There’s a new couple in town, and they’re appearing on VH1’s hit reality television show, Couples Retreat. VH1 recently announced the newest lineup of couples to appear in season 2 which premieres on Monday, May 16th. Fans of the show can now watch Ronnie Devoe and his wife Shamari Devoe as they navigate the highs and lows of their famous relationship. They are one of three couples who will join the show including  Claudia Jordan and boyfriend KJ, and Nick Young and his fiance, Keonna.

During the show, the couples will face unique challenges that affect their relationships. With the help of some professional life coaches and relationship experts, the couples will be able to air out their grievances with one another with the goal of leaving a much stronger team than when they walked in. 

Many fans are especially excited to see singer, rapper, and actor Ronnie Devoe among the cast. He charmed fans with his soulful voice and sultry dance moves in the popular musical group, New Edition. After the band’s infamous breakup in 1990, he joined with band members Ricky Bell and Michael Bivins to form Bell Biv DeVoe.” Their hit song “Poison” would go down as a classic song in the Black community that’s still played today.

But as the saying goes, “Behind every successful man, there is a strong woman.” In this case, that strong woman is Shamari Fears, Ronnie Devoe’s wife of over 15 years. Many fans recognize her as the fun-loving spitfire on season 11’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Now, she’s revealing her more vulnerable side on VH1’s Couples Retreat. To prepare for what to expect from her on the show, here’s a list of things to know about Shamari Devoe:

1. She’s musically talented

Shamari Devoe is no stranger to the music industry. Aside from being the wife of Ronnie Devoe, she has a musical background of her own. Early in her career, she joined the R&B girl group Blaque. It was then that she learned much about the industry from Lisa Lopes, of the popular musical trio TLC. Lopes’ mentorship of her and the other members of the group proved helpful because their debut album sold 1.5 million copies, certifying it as platinum. As a result, the group was ranked number 4 in 1999’s “Best New Artist” category by Billboard.

Since then, she’s pivoted her musical talents to include her husband. The couple formed a duo called Me & Mari. They eventually released their first single “Love Comes Through” in 2018.

2. She almost lost her twin boys

Like many other Black mothers, Shamari Devoe endured a particularly difficult pregnancy and birthing process. She spoke candidly about her experience in an interview with HelloBeautiful.

She says that during her doctor’s visit she asked medical staff to inspect her cervix as she felt something was wrong. The doctor refused, initially believing that she was fine. After pressuring him to check, he relented only to find that her cervix was tearing open. At that point, she was directed to remain at the hospital for the duration of her pregnancy for continuous monitoring.

As a result of her complications, the possibility of miscarriage grew. Under constant supervision, Devoe stayed on bed rest for the remaining two and a half months. Eventually, she gave birth to two twin boys, Ronald and Roman. Regarding how she endured the lengthy hospital stay, she says, “Some days it felt like the walls were closing in, but I have a supportive family.”

3. Her relationship is often scrutinized

After announcing that they used to have an open relationship, Ronnie and Shamari Devoe’s marriage made headlines. Many fans took to social media to show their support, while others expressed disdain.

Since then, Shamari advises other couples to do what she says, not what she does. In her interview with Bravo, she explains the hardships that she and her husband faced during that time. “It’s not that I have any regrets, but more so, I take it as a lesson learned.” She says, later adding “We went through a lot of heartache and pain, but we stayed committed to working it out and were able to overcome our challenges and use our story as our testimony.

4. She's a marriage ambassador

Although the Devoes have endured plenty of speculation surrounding their relationship, Shamari Devoe is confident in her marriage… so much so, that she is a marriage ambassador for Married 4 Life, a non-profit organization that helps couples build and maintain a strong marriage. In an interview with Bravo she says, “I’m a strong advocate of communication and honesty in relationships and extremely passionate about families staying together.”

The couple joined husband and wife team and founders of the organization Martez and Woodrina Layton to reduce divorce rates by encouraging healthier marriages. As ambassadors, the Devoes co-host the annual Married 4 Life Walk. During the two-mile walk, couples from all over “walk in unity” while they have the chance to meet and shares ideas with other couples.

The couple also plans to release an inspirational guide to marriage, including how they achieved their perfect balance in their relationships.

5. She's about her education

Shamari Devoe is very open on social media about her pride in her education and accomplishments. Fans of Shamari Devoe are likely privy to the fact that she went to the same high school as Real Housewives star, Porsha Williams. And although they didn’t really hang out, they were even on the same drill team together.

Fast forward years later, Devoe graduated from Georgia State University with a degree in sociology. While attending, she joined Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first intercollegiate African American sorority in history. And just because she’s a celebrity now doesn’t mean that she’s forgotten her roots. In an Instagram post, she shows her school pride and shouts out her AKA sisters on Founders’ Day.