Hollywood has certainly had its share of lovably-offbeat couples, but certainly among its most successful has been Ice-T and Coco Austin. The rapper whose real name is Tracy Marrow and the model named Nicole Natalie Austin got married in 2005 after meeting on a video set earlier that year (via the New York Daily News). And even though they’re over 20 years apart in age, they still seem oddly perfect together every time we see them on TV.
Much of that perception came from the three seasons they co-starred on Ice Loves Coco, an E! network original that ran from 2011 to 2013. It gave us an inside look at this unusual pair, and why they’ve succeeded when so many celebrity couples have failed.
However, the cameras only told us so much. So what is it, really, that makes Ice-T and Coco such an enviable couple? And what might we learn from them that could help in our own relationships? Here’s a look at their story, and the secrets to their success.
Ice-T and Coco Austin met on the set of a music video
Lest we ever accuse Ice-T of being completely shallow, he admitted in an interview with Daily Mail that the first thing he noticed when he met his future wife, Coco Austin, wasn’t her most obvious body part. He said it was her teeth. “And then I saw her boobs,” he added. “And then when she turned around, that big butt.” Ah, yes, that’s the Ice-T we know.
The meeting happened on the set of a music video being filmed by one of Ice-T’s friends, and as he recounted to Howard Stern, he’d been feeling grumpy that day. So his friends sent Coco over to try and cheer him up; the two struck up a conversation, and Ice-T asked Coco if she’d ever considered dating a gangster rapper. “If he’s nice,” she responded. To which the hip hop wordsmith replied, “Well, baby, you take the ‘n’ off ‘nice’ and you get ‘Ice.'”
Interestingly, meeting on set runs in Coco’s family. According to a HuffPost story, her parents also met while filming, this time on the set of the TV western Bonanza.
Ice-T and Coco Austin's home life is surprisingly low drama
Homes that host reality television shows are supposed to be filled with drama, even when the cameras aren’t rolling. For example, a quick look at the off-screen exploits of the Gypsy Sisters or a cursory glance at any headline including the word “Kardashian” is plenty proof of that. But surprisingly, the folks we welcomed into our living rooms as part of Ice Loves Coco really don’t provide many sparks during their daily lives. “They thought I’d be burying bodies in the back garden and Coco would be off stripping at birthday parties,” Ice-T told the Daily Mail. “But we’re a normal couple with a normal relationship.”
Their daily lives were so mundane, actually, Ice-T thought they wouldn’t make for good television. The Daily Mail quotes Ice-T as saying because the couple didn’t fight, and never produced much drama, the show would be boring. But it took off, and three seasons later they both added “reality TV star” to their already-impressive resumes.
Ice-T was inspired to marry Coco Austin by a very unusual person
As a young playa bred in South Central, Ice-T didn’t immediately seem like the “settle down and make a TV show” type. But when the man who literally had a hit song called “Sex” reached his early 40s, he was apparently ready to settle. “I was in a point in my life when I was ready to slow down,” he told the Daily Mail. “I wanted a partner.”
And though Coco Austin’s kind demeanor and bubbly personality certainly helped the couple’s cause, it was none other than the Prince of Darkness who truly inspired Ice-T to tie the knot. “I was studying Sharon Osbourne at the time,” he told Howard Stern, wondering, “Would Ozzy have a house if it wasn’t for Sharon?”
Two months later, Ice-T and Coco were married, but the Osbournes’ inspiration didn’t stop there. As Ice-T and Coco revealed to People, they likened themselves after Sharon and Ozzy Osborne. “I model myself after [Sharon],” Coco said. “You know she has a crazy husband that’s totally off the wall, and she just sticks by him no matter what — that’s me too.”
Ice-T Made Coco Austin more comfortable with her body
Though Coco Austin has become known for her…gifted backside, she wasn’t always comfortable being so well-endowed. In an interview with the Daily Mail, she revealed that her grandmother put her in girdles as early as 9 years old, and her family used to call her “The Crystal Ball” as they claimed they could see the future in her behind. It continued into Coco’s career in the modeling world, where directors constantly told her she needed to lose weight, even driving her to a brief bout with bulimia. She also got breast implants at 18, in an effort to even out her curves.
This changed when she met Ice-T, however, who made her feel more comfortable with her body. “My husband really turned it around,” she told the English paper. “He said: ‘You have a uniqueness to you, why change it?'”
For his part, Ice-T says he told Coco that the relative fashion of women’s bodies went in phases, citing the Victorian era when women would wear bustles to emphasize their backsides. “At some point some man said that the skinny shape was in…But Coco didn’t need to change anything,” he said.
