Hip-hop wild man Busta Rhymes had a 10-year roller-coaster romance with a high-school sweet heart. They had three beautiful children together. He repeatedly proposed marriage to her.
Then she turned gay.
The two have just ended one of the nastiest four-year custody battles in hip-hop history – rife with allegations she had lesbian sex in front of their children, that she does drugs in the house and that she’s an absentee mom.
But Rhymes’ ex-girlfriend Joanne Wood says she believes he doesn’t hate her because she’s a bad mother – he simply can’t stand the fact that she’s chosen a woman over him.
“His ego is definitely hurt,” she told The Post in an exclusive interview. “If he’s being emotional, then let him just be emotional – that’s like the bitch in him. If you want to be emotional, I don’t have a problem with that,” but “he’s wearing his emotions on his sleeve.”
Rhymes has been talking trash about his former girlfriend while promoting his new album, “The Big Bang,” which exploded to the No. 1 spot on Billboard. He’s called her names from dangerous to crazy to gold digger to other unmentionables.
In her first newspaper interview, Wood said she wanted to set the record straight. “He can learn a lot from the ‘man-bitch lesbians,’ ” she said, referring to a phrase he’s used lately to describe her.
But Wood, 32, who lives in Baldwin, L.I., with a lover, says they weren’t always at each other’s throats. They once were sweethearts at Uniondale HS.
They were madly in love despite their differences. Rhymes, born Trevor Smith, was a rough rapper wannabe from Jamaica via Brooklyn. She was a demure girl with middle-class parents.
MORE ON THEIR RELATIONSHIP
“Did I cheat on him? Hey. . . .” she said, grinning a little as she trailed off.
But to clarify, she added, “I wasn’t cheating on him with a woman. If anyone wants to know. I wasn’t at all.”
And also for the record she wants to world to know that Rhymes did not “turn her off men.”
“A relationship is a relationship. It happens. I have nothing negative to say as far as our relationship, whether it was good or bad, sexually, or not. That had nothing to do with me doing what I did [becoming a lesbian]. It’s not like I spitefully did it.
“He had a problem with everything,” she laughed. “He’s a Taurus – he’s a real arrogant person, he has a problem with everything.”
In the same breath, however, she defends her former love.
“But on the other hand, he’s soft-hearted – he’s a softy, at times, when we’re together. I don’t know what happened.”
Over the past four years, they have been in a bitter custody battle over their three sons, T’Ziah, 13, T’Khi, 6, and Trillian, 5. She said what Rhymes has been saying about her “pretty much makes me out to be a crazy person. He said what he had to say and that’s fine. I don’t have any problem with that.
“But my kids can read, they can see the negativity that he’s saying about me. He needs to focus on his music and hope that his album goes double platinum or whatever, because you know at this point in his career if you don’t make it now, that’s it.”
Rhymes won custody of the couple’s children in December when Judge Burton Joseph in Nassau County Family Court decided he was a more fit parent than Wood. No abuse or negligence is cited, but there are more than a few references to her “lover” and “lifestyle,” and she and her lawyer thinks she’s been the victim of prejudice.
The court decision notes that on one occasion, one of the kids walked in on her and her female lover having sex in the bedroom, but she and her lawyer point out, “Where else should they have sex?”
Another section points out that she and her lover may one day get married.
“It seems that this judge was dwelling on the fact that it was a woman with a woman, and that’s what came out of this, and it seems to be very unique,” said her lawyer, Rick Savitt, who did not represent her in this latest Family Court case.
“If you find the mother’s unfit, that’s one thing, but they never found any of that. But to take the custody away, give it to the father and say, ‘Dad, go move to L.A., Grandma, you take the kids.’ The people I’ve spoken to say they’ve never seen that before.”
Wood currently has visitation rights twice a week and every other weekend to see her kids, who now live with Rhymes’ mother in New York while he tours.
She is gathering the funds, and the strength, for an appeal of the custody decision.
“Honestly, the kids are the one that got hurt through this entire ordeal,” she sighed.
“As you get older and you have kids, they change your life, and honestly, I thought that they would have changed Trevor’s life, but it didn’t.
“He’s a great father, when it comes to sitting down, talking to the kids. And we can agree on certain things, but I have to say, this fighting me because your ego is hurt, you’re not hurting me, he’s hurting the kids. They know exactly what’s going on, which bothers me. But I can say they’re happy, we spend good times together. I know they don’t see their father as much as he claims he does.”