ICE-T, the father of gangsta rap and star of Law & Order: SVU, can be a prickly guy. Whether he’s talking about his violent past and brush with death, or how he treats people who disrespect his wife — the amplyproportioned Coco — Ice-T makes it pretty clear he has a short fuse.
Coco, a former swimsuit model, serves as an instant reminder of something once said by Jerry Seinfeld. Looking at cleavage, Seinfeld warned, was like looking at the sun: ‘‘ You don’t stare at it because it’s too risky. You get a sense of it, then you look away.’’
Damned good advice when the subject is the wife of a reformed hustler who was raised on the pimp-infested streets of south central Los Angeles.
Ice-T, soon to appear with Coco in the series Ice Loves Coco, has this to say about men who lack manners in the presence of his lady: ‘‘ It’s all about respect and how people treat her.
‘‘ I’m not super-jealous, I like her to look hot when we go out, but every once in a while you run into someone who doesn’t know the rules of respect.
‘‘ It’s usually a college kid or something, because thugs usually know what the ramifications of disrespect are.’’ So what are they? ‘‘ It could be anything. It could be getting punched in the mouth,’’ he says.
Ice-T, who met Coco at a music video shoot in 2004, says it was ‘‘ lust at first sight’’.
When he then learned she loved playing Xbox, he knew he’d found the woman of his dreams.
Ice-T, who was born Tracy Marrow and takes his showbiz name from infamous pimp-turnedwriter Iceberg Slim, is the happily married father of daughter Letesha and son Tracy Jr.
His own childhood was difficult, with both parents dying of heart attacks.
By his teens, Ice-T was heavily involved in gangs. A near-fatal car accident in 1986 had a profound effect on his life.
Asked where he thinks he’d be if not for that turning point, Ice-T says: ‘‘ I’d be dead’’.
He has a deep passion for acting and his role as Detective Odafin ‘‘ Fin’’ Tutuola in Law & Order: SVU.
He’s sad co-star Chris Meloni is leaving the show, but says it’s strong enough to survive without him.
‘‘ We’re going to miss Chris, but I am this week negotiating my contract to go back to work in July,’’ he says.
‘‘ We’ve got a very serious show about rape and molestation and I believe (the show) could go another 20 years.’’
He has such a busy life with acting and music that it can be a challenge ensuring everything stays happy on the homefront.
It’s critical, Ice-T says, to maintain romance in a relationship.
‘‘ It’s such a beautiful thing if we’re in the car and I feel like a soda,’’ he says. ‘‘ We pull in at 7-Eleven, I run in and maybe come out with a nice bunch of flowers. Coco, she’s blown away by that.
‘‘ Hey, it’s the thought that counts.’’
Foxtel’s E! channel will on Tuesday screen the IceT special Ice Loves Coco: Baby Got Backstory. The Ice Loves Coco series premieres on E! on June 28. Unusual pair: Ice-T and his voluptuous wife, Coco.