Ice-T and Coco Austin rarely spend time apart
Fun fact: Jennifer Lopez initially turned down Hustlers so she could spend more time with her man, A-Rod, and her kids (via Variety). Almost along the same lines, Coco Austin turned down a movie role to spend more time with a hustler, albeit of the New Jack variety. As we saw in an episode of Ice Loves Coco, the voluptuous model declined a film role because it would have taken her away from the former Body Count frontman for too long (via HuffPost). That may seem odd if you’re used to hearing about celebrity couples who cite time apart as the secret to their success. But it’s not the least bit strange if you know much about Ice-T and Coco.
In a 2012 interview with the Daily Mail, Ice-T and Coco said they’d never been apart for more than a day, and the same story repeated in an episode of Ice Loves Coco during which she leaves for Arizona. It noted Ice-T looked particularly “forlorn,” which might explain why taking a long-term film job wasn’t such an obvious choice for her.
Ice-T and Coco Austin hosted a brief, bizarre daytime talk show
Ice Loves Coco wasn’t the only TV show Ice-T and Coco Austin starred in. In 2015, the couple also starred in a talk show called Ice & Coco, which the couple promised during a promotional interview with People would delve even further into their home lives while offering a free-wheeling, rock and roll addition to the typical daytime lineup.
Ice-T and Coco started the show off with a bang, announcing during their opening monologues that Coco was pregnant with their first child. And where, exactly, does an SVU star and his model wife go after starting with that kind of sensation? The Washington Post chronicled the debut in one of the greatest pieces of daytime TV criticism ever written, recounting how the hosts launched into “Wikipedia-like explanations of their lives” while their pet bulldogs ran around the set. That was followed by parenting advice from Snooki, an antique-pricing segment called “The Ice is Right,” and a dog fashion show where Coco lamented the difficulty in dressing a bulldog.
While irreverent, the show didn’t last long, airing only three episodes in August of 2015.
Coco Austin convinced Ice-T to do Ice Loves Coco
If you’ve been married, or even in a relationship, you know it’s not at all uncommon for one spouse to convince the other to try something new. Now, typically that “something new” doesn’t involve inviting a camera crew into your house and broadcasting it to millions of people, but if it did you might be well-served to listen to the voice of change. This, at least, was the case for Ice-T, who initially was hesitant to produce Ice Loves Coco. “I’ve been offered this kind of [reality] show for a few years and I didn’t really want to do it,” Ice-T told the Daily Mail, “because I didn’t want to ruin our relationship.”
But Coco saw it differently. “I was getting sick of hearing the negative stuff about me,” she explained. “I wanted them to see the other side — my family side, my wifey side.” Coco ultimately talked Ice-T into filming a pilot for the show, and lo and behold Ice-T was into it. As he told People, “As long as we don’t have to be mean and do dumb stuff, we’ll do it!”
Ice-T and Coco Austin have one daughter together
Bartenders take note: if you’re thinking of a reality-TV inspired drink that mixes iced tea and cocoa, we’ve already got your name: Chanel. It’ll be a pretty clever pop culture reference since that is, in fact, the name of Ice-T and Coco Austin’s daughter, who was born November 28, 2015 (via Life & Style). The couple not only announced Coco’s pregnancy during the premiere of their short-lived talk show, they also haven’t been shy about having her in the public eye.
Additionally, in March of 2020, Coco posted a picture of the almost-4-year-old Chanel breastfeeding on Instagram, promising to share the story of “what it’s like to continue book time with a 4 year old.” While it’s certainly a highly personal decision to nurse at that age, that didn’t stop a deluge of comments and criticisms from flooding the internet, according to TMZ.
Of course, Ice-T and Coco are also incredibly doting parents, as Coco admitted to Entertainment Tonight that she enjoys dressing Chanel up in matching outfits. Ice-T told the same outlet that Chanel, “has complete control over me, I can’t lie.”
Their secret to Ice-T and Coco Austin's marriage: great communication
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a guy who made his mark writing rap lyrics and a model who carried a reality TV show would value communication. But as with so many couples, it’s also very much the secret to their success. Ice-T and Coco Austin have been married since 2005 (via the New York Daily News) and weathered TV stardom, parenthood and, other pitfalls. But, as the couple revealed to Celebuzz, it all comes down to being on the same team. “We have great communication and I think that you gotta stay on the same team,” Ice-T shared when asked the couple’s secret. “A lot of time…both people have careers and they kind of create two teams that potentially work against each other, you gotta stay on the same team.”
Ice-T went on to say that breaking up was “not part of the plan,” and detailed that he and Coco don’t fight or raise their voices at each other. It’s important, he said, to show people that conflict can be dealt with in a functional way, as opposed to the usual reality TV dysfunction.
