Shar Jackson's life has been a lot less chaotic since last November. That's when Britney Spears split from Kevin Federline, Jackson's former beau and dad to her children Kori and Kaleb (who turn 5 and 3 in July).
"When they were together, somebody was always at my door with a camera wanting to know what I thought," Jackson, 30, says over margaritas at a Mexican cantina. "Once they separated, nobody had to ask me anymore about something Britney did. That made life easier for me and my kids. There were a lot of innocent people affected by their relationship."
She says her older children, preteens Cassie and Donnie, were grilled for gossip, even by teachers. "They've had to change schools twice."
There was another innocent whose life was affected: Jackson's dog Britney — who was named for Spears long before Federline began a relationship with the singer.
"I had a bunch of dogs named after pop stars," she says, "But I didn't want to be calling that name anymore." So she gave the dog to her godmother.
Surprisingly, Jackson seems to include Federline as an innocent in the ordeal. Once he spilt from Spears, Jackson says, "I knew Kevin would get to be Kevin again and have his life. Britney's whole life is not realistic; it's a huge fantasy. And not everybody wants that fantasy."
Jackson now believes she is in a position to advise others about breakups. She's an expert on ABC's reality series Ex-Wives Club (Monday, 9 p.m. ET/PT). Jackson teams with Donald Trump's ex-wife Marla Maples and Angie Everhart (who was engaged to Sylvester Stallone and married to George Hamilton's son, Ashley) to offer survival tips.
"The reason we can help is because we've been through it," says Jackson, who is now happily single. "And we've been through it in the most insane way possible, with everybody in the world watching."
In February, Jackson treated herself to a tummy tuck and is excited to show off her bikini-ready bod in Maui in August, when her parents, who divorced five years ago, will remarry. A romantic reunion with her ex isn't likely, though.
"He will always be a friend, but we don't talk about it going anywhere else."
Before K-Fed, Jackson was a successful actress. She started at age 3 and played Neicy (Moesha, Girlfriends) for seven years on UPN shows. "It's a little disappointing that now I'm known for the whole Kevin/Britney thing, because I have worked my whole life."
Ex-Wives, she says, isn't really a career move. "I feel that all the pain that I went through was for something. Honestly, from my heart, if I can help somebody get through that, then this is an opportunity that was placed in my lap."