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April 26, 2017

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'Atlanta Exes' members create own lane to fame, fight gold-digger label

ATLANTA, Georgia -- Torrei Hart's career took a backseat for years to raise two children, allowing her then-husband Kevin Hart to pursue his comedy career.

The two ultimately ended an eight-year marriage with divorce in 2011 after she says infidelity caused the split. By that time, Kevin's career began to soar while Torrei struggled to get her comedy career back on track.

Now, she hopes it's her time to shine. Hart is among a group of exes having yet another moment in the spotlight, thanks to a new phenomenon in reality television shows: spinoffs based solely on the ex-wives and ex-girlfriends of famous folks.

"It's my time to come up," said Torrei Hart, who along with five other women will star on the new reality series, "Atlanta Exes," which premieres Monday night on VH1 with eight episodes planned for the first season. The show delves into the lives of the women who were linked to highly popular men.

It also stars Tameka Raymond (Usher's ex-wife), Monyetta Shaw (Ne-Yo's ex-fiancee), Christina Johnson (Cee-Lo's ex-wife) and Sheree Buchanan (ex-wife of former NFL player Ray Buchanan).

"It's a great platform," Torrei Hart said. "Look what happens to people who do reality TV. I mean, everybody has a goal in life. You can achieve it through reality television."

But Raymond says aiming toward fame is not her ulterior motive.

"It's not coming up on our strife. We're not trying to come up off of our exes," said Raymond, who was married to Grammy-winning singer Usher for two years before they divorced in 2007. "I think the title may scare people. It might make people tense up. Even the title concerned me in the beginning. But I think it's a draw. I think it's very strategic."

Raymond wants to tell her side of the story after a long legal fight with Usher last year. She lost custody of her two sons to the singer a month after 11-year-old son Kile Glover died in a boating accident in 2012.

"There were so many misconceptions of who I am as a person," Raymond said. "Everything from my marriage to how I deal with my children. I figured there's no other way to clear it up, and be my own voice."

The Atlanta version is a spinoff of "Hollywood Exes," which finished its third season in July. Some of the cast members included Nicole Murphy, Jessica Canseco and Mayte Garcia for a show that averaged less than a million viewers. Exes also have been featured in VH1's "Basketball Wives" and various "Real Housewives" franchises on Bravo, among others.

Both the spinoffs and the others offer exes of celebrities an opportunity to tell their stories, promote themselves as entrepreneurs and with the hopes of ridding the conception of being "gold diggers."

On the show, Johnson maintains her interior design company, Shaw pens a children's book, Hart releases her Cherry Limeade-flavored drink mixer called Skimpy and Raymond attempts to bring more recognition to her son's foundation, Kile's World.

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