Keven: No More Mr. Shy Guy!


In the past 15 years that I've been with Maria, I've gone to great lengths to remain in the shadows and to not be photographed. I rarely attend Hollywood events and when I do, Maria walks the red carpet while I walk behind it and scurry inside. Maria's an extrovert and I'm an introvert. It's one of the reasons I think we work as a couple. I get my energy being in the support position: coaching, guiding and creating for Maria and our company; or even just taking care of her, our house, mom and dad and the babies (our five dogs). My main job has always been to eliminate as many of Maria's daily worries as possible so she can do what she does best: host, act, produce etc. And I love and am proud of every bit of it: from cleaning up dog poop to creating AfterBuzz TV. The spotlight makes me uncomfortable. Maria has always respected that (one of the many reasons I love her) and has done her best to help me avoid it.

Everything changed, however, when Maria appeared on the Howard Stern Show.

I came with her the morning of Howard because we happened to have a business meeting next door. During Maria's interview, I was in the waiting room, working on my laptop with my head down when Executive Producer Gary D'ell Abate popped his head in. “Hey, YOU'RE the want to come in and talk to Howard?” I froze. For 15 years, I've been saying 'no thank you' to such inquiries, but this one involved my boyhood idol, Howard Stern. If I had to be introduced to the universe, why not through the King of All Media? After a long pause and a very deep breath, I obliged. For better or worse, people knew about me and my relationship with Maria. And from all the subsequent interest from production companies wanting to build a reality show around us, it seemed people wanted to know more.

In getting to know more, you'll discover that Maria and I don't just live together – we live together with her parents. Most people hear that and say “poor you.” But they don't know Maria's parents, Litsa and Costas: Litsa is a gourmet chef who cooks around the clock and Costas makes it so I never have to turn a screwdriver in the house again -- though he and I have our share of laughs when we do projects together. They also advise me on EVERYTHING in my life. My father has been dead for nearly 20 years and my mom is 2,500 miles away. I honestly don't know how we would have our level of success (or sanity) these years without them. And just like my parents, they'll help anyone and everyone in need: family, friend or stranger. Everyone at our network, AfterBuzz TV, adores them. Plus, they are Yayai and Papu (Greek for Grandma and Grandpa) to the babies (the dogs) and are totally devoted to them, too. Show business is as cruel and rough as you read about. Having them here and is literally a godsend.

If Maria's parents and the five dogs don't make a house full enough, we have my best friend Joe living with us, too. At 250 pounds, Joe is probably the toughest street fighter I've ever met. Yet, “Uncle Joey” handles our little dogs like infants, kissing them and cradling them every morning. When people ask why he lives with us, Maria always recounts a story from 13 years ago. Maria and I were living in a tiny apartment in a tough part of L.A. when our car got vandalized by one of the neighbors. Maria called Joe who was living in Boston at the time. Literally less than eight hours after that call, to our surprise, Joe was in LA at the door step of that very neighbor. They don't call it Boston Strong for nothing. Joe's been watching over our safety, and especially Maria's, all these years. There are times he and I butt heads and times he and Maria butt heads. More often it's Maria and I butting heads and Joe having to play mediator. But most often it's Joe and Maria teaming to make fun of me and having laughs at my expense. Luckily, Kosta and Litsa always back me up. On that note, they almost always back me over Maria!

When it comes to getting married and having kids, we are all split. Costas has been waiting 15 years and isn't afraid to do battle with Maria to get us to do both. Maria and Costas are very much alike: independent and strong willed. Seeing them go at it is all you really need for a show! I'm sure Litsa would like a wedding and babies but I think she just wants us to be happy. And me? You’ll have to find out on the show! 

So that's a little bit more about me, the family and how all this came to be. I still have mixed feelings about appearing on the show. I honestly wish I could just produce it as I'm so proud of Maria and want to share her story with viewers. She is aspirational proof you can have success by being honest, compassionate, kind, ethical and hard working. Where Maria is really just a good kid, some celebrities and executives in Hollywood aren't so much. There are many here who are ruthless, cutthroat, back-stabbing and narcissistic. Despite that, Maria has been surviving and thriving on a daily basis for over a decade.

To be a young female enduring career pressures in the world's most competitive industry while loving and supporting your family the way Maria does, has me in awe to this day. Despite the struggles and all the pressure (and they are constant) Maria remains the sweet Greek girl with the big smile I met 16 years ago. 

Watch a wideo interview with Keven!

Read more about: Keven Undergaro Maria Menounos

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