'To be a submissive woman shows real strength'


She's never been afraid to get aggressive during a game. But former pro volleyball star, model and fitness advocate Gabrielle Reece says that she believes women being submissive in relationships is a sign of strength - not weakness.

In news that may come as a shock to the legions of female fans who view her as an icon, Reece tells NBC News that she's happy to 'serve' and have an 'old-fashioned family dynamic' at home.

Reece, who married surfer Laird Hamilton 17 year ago in Hawaii, says 'I'm clearly the female; Laird's clearly the male. I'm willing and I choose to serve the family which means dinner and laundry and organizing his schedule as well as my schedule and other things.'

However, she told The Today Show, 'he’s not saying, "dinner on the table at six."'

'I'm saying I'll lift up my side and do it happily and also the expectation would be or the hope would be that he comes with the same attitude,' she explains.

In her new book, My Foot is too Big For This Glass Slipper, Reece writes that 'to truly be feminine means being soft, receptive, and – look out, here it comes – submissive.'

Reese explains that, although she appeared to have everything - beauty, success and a family - her marriage was far from a fairy tale.

'We didn’t even make it to our fifth anniversary before our sexy fairy tale turned into one of those unwatchable Swedish domestic dramas that makes the audience want to throw themselves off the nearest bridge,' she writes.

Fed up with 'glaring at each other over green smoothies,' Reece filed for divorce. A few months later, the couple reunited, and worked hard to overcome their differences. That's when she got in touch with her more submissive side.

'That’s the whole point of the book, which is the happily ever after,' Reese says. 'Maybe what’s typical is that you slam into a wall, but then what are you going to do when you do get to that wall?'

Reece took ten years off from a busy career of playing volleyball and modeling to raise her children - two daughters with Hamilton and one from his previous marriage - and tackles women's obsession with having it all.

'We don’t worry about (men) having it all, so I don’t know where we got this idea to have it all', she says, adding that 'you've got to choose what you're going to work really hard at'.

She also believes that fairy tale happily-ever-after stories are 'pure bullshit'.

'Nothing makes you superficially more happy than the first flushes of love, but in the ever after it’s all about dealing with your lover... surviving his crappy moods, and working together, always, to preserve what you’ve got and nurture a deeper, more profound and grounded love into the future.'

She also stressed the importance of communication - on her man's level. 'I think the language that men understand and they receive — is through food and through sex.' she says.