Ice-T and Coco Austin also have a great life in the bedroom
Similarly, no one should be surprised that a man who once started a song with “Sex in the morning, sex at night, sex in the afternoon’s alright,” would have a high sex drive. Nor should it shock anyone he’d find it satiated by a full-figured yet smart-and-savvy model, who may have “flung around on a stripper pole a while back,” as Ice-T told Celebuzz. But how, exactly, do they do it?
During an appearance on What Watch Happens Live, Ice-T and Coco told Andy Cohen she’s totally submissive to the Law & Order: SVU star. “I think all women should do it,” she said to the Bravo! host. “I’m a slave to him.”
Ice-T also dished on the couple’s intimate life during an interview with Howard Stern, crediting much of their longevity to “jungle sex.” It’s a term, he said, he learned from a frisky elderly couple he saw on TV, meaning “taking a little bit further, just having a little fun with the buildup.”
Coco Austin is obsessively clean, and when she gets mad, she cleans
We all have that family member who every time you go over to their house, they can’t relax if one glass is sitting off a coaster, and won’t even say hello until your coat is placed on the correct hanger. Coco Austin, apparently, falls into the same category of obsessively clean, as Ice-T revealed during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live. “Coco is also OCD,” he told host Andy Cohen. “So when she gets mad she cleans.”
We can only guess, then, that Coco must have been in a delightful mood on this particular afternoon in 2017. Because instead of furiously cleaning… whatever it was from a sidewalk in front of her and her daughter, she had a man with a portable vacuum cleaner sucking it up on the street in front of her. We’re not sure if it was a publicity stunt, or some real, live, next-level “OCD” ish, but either way it certainly made plenty of people stop and capture whatever the heck it was that was going on.
Ice-T and Coco Austin threw a star-studded vow renewal in 2011
Ice-T and Coco Austin were married only a few months after first meeting on a music video set, according to the Daily Mail. But that, of course, was long before they were a full-fledged A-List couple. So in 2011, a more-befitting, star-studded vow renewal was in order, held at the swanky W hotel in Hollywood. The roster of guests included, according to the New York Daily News, Snoop Dogg, Flava Flav, and Tila Tequila — who was still famous at the time.
Snoop gave a touching speech, expressing his emotional sentiments in an impromptu freestyle, saying, “I’m so happy you’re doing your thing in a big way, especially in the city of L.A.” (via US Magazine). Ice-T’s son also took the mic, telling his step-mother he loved her and bringing her to tears. No report on whether his speech rhymed.
The vow renewal ceremony was filmed as part filming for Ice Loves Coco TV, but we can deduce from Ice-T’s comments it was done for love as much as TV. “The curtain drops, the crowd gives us great applause and we were feeling the love right there,” he gushed.
Coco Austin and Ice-T don't coordinate costumes for Halloween
You know how people who regularly stay out until 5 a.m. on a Tuesday often take New Year’s Eve as a chance to stay home and chill? That’s kinda how Coco Austin and Ice-T look at Halloween, as the couple known for their outlandish matching outfits leave the cute couples costumes to the amateurs on October 31. “This is the one holiday we don’t really like coordinating because we do it year-round,” Coco told InTouch. “And everybody else, couple wise, try to coordinate on this particular holiday.”
Make no mistake, Coco clarified that they both still dress up, they just don’t talk about it ahead of time and have heavily coordinated outfits. She was also clear to denote the difference between matching and coordinating, in case you were wondering. “Matching is like you’re on point with every single color, coordination is still in the vibe of each other without having to be too matchy match,” she added.
Ice-T stands up for his wife Coco Austin every time
Perhaps nothing is more important in a relationship than the knowledge that your partner has your back. And in Coco Austin’s case, she’s well aware that Ice-T will always be her first supporter, as he’s publicly stood up for her time and again. When Coco showed off her new braided hairstyle on Instagram, many people took offense. BET accused her of culturally appropriating a Black hairstyle, citing one commenter who called the look “Lemonade braids” after Beyoncé’s similar do. But Ice-T was quick to stand up for his wife, responding on Twitter, “Wrong for what? Braiding her hair?? You sound Dumb.”
The Cop-Killer-singer-turned-TV-cop also defended his wife when some on Instagram took issue with her breastfeeding Chanel when the child was nearly 4 years old. After the story broke, Ice-T was asked by reporters outside the Paley Center in New York for his thoughts on the suckling scandal. His response, as captured by TMZ, was vintage Ice-T, explaining that Chanel only breastfed when she wanted to feel close to her mom, and telling the crowd, “My baby eats f***ing cheeseburgers.”
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