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Paula Patton is no longer living her life for other people. The stunning actress has a new movie, new do and a new man she’s smiling ear to ear about.

Patton stars opposite Omar Epps in the Deon Taylor-directed thriller Traffik, in theaters today. What begins as a romantic getaway for couple Brea (Patton) and John (Epps) quickly turns into thrill-ride after Brea encounters a mysterious woman at a truck stop. The suspense flick exposes the underground world of human/ sex trafficking.

Patton, while promoting the film, debuted the new man in her life, real-estate hauncho Zach Quittman, leading to reports she was dating a married man. Despite PageSix‘s report that Quittman isn’t legally separated and still has belongings in his estranged wife’s house, Patton assured me she would never disrupt anyone’s marriage.

A source told the gossip mag, “[Patton] paints herself as the jilted woman who was left for another woman, but she’s doing the same f–king s–t, she’s a hypocrite.”

I caught up with Paula, who opened up about the new role, cutting off the dead energy when she cut her hair and rumors about her married beau.

Shamika Sanders: What was like working with Omar Epps in such an intimate way on this film?

Paula Patton: I’ve been friends with Omar and his wife Keshia for a long time. To work with him was a joy. He has this masculine strength but there’s this kindness in his vulnerability. The way he brings this tenderness to this roll, of this man and his understanding of a woman who is scared from her past to take the plunge into love. He really did an incredible job.

Shamika Sanders: I didn’t realize it such a love story attached to it…

Paula Patton: The movie begins as a love story. It gets kind of sexy and then this couple, they take this romantic getaway. They stop at a truck stop and everything starts to turn terribly wrong.Then the movie becomes a thriller, suspense, horror movie that brings you into the world of sex and human trafficking. We really need to call it what it is, its slavery. It’s a scary world. It is our monster, in our movie.

Shamika Sanders: What did you learn about human/sex trafficking while filming this movie?

Paula Patton: Because they called it human trafficking, I wasn’t sure what it was or how prevalent it is. Slavery is very much alive and well today and is very profitable; its second to arms dealing. It’s happening in the most unlikely places. You could be looking at a suburban neighborhood and underneath some of their floors are dozens of women held captive. A lot of the them are children. So many of them are underage girls and boys. That was eye-opening for me.

Shamika Sanders: What inspired your new hair?

Paula Patton: I took my weave out and I was like ‘I’m going to cut my hair.’ I cut a little bit, a good amount, then I was like, ‘let’s just go all the way.’ If you’re going to do it, do it. In many ways. it was like you cut off that dead energy and energy of the past and you can step forward into your life and future free and clear and certainly much lighter.

Shamika Sanders: How do you deal with all the negative responses?

Paula Patton: I don’t even look at it, so I don’t know even know until you tell me about it. Really? I don’t care what anyone else thinks anymore. I’m really living my life for me. For the people who like what I’m doing, come along with me and let’s have fun and they people who don’t, that’s OK. That’s your opinion. You live your life the way you want. I’m happy and happiness for me is living my life out in the open. Living in truth and not caring what anyone else thinks.

Shamika Sanders: You talk about living your truth, what led you to not caring about what people have to say?

Paula Patton: It took me 42 years. I’m 42-years old and it took me a lot of suffering to be honest. I would love to tell people who are younger than me and older than me that you can turn this around. The truth is, people don’t really care that much about you. They think about themselves. So they talk about you for a few seconds but then they’re on to their own lives. Start living your life the way you want to and people will respect you because you’re in your truth. You don’t realize it but when you’re living for people, you’re living a lie and that turns into something very ugly in the end and that’s what causes people to be jealous or to be talking about people. There’s no need to talk negatively about people. There’s no need to bring that kind of evil or poison in your life.

Shamika Sanders: You mention living in your truth…

Paula Patton: Nothing that anyone does to you is personal, it’s always about them. You can’t take it that way. Robin and I, we had a great love. We really did. But things go wrong and I’ll say this, ‘I have a part to play in it too.’ It takes two to tango. The problem happens when you stop telling each other the truth, about anything. You get annoyed with somebody and you hide it, then something else happens and you hide it and then another thing happens and you blow up on somebody. It’ll be much better if you had told them that from the beginning, then y’all could have made a joke about it. Remember it’s not that big of a deal. We’re just ants on this planet.

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Shamika Sanders: Recently, you were also in the news for debuting a new relationship, but there was some controversy that came after it. People claim he’s married. I wanted to give you’re the opportunity to clear up any misconceptions.

Paula Patton: Again, I don’t read to know the misconceptions, but I would just say when I met him he was separated from his wife and he’s in the process of divorce. They’re still married as that happens. He told his wife a while ago and I told Robin. She heard it from him first, not from anybody else. I let Robin know because he’s the father of my child and I thought he had a right to know that I had somebody, since the first time that we been divorced, that I wanted in my life and that I want my child to know. I just knew it. I’m 42 years old and I was like, this is my man. I feel it. For me, when you’re living in truth and integrity… I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I know that we did right.

Shamika Sanders: Do you feel any way, being a formerly married woman?

Paula Patton: No. Because they were already separated and he didn’t leave her for me. I would never go into any one else’s marriage and disrupt it in a million, trillion years. This man was already living in a different home.

Catch Traffik in-theaters NOW.


Rumor Has It That Paula Patton’s New Bae Is Still Married

Trailer Drops For Paula Patton + Omar Epps Thriller ‘Traffik’

Paula Patton Says Married Boo Is Separated And Headed For Divorce: I Would Never Disrupt Anyone’s Marriage  was originally published on