Brigitte Nielsen and Flavor Flav
Nobody else can figure out what they're talking about, but Strange Love stars Brigitte Nielsen and Flavor Flav understand each other perfectly.
Thu Jan 13 2005
Photo: Gabe Palacio/Getty Images/VH1
The relationship that's stranger than fiction is about to get even more bizarre. Having formed an unlikely alliance on VH1's has-been-celeb reality show, The Surreal Life, William Drayton, a.k.a. Flavor Flav, hip-hop's clock-wearing goofball, and Brigitte Nielsen, best known as the towering blond Dane who was married to Sylvester Stallone, now take their on-camera canoodling to new heights in a spin-off series called Strange Love.
The relationship that's stranger than fiction is about to get even more bizarre. Having formed an unlikely alliance on VH1's has-been-celeb reality show, The Surreal Life, William Drayton, a.k.a. Flavor Flav, hip-hop's clock-wearing goofball, and Brigitte Nielsen, best known as the towering blond Dane who was married to Sylvester Stallone, now take their on-camera canoodling to new heights in a spin-off series called Strange Love. Though both claim their romance is genuine (despite Nielsen having a Milan-based live-in fianc), we were unable to catch the lovebirds in the same place at the same time. TONY tracked down Nielsen, 41, in Milan, where she's home with her dog, bird and sons, fielding a spate of reality-TV offers, and we phoned Flav, 45, in L.A., where he's busy recording an LP with Public Enemy and working on a new solo single. We found that while the attention-loving pair remain slightly wacky over the phone, they're far mellower than when preening on the tube.
I guess we should start with the fact that you two are such an odd couple—what do you see in each other?
Flavor Flav: Connecting with Brigitte Nielsen...she's a very sweet person, she's down-to-earth and honest. She don't hold back nothing. That lady is real, okay?
Brigitte Nielsen: Foofy-Foofy—that's what I call him, by the way—and I are a contrast which is very complicated and probably very difficult to understand. He's so misunderstood. The Public Enemy thing is cool, and I told him that's when you're Flavor Flav—be onstage, do your thing. But to me, he's William Drayton and Foofy-Foofy. I guess that also opened up something in him that he has not touched for a long, long time—being William. It's not easy, and I understand that. But when we are together, just the two of us, it's really cool. He's just an extremely vulnerable, loving, dear person who is in need of a lot of attention, real care and love.
But it must have taken a little time to figure this out, right?
Nielsen: Yes, and I found out you have to let Foofy be who he is, you know? I wouldn't want to change him, even when I smacked him in the face and he got really mad at me. He goes, "You fuckin' bitch, no one fuckin' touches my face."
Flav: The thing that attracted me to her, honestly, was my intimidation. I was kinda scared of the lady, at first. Come on, man, this lady is six feet two inches, and I'm five seven. She don't know me, and she smacks me in the face. I'm like, Don't try to beat her up right now, Flav,' cause if you do, she might do something to you on national TV. Next thing you know, [the songs I did with Public Enemy such as] "Fight the Power," "Rebel Without a Pause," "911 Is a Joke," all of that down the drain, because of one punch by a lady. But now the relationship is straight. You know, I'm black, she's white, she's tall and I'm short, but in the bed we're the same size.
Okay...so, what's the new show about?
Flav: Brig and I, we're a lot alike, but our lifestyles and customs are different. I go over to Italy and learn Italian. You'll see Flavor Flav take waltzing lessons for a ball, and Brig got a pair of silver teeth in New York. I even took her to church.
Nielsen: It's a beautiful trip. It's about being with the same person and living every moment with them whether it's good or bad, up, down, exciting and nonexciting.
And then you finish the ride in Vegas. Do you get married? It looks that way in the previews.
Flav: We finished it out there, and I can't tell y'all what the ending is about, but wooo!
You both have kids [Nielsen has four, Flav has six]. What did they think of some of the more risqu behavior—like when things got steamy in the hot tub—on The Surreal Life?
Nielsen: They have a great laugh and go, "Mom, you're so cool."
Flav: My kids, man, my oldest three, right now I don't know how they feel—their feelings is mixed up in the air type stuff. But my youngest three, man, oh boy, they love what their daddy is doing on TV.
Really? Even when Brigitte strips off her clothes and you're with a naked lady on TV?
Flav: But see, they know it wasn't Daddy that took her clothes off. And one thing that I did teach my kids: Daddy cannot control someone else's actions for them.
So what happens next in your careers?
Nielsen: Oh my God, I don't know if I can say this....
Brigitte, are you pregnant?
Nielsen: No. I might look that way. [Laughs] Not yet, but that doesn't mean that I won't be. In two weeks, I'm off—and I'm so scared, oh my God—I'm off to do Big Brother in London.
Another reality show? You're crazy.
Nielsen: I'm not fucking crazy. There's people calling me from everywhere.
Flav, do you want to do more reality TV or try to break into film?
Flav: I want to do a talk show. I want to do a movie, Lifestyles of the Rich and Flav. Flavor Flav wants Richie Rich type stuff—I'm telling you, chief, I want you to be able to come to my crib and flip the light switch and a turkey dinner comes out the walls. I want to fly from New York to L.A. with a jet backpack on. I want to make a movie with the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car. My sense of imagination is out of this world.