It’s easy to dismiss Tracey Edmonds as the ex-trophy wife of Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds who parlayed her husband’s name into entrance to the C-Suite as CEO of Edmonds Entertainment Group and COO of Our Stories Films. Easier still to ignore her accomplishments—she produced the hit films Soul FoodGood Luck Chuck, and Jumping the Broom—in favor of guilty pleasure gossip about why she went on to marry Eddie Murphy on New Year’s Day 2008, only to split from him weeks later (both parties opting not to legalize their private destination Bora Bora ceremony in the States).

But of course, Edmonds’ story is far more complicated, far less sensational—and probably wouldn’t be so easy to dismiss if she weren’t a beautiful woman.

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With 15 years under her belt producing films and reality shows—and a degree in Psychobiology from Stanford University—Edmonds understands the desire to succumb to sensationalist chatter, admitting she too keeps up with gossip sites religiously. “I first read the news, but then I move right over into TMZ, Bossip, Media Takeout, and all of it,” she laughs during her exclusive talk with theGrio, although she has a better excuse than most of us.

“Being in the entertainment industry, it’s important to know who’s hot and who’s not,” Tracy explains. “Of course you got to read with a little bit of caution, and take things with a grain of salt because there are a lot of false stories.”

It turns out—even with her rumored $30 million net worth, power to green light films, a closetful of Herve Leger and Roberto Cavalli, and her A-list exes—Edmonds has more in common with the women who watch her movies than one would think. She is just as concerned, for instance, with maintaining her appearance and works as hard on that as the next woman.

“I’m on an anti-aging program,” the 45-year-old mother says, gushing about the virtues of Neutrogena Anti-Acne cleanser, microdermabrasion, and the retinol cream she uses every night. She calls the latter “just the best cream that you can possibly use to really, really help keep your skin moist and fight the wrinkles.”

Itemizing her beauty and exercise regimen, she continues, “I take a lot of vitamins. I’m on the elliptical five days a week. I do some Pilates three times a week. My boyfriend’s recently been pushing me to start doing some squats and sit-ups, which I hate.” Edmonds is certainly continuing to work on herself, but loves to relax with a great movie as well, just like the audiences she works hard to please.

Tracey loves to kick back with a good comedy or love story, which is reflected in the tenor of her projects. “Claudine and Mahogany,” she says of the classic ‘70s flicks, “are probably the best African-American love stories we’ve had.” And When Harry Met Sally? “I’ve probably seen like 20 times,” she confesses. “Anytime it’s on TV, I’ll sit on the bed and at least watch it for a little while”—a real indulgence considering her time-strapped schedule.

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