Inside Matt Barnes, Gloria Govan and Derek Fisher's Complicated Love Triangle
Barnes and Govan, who happens to be engaged to Barnes' ex-teammate Derek Fisher, have been embroiled in a custody battle for years
Though Gloria Govan once starred on Basketball Wives L.A., the real-life drama that followed her after the show was far from unscripted.
On Thursday, TMZ reported that Govan’s ex-husband, retired NBA star Matt Barnes, was granted custody of their 10-year-old twin sons — Carter and Isaiah — after having been embroiled in a custody battle for years. Barnes also reportedly obtained an 18-month restraining order protecting him against Govan, who happens to be engaged to his ex-teammate, NBA veteran Derek Fisher.
Reps for Govan and Barnes did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Govan, 33, and Barnes, 38, first met when Govan was only 12 years old. After a few years apart, they reconnected when Barnes played near Govan’s hometown of Oakland. The pair started dating in 2006.
Then in 2010, Barnes was newly signed to the Lakers when he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence against Govan, according to the Los Angeles Times. Police said that they found signs of a fight in which both suffered injuries but concluded that Barnes had been the primary aggressor.
Govan denied these claims against Barnes, who was her fiancé at the time, saying in a statement, “Any accusations of domestic violence are false. My fiancé, Matt Barnes, has never physically abused me or my family.” The charge was later dropped.
Both Fisher, 44, and Govan were still legally married at the time they began dating in 2015, a point of contention that reportedly drove a wedge between Fisher and Barnes’ friendship. The two had played together on the Lakers from 2010 to 2012 and were “very close” at the time, ESPN reported.
That all didn’t seem to matter when Barnes reportedly drove 95 miles from Santa Barbara to confront Fisher — then the head of the New York Knicks — at Govan’s house in Redondo Beach, California, after finding out he had been dating her.
“Barnes went crazy. He got in his car and went to the house and went after Fisher,” a source told the New York Post at the time. “Matt then drove down there to beat the s— out of him.”
Sources also told the New York Post that Barnes became enraged when his sons, who were then-6 years old, called to tell him that Fisher was at the house. After Barnes arrived, he reportedly found Fisher and Govan in the backyard with friends and family and a physical altercation ensued.
According to multiple reports, police confirmed that they responded to an incident involving Barnes, Fisher and Govan but that no charges were filed.
Barnes denied the behavior that was reported, telling ESPN, “I can’t believe people think I was some maniac driving 95 miles and listening to Tupac to go beat somebody up.”
“No. I live 15 minutes away and I was going over to check on my kids because they seemed uncomfortable,” he continued. “That was my main reason for going over there.”
Things only intensified between Barnes and Fisher from there, with the two players and Govan trading verbal jabs for years in the press and on social media.
Just in February, Barnes and Govan traded barbs in a since-deleted Instagram post captured by The Shade Room, where Govan accused Barnes of involving her in a “frivolous lawsuit” and Barnes claimed Govan had been “forging [his] signature” and “stealing money” from him.
However, Barnes took it surprisingly well when Fisher proposed to Govan in April 2018.
Barnes offered his congratulations in a since-deleted Instagram post, USA Today reported — writing in part: “You guys want this to be an issue, it’s not! I’ve known about this for a few weeks & I am all for it. My kids matter to me at this point, that’s it!”
Then in September, Barnes asked the judge to take away Govan’s custody of their twin boys claiming that she was a danger to their safety after being arrested over Labor Day Weekend for alleged child endangerment.
On Aug. 31, Govan was arrested and charged with felony child endangerment after she and Barnes were involved in an altercation at their sons’ school, according to multiple reports.
When Barnes was granted full custody and a restraining order against Govan on Thursday, the judge also ordered Govan to complete 26 sessions of anger management and 10 parenting classes, according to TMZ.
On Thursday, Fisher appeared on FOX Sports 1’s “Fair Game with Kristine Leahy” and opened up about the infamous incident with Barnes.
“I viewed it as Matt and I played together for one season,” Fisher said. “It was five years prior to when Gloria and I started having a conversation, after we both had filed for divorce and had gone through the divorce process. I didn’t view it as a code [or] unwritten code thing. I don’t view life in that way. It either is or it isn’t… I just think people, they got excited about it because it was something that maybe had not happened before in the NBA that we know of.”
“Whether or not people had or have an issue with it, I’m at a place where that’s not my concern anymore,” he continued. “I’m not concerned about what people think about who I’m dating, who I love, who I’m engaged to. That’s not their life, that’s mine.”
Fisher also said that he and Barnes have a “respectful” relationship now because they are both in each other’s kids’ lives.
“The issue was never mine or Gloria’s, it was more his,” he said. “It’s also important not to, like the role that I play in Matt and Gloria’s children’s lives, it does them no good and it does my children no good to come on TV and go back and forth about him or what he said about me or whether that’s true or not and try to get into this tit for tat thing.”
He added: “I’m too grown for that, and those kids don’t deserve that.”