"I've gotten to spend even more time with him — getting even more connected to his world and what's going on with him," La La Anthony tells PEOPLE of her son

By Morgan M. Evans
November 24, 2020 02:40 PM
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Credit: Jen Lowery/Splash News Online

La La Anthony is opening up about one of the upsides to quarantine: getting to spend more quality time at home with her son, Kiyan.

In a recent interview with PEOPLE, the 39-year-old TV personality and actress talks about life at home in isolation amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, explaining that she is "grateful" for growing her bond with her basketball-loving teenager.

"My son and I have always been close, but I've gotten to spend even more time with him — getting even more connected to his world and what's going on with him. So that's really been great," says La La, who shares the 13-year-old with NBA star Carmelo Anthony.

"And just wanting to be in tune with his experience during this time ... we're often just worried about how it's affecting us and we don't even check in with our kids and see how it's affecting them," she explains. "I mean, this is not normal yet, [but] it's become our new norm, in a sense."

"So just trying to stay on point with my son, and make sure he's good and checking with him. But our bond — I feel like now we're closer than ever," adds La La. "It's something I'm so grateful for that's happened during this time."

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La La Anthony

Kiyan also shares a close relationship with his father, as shown in a November 2019 Instagram post shared by the Power star.

After the basketball player signed with the Portland Trail Blazers last year, La La documented the moment that Kiyan shared a sweet goodbye with Carmelo, 36, who had to move to a new state for the sport.

In the photo, Kiyan stood beside his dad as he held a basketball in his hand.

"He is his dad's #1 fan & super excited for this new opportunity … but when it's all said and done, he's still a 12yr old that is going to miss his dad 😢🙏🏽🏀," The Chi actress wrote at the time. "Portland you got a great one 🏀🙏🏽#portlandtrailblazers #stayme7o."

RELATED VIDEO: La La Anthony Shows Carmelo FaceTime of Son Kiyan, 12, During His Season-Best Basketball Game

In addition to her son, La La — who recently launched her Facebook Watch series, La La Anthony: Reclaim Your Life — says she's also thankful for her close circle of friends, explaining that catching up with her companions on a regular basis has been helpful in getting through 2020's ups and downs.

"During this time, you really realize what's important. Then you start weeding out the things that you've spent so much time stressing over that you're like, 'This doesn't even matter right now.' So it's been great to have cool girlfriends to talk to and laugh with," says La La, who recently partnered with SIMPLE Mobile, which is helping all of those separated amid the holiday season stay connected with their $50 unlimited plan.

She adds, "Some days you might want to cry because of the state of the world. It's been great to have people in my life that I know I can call and rely on no matter what."

Vanessa Bryant and La La Anthony
| Credit: La La Anthony/Instagram
Kiyan Anthony and Bianka Bryant
| Credit: Lala Anthony/ Instagram

The TV personality also reveals that she has daily check-ins with her longtime friend Vanessa Bryant, whose 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria-Onore died in the January helicopter crash that also killed Kobe Bryant.

"I talk to [Vanessa] every single day," La La says of Bryant. "And I just always say, 'Continue to send her great energy and pray for her.' That's important, and just trying to be a great friend. But when you're friends with somebody, you don't have to try — you just do."

La La — who previously said she's known as "Auntie La La" to Vanessa and Kobe's daughters Capri Kobe, 16 months, Bianka Bella, 4 next month, and Natalia Diamante, 17 — has also called her closest friends (including stars like Ciara) her "family."

"Good friends are hard to find. So when you find them, you hang on to them no matter what. So it's great that during this time we've been able to stay connected," she says. "I only have one child, but our kids have been able to stay connected."