When talking about Tameka Cottle, most people today would either think about the popular ‘90s group Xscape, while others would be surprised about the bright colors of her eyes. Was she born with light gray eyes? And who is her famous husband?
Early life and Education
Tameka Diane “Tiny” Cottle came to world on 14 July 1975, in College Park, Georgia USA. She grew up in Jonesboro, Georgia, with her mother of European descent, Dianne Cottle, and her father of African-American descent, Charles “Speedy” Pope, who together with his brother, Joseph, was one of the creators of the R&B band The Tams. Cottle gained her nickname “Tiny” while in Tri-Cities Performing Arts High School in East Point, Georgia, because of her short height. It was there that she made the choice to join the R&B all-female quartet Xscape in 1992.
She’d recorded her first commercial at the age of 12 and for a while she wanted to pursue an acting career, before she turned to music, thanks to her father suggestions.
Not too long after its founding, Cottle’s band was performing at a birthday ceremony for producer Jermaine Dupri’s party, and Dupri was fascinated by the sound of the group. He signed the girls to So So Def Recordings, his newly opened record label, almost the same day.
The group’s debut album, “Hummin’ Commin’ at ‘Cha”, was released in 1993, and certified Platinum in the next year, and with it came some of their biggest hits, including “Understanding” and “Just Kickin’ It”. It was followed by their second and third platinum albums, “The Hook” and “Traces of My Lipstick”. Cottle was the lead vocal on several of Xscape’s hit singles, such as the mentioned “Understanding”, as well as “All I Need”, “My Little Secret” and “Am I Dreaming”.
She also won two Soul Train Music Awards, one in the Best New R&B Artist category, and the second for Best R&B Album. While a member of Xscape, she also won the A-Town Music Award for Best Duo/Group. However, despite their prominent success, after they released their third album in 1998 the band fell apart, and the girls parted ways.
Career after the ‘00s
Cottle, together with her former Xscape band member Kandi Burruss, was honored with a Grammy Award for Best R&B song in 2000, TLC’s “No Scrubs”. Cottle also won the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers award in the Pop and R&B music category for that same song. Her accomplishments for the Sporty Thievz hit song “No Pigeons” brought her the ASCAP Rap Award. During the same time period, she had also collaborated with 8Ball & MJG, Bow Wow, Lil’ Kim and her future husband T.I. In 2005, Xscape former members LaTocha and Tamika Scott announced their reunion with Cottle, to release the band’s fourth album, “Unchained”.
They were joined by a newly added member, Kiesha Miles, and released a new single entitled “What’s Up”. However the record label failed to promote the album, and the band was dismantled once again. Despite this, Cottle stayed in a good relationship with Kiesha Miles, and together they’ve created a teen group under the name “OMG Girlz”.
In 2009, Cottle, together with ex-wife of rapper Lil Wayne, Antonia “Toya” Wright, starred in BET’s reality TV series “Tiny and Toya”, which ended after its second season in 2010. Cottle created her own label – Pretty Hustle – in 2014, and on 22nd July released her first solo track “What the Fuck You Gon Do?” that quickly reached top spot on the Soul/R&B Charts on iTunes. She was also one of the writers of Ed Sheeran’s hit single “Shape of You”. Cottle once again joined the original Xscape group members in 2017, for their first performance in 18 years at the BET Awards.
A few months after that, Xscape was signed to their own record label, XSCAP3 Entertainment, and in 2018 released their EP called “Here for It”.
Relationship with Zeboe
In 1992, Cottle was in a long term relationship with musician Zonnie “Zeboe” Pullins, and on 20th March 1996 gave birth to their daughter Zonnique Pullins. The couple separated two years later in 1998, after Zeboe ended up in prison. Zonnique was also one of the members of Cottle’s teenage girl band OMG Girlz that was act,ive from 2009 to 2015.
In 2000, Cottle started dating rapper T.I. On 25th August 2004 they had their first child, King Harris, and in 2007, after six months of a complicated pregnancy, Cottle gave birth to a stillborn daughter, Leyah Amore Harris. Their second son, Major Philant Harris, was born on 16th May 2008.
Two years later, on 30th July 2010, the duo finally tied the knot, and on 26th March 2016 the couple welcomed their daughter, Heiress Diana Harris. However, by the end of that same year Cottle had filed for divorce, but several months later she dropped the divorce file, and according to several, the couple is happier than ever, and ss of the beginning of 2020, they are still married.
The Family Hustle
In late 2011, Cottle and her husband premiered their own VH1 reality series called “T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle”. The show ran for six seasons, ending in May 2017 due to the couple’s temporary separation.
Cottle was very close with her father before his passing in 2013. She had stated multiple times that he was the one responsible for her singing career, and that he always pushed her forward. In her own words, ‘(…) he did not let me rest once he found out that I had a little gift.’
Before her relationship with Zeboe and marriage with T.I, Cottle, was dating another famous rapper, Tupac Shakur, who was killed in 1996. Just a few months after their marriage, she and her husband were arrested in September 2010 for driving under substance abuse. The couple was fined $10,000, and the scandal was all over the media for a short period of time. Next to her music and reality TV career, Cottle also had her own line of liquor named “Tiny Tequila”.
Through her husband, she is a step mother to three children named Messiah, Domani and Deyjah that T.I. has from previous relationships. She is very active on Instagram and as of March 2020 she has gained 6.3 million followers.
In 2014, Cottle reached headlines after she went to Africa to have controversial and potentially dangerous surgery in order to change her eye color from brown to gray. “They go into the eye and they make a little slit.
They take an implant and it’s folded up. They open it [and] spread it over your eye,” she told about the procedure during an interview for ABC news. This surgery is illegal in US, and many medical professionals have stated problems with people, mostly celebrities and Instagram models, who travel to third-world countries such as India, as the potential risks are huge and include glaucoma and cataract. The company which did her procedure, BrightOcular, has had their own share of controversies, so many people have openly judged Cottle’s decision.
The outrage only got worse when the next year her daughter Zonnique travelled to Tunisia and had that same eye color changing procedure; however, she had her eye color implants removed in 2018 for unknown reasons. Maybe the stories about people who had their irises damaged got to her and she didn’t want to risk getting eye defects any longer.
Cottle still didn’t express any regrets about her own “new” eyes.
Cottle’s net worth is estimated at around $8 million, gained mostly from her music and reality TV career. Having a rich husband sure helped, and in 2004 the couple bought a house in Los Angeles, California for almost $1.5 million.
Cottle has a short frame, and is only 4ft 11ins (1.50m) tall, and for this she gained her nickname “Tiny”. She always proudly shows her curves and sexy body. Her hair is black, and while her natural eye color is dark brown, she permanently changed them to light gray, and that has become her new signature look.