Boris Kodjoe is still head over heels for wife Nicole Ari Parker, 17 years later: 'She's my person'

·6-min read

Welcome to So Mini Ways, Yahoo Life's parenting series on the joys and challenges of child-rearing.

Despite entertainment careers spanning over two decades and a meet-cute straight out of a Hollywood movie, Nicole Ari Parker and Boris Kodjoe are just proud parents.

"We love talking about our kids. Should we brag now? Should we just start bragging?" they tell Yahoo Life before singing the praises of their children, 17-year-old Sophie and 15-year-old Nicolas.

"Nicolas is an athlete, he's a basketball player. Sophie is talented in so many places, science, math, she also likes to paint," Parker says of her two children, noting that Sophie will be deciding what college to go to very soon.

"This is the year for her to apply to schools. She knows how to take care of herself, she is confident," Parker explains, before cheekily admittedly that some things do come easier than others to the 17-year-old. "We're still working on making the bed, but she really knows about life and self-care and resilience."

Sophie was born with spina bifida, which affects the formation of the spinal cord.

In 2008, the star couple founded Sophie's Voice Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness and increasing research efforts for spina bifida. However, in 2019, the foundation's name was changed to the Kodjoe Family Foundation after their daughter spoke out about not wanting to be defined by her condition.

"It really brought the two of us together to make sure that she could really maximize her potential, but you know, that's what it takes for a dynamic duo for us to do that," Kodjoe says of the complexities that came with the diagnosis.

"Yes, it kicked parenting and marriage up a notch," echoes Parker.

The two seem to be able to tackle anything. They met while filming for Showtime's Soul Food in the early 2000s and their first-ever kiss was actually on set. Kodjoe and Parker married in 2005 and have been inseparable since, solidifying their place in couple and career goal history with two wonderful kids to show for it.

Nicole Ari Parker and Boris Kodjoe first met on set.(Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)
Nicole Ari Parker and Boris Kodjoe first met on set. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

Having superstar parents comes with its own set of challenges and expected benefits, but one thing the Parker-Kodjoe kids are in no shortness of is individuality.

"It's fun to see that. They have their own distinct personalities and perspectives and ideas and opinions that they bring to the table. So it's a combination of teaching them but also just watching," says Kodjoe.

While they are undoubtedly their own people, their parents have had a tangible influence on the way their kids navigate life, which fills their parents with unbridled pride.

"I think one of the most beautiful things is some of these things that we've taught them, we've told them about, and we try to expose them to now that they're out there in the world, looking for those things on their own and being interested and asking questions and being curious. That's just absolutely amazing to watch that," says Kodjoe.

The two have nearly 3 million Instagram followers between them and are known to showcase their lasting love via virtual PDA.

But alas, even the internet's favorite couple is not immune from embarrassing their teenage children.

"Kids keep it very real very quickly," says Parker, adding that their kid's judgment extends beyond just their parent's social media posts.

"They scrutinize us and they tell us what to wear and what not to wear, especially Sophie," says Kodjoe.

"She monitors our Instagram. She's like, 'Stop it,'" adds Parker.

It's not uncommon for teens to double as in-house social media managers for their parents, but the couple agrees it has been an interesting transition.

"The parent-kid dynamic is kind of turning on its head right now," says Kodjoe.

Beyond unsolicited but helpful social media insights as well as academic and athletic achievements, their mother is beyond proud of the kindness her kids display on a regular basis.

"One of the things that I love about Sophie and Nicholas and I want to take credit for it, but, you know, God did that really. I just feel like they're really kind people," she says.

"You did that. God put them in your arms but you taught and showed them kindness," Kodjoe tells his wife.

As kind as they are, there are still a few non-negotiables in the Parker-Kodjoe residence.

"I think for me, I'm all the basics. Just, you know, no disrespect, no, you know, always telling the truth, clear your plate, courage, focus," Parker says, adding that phones are still a work in progress for the family. "I think that looking up and putting the phone down is what I'm focused on right now."

In terms of parenting styles, they don't always follow the traditional good cop, bad cop trope.

"He is totally what you think he is, the big African king father in the house, like silent, but deadly. Like one word lay down the law, everybody listens. We hear his car pulling up. Daddy's home," Parker explains of her husband's firm but fair parenting style. "You get everything done with like the minimal amount of words. I am the whirling dervish. 'How can you guys leave your room like this?'"

The two share a lot of their lives on social media, much to the enthusiasm of their supporters, but know when to draw the line on what is and isn't for the public.

"There is intimacy and depth that we protect ferociously; that's ours and then there's things that we share. We're not experts. It's trial by error," says Kodjoe. "She's my person. So no matter what, I'm going to fight for this one, 'til the very end."

The two have cute moments a plenty but are not afraid to get candid about the messier side of family life, like who in the family is the messiest.

"She's messier than me," Kodjoe says of his wife's at-home habits.

Still, Parker maintains she is not the messiest of the bunch.

"I might be messier than him, but I'm not the messiest person in our home, I think our daughter might be," says Parker.

Regardless of who makes the messes, the family of four is covered thanks to Microban and Bounty.

The couple has partnered with Microban 24 and Bounty to ensure all of their surfaces are clean and germ-free, an essential as Sophie gears up to go to college.

"With Bounty and Microban 24, we use that for our entryway, our door knobs, our handrails, our surface — it just makes us feel a little bit better," says Kodjoe.

—Video produced by Olivia Schneider.

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