyone else he is, but to me he doesn’t play that. He’s sensitive to my needs. He loves to cuddle and little things like that.

Ice-T: For me it was a no-brainer. Not only was Coco beautiful and a sweetheart, she gave me no stress. She’s not a nagger. She’s not a bitch. She doesn’t talk bad about people. She’s a hustler. It just seemed like what I wanted. You can’t be a couple and be independent. “I gotta be independent”—that’s what breaks couples up. We are a couple.

What was your wedding like?

Ice-T: We eloped. We didn’t have much time to do it. We were already both wearing rings; she was already my wife to the public. It was New Year’s Eve, we flew to Vegas, got the license, called downstairs, went to the chapel and knocked it out. An hour later, we took off our outfits and had an NYE party.

Coco: Best moment of my entire life, when you’re saying vows and looking into each other’s eyes. Ice started crying a bit, which made me cry.



You are a high-profile interracial couple. Have you ever gotten any backlash for this?

Coco: When I first got with him, the Black women didn’t really find it amusing. I found it more in Harlem. When I first came into the picture, they were like, “Who is this blonde bimbo?” I just love the man. I’m not trying to step on anyone’s toes. I wanted to show the world I was dedicated to this man. After seeing me so many years, now I get so much respect.

You definitely get a lot of love from the public these days. What do you think it is that people find so appealing?

Ice-T: They never seen me disrespect her. Never see a picture of me without her. They see how I speak about her, how she speaks about me. If we’re always out of pocket, people be like, “Fuck them. That’s corny.” But we respect each other, and we love each other, and we don’t have a problem saying that.

Part of the reason you, Coco, have gotten the side eye from the ladies might be because of envy. You do like to show off your curves, after all. Ice, how do you deal with that?

ICE-T: I’m one of those guys that, if I have a sexy girl, let her show it. We communicate. We determine where we’re going. She’ll have an idea, and I’ll say, “That’s cool” or “That’s too crazy.” But we try to match it with the event. If we’re going to the Playaz Ball, she’ll dress really provocative. But if it’s a Law & Order event, she’ll wear a pencil skirt and a blouse.

Coco, there’s always a lot of talk about your booty. About whether or not it’s real. Can you clear up any misconceptions?

COCO: The booty is real, but the boobs are fake. I got them done when I was 18. But my butt is 100 percent natural. It’s grown throughout the years, and you know when women gain weight, it goes to the thighs and butt. I [work out] three times a week for an hour—40 minutes of hardcore lifting. Since I’m short, stretching has a big impact on my life. I look tall ’cause I stretch.

ICE-T: They don’t believe me. They think I’m covering up. Other than [her boobs], she’s all real. She’s got a 26-inch waist and a big booty that fluctuates. It’s unusual for White girls to have big butts, but it’s not impossible. It’s like saying White boys can’t have big dicks. She tans, her eyes are green, she used to be a brunette, and every once in a while she puts tracks in the back [of her hair and adds] acrylic nails. But all that other shit about her taking a rib out, getting lipo in her back… I’m like, “Coco, you got these bitches tripping.”

Ha-ha! Okay. How about the reality show? How did you guys get into that world?

ICE-T: We turned it down for a long time, pre-Kardashians. I didn’t want to do it—every couple that did it was breaking up. But E! got a different vibe with their shows, not like VH1. We can do it under our guidelines. It really shows us, not staging no fights, ’cause we don’t fight.

COCO: The show is basically me running Ice and my life, multitasking, and my career jumping off. It’s like I Love Lucy. It’s very much comedy.

Ice, you have a couple of children of your own, but not with Coco. Do you guys plan on having kids?

ICE-T: I have two kids, grown, and my paternal instincts are available, just not in demand. Coco is still dripping. She still has her business. Maybe in three or five years. She says she wants to get all these things out the way and then have a baby.

COCO: I would like one, but I’m still trying to debate when I should have one. It’s not Ice; he’s ready. It’s me having to figure out a good time and being fully able to dedicate myself.

If you could give couples out there one most-important piece of advice, what would it be?

ICE-T: Find a partner that you can click with, roll with and win together. You have to visualize lying on beaches with him, getting up in the mornings to him. Those are things that will make it work.

COCO: Remember what you were like when you first met. Did you have heels? Brush your teeth three times? Gotta keep that up forever. Ice likes me being sexy, in heels, being me. I can’t drift from that. A lot of people get in relationships and get sloppy. No brushing hair, wearing sweats; you have to keep the sex appeal alive. It does take work. If you have a man, you have to keep that in mind all the time.