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Interviews

Greg Mathis Jr & Elliott Cooper share engagement details & career updates

Greg Mathis Jr & Elliott Cooper share engagement details & career updates

Greg Mathis Jr. and Elliott Cooper
Jon Dailey

In an interview with PRIDE, Greg Mathis Jr. and Elliott Cooper open up about getting engaged, planning a wedding, and pursuing new career paths.

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Greg Mathis Jr., the son of Judge Greg Mathis (of Judge Mathis fame), made his reality TV debut in 2022 on the reality show revolving around his family, Mathis Family Matters.

At the time, PRIDEspoke with Greg about the pressures of coming out while having a famous dad. He discussed how his friends helped him along the way, and how conservative fans of his father were receiving the news that Greg was gay. The interview also touched on how his longtime partner at the time, Elliott Cooper, had to be consulted before Greg felt confident to make their relationship public on the E! series.

Almost two years later, Greg and Elliott are now thriving, living in Los Angeles, growing in their careers, and also engaged! During this new interview with PRIDE, Greg and Elliott discuss their recent career moves and share all the details behind their engagement — hilarious fumbles and all! They also talk about planning for a wedding, Elliott’s work with different organizations, and how the “baby question” is already coming up.

Scroll through to read PRIDE’s interview with Greg Mathis Jr. and Elliott Copper — and make sure to follow them on Instagram at @gregmathisjr and @elliott_coopr.

Greg Mathis Jr. and Elliott Cooper

Jon Dailey

PRIDE: First things first, congratulations on the engagement. How are you guys feeling?

Greg: Thank you! Feeling good, excited. Enjoying our engagement, but also starting to get into some of the first stages of wedding planning, which is exciting too.

Elliott: Yeah, it's exciting. So, this isn't my first engagement; I was engaged before. Not to a man, but to a woman. So I had a whole lot of anxiety, I guess you could say, leading up to proposing to Greg. But by being able to do it, and just the love that I have for him… it's been surreal and fulfilling. It's excitement, all wrapped in that, and then the whole [wedding] planning and everything that goes with it. It's that fun and like, 'Okay, what do we got to do now? Oh, man. Okay, let's set this up.' Changing dates and all that. Ugh. [laughs]

Greg: Yeah, that's the hectic part of it. But it's going to be exciting to have our families come together. They haven't really spent a lot of time together… or any, for that matter. So it'll be nice for them to just come together and celebrate us in that way.

PRIDE: We obviously want to know all the details. When did the proposal happen? Where was it? Who proposed? Was it a surprise? Tell us the story!

Greg: Oh, he completely surprised me! [laughs]

Elliott: I'm going to tell the story, I'm going to tell you right now: but it takes a lot to surprise this man. You know that one friend that all you got to do is give him a name and he can find everything else that you need, just by having a person's name? That's Greg. It's Inspector Gadget, all right? [laughs] So I had to be super secretive. It took a couple of months, but I always planned to do it in 2023. And then, when it was time to coordinate when or how to convince him, I used one of Greg's friends to help.

For the ring, that process also took forever. Greg is bougie, but he's also low-key, so it has to be nice, but then it doesn't have to be over the top. [laughs] So I had to really do my research and even reach out to his sister, because the rest of his family would just tell him everything. So with her insight, I selected the ring. But I was like, 'Where am I going to do it?'

The first spot I thought of was the Griffith Observatory. We both like space and science and stuff like that, so I thought that would be cool. I also thought of the scenic overlook on Mulholland. And the final spot I thought of was this French place that we fell in love with right when we first moved to L.A. It made us feel like we were at home. We love to travel and Paris was the place that we'd go for our anniversary every year, so this French place was perfect and I ended up selecting that one. But honestly, if he was like, 'I don't want to go to dinner,' I would have to pivot to one of those other ones I saw! I had a few plans in place… just in case it didn't work out like I thought.

So I told him, 'Oh, hey, I had this reservation set up at Republic… but I forgot I set it up. Do you want to just go and grab some food?' He was like, 'Okay, should I wear something nice?' And I said, 'Yeah, just put on something regular or comfortable,' even though in the back of my head I was trying to pay attention. I set up a videographer and photographer to be there right after we arrived at the restaurant. But I'll let Greg say what he thought on the way there.

PRIDE: Yeah, let's turn to Inspector Gadget himself. What was going through your mind? Did you see this coming?

Greg: Look, I'll just come out and say this from the very beginning: he 100% fooled me. I had no idea he was proposing. I just figured that when [the time came], he would get all nervous, or I would know because I would pick up on his planning. I had zero idea that he was doing it this weekend.

And what happened was, we were co-hosting at the time. Elliot's mother passed away from lupus during his senior year of college, so one thing we do every year is that we co-host the annual Walk to End Lupus in Southern California. We had family and a couple of friends coming in for that, and I just assumed people were coming in for the event.

PRIDE: That was good timing.

Greg: It was good timing! He got me with the good timing. [laughs] So that threw me off. So we had a busy week, and that's right when I started auditioning, too, Like, right when I started auditioning and diving into acting, we had to host this event the next day as well. I had a million things on my mind. I wasn't thinking that [a proposal] was anywhere near it. We were laying in bed, resting after working all day, and Elliot goes, 'Oh man, I made a reservation at our favorite restaurant a couple of months ago and I forgot about it. Do you still want to go?' I almost said no.

Elliott: He did have that pause.

Greg: What would you have done if I had said no?!

Elliott: I would've said, 'Well, let's just take a drive on Mulholland.' I would've just told you to get out. I knew you couldn't turn down either the drive to Mulholland or the observatory because those are just places we like to go to in general.

Greg: But I did want to get out because I knew the rest of the weekend we'd be busy and hectic with family and friends in town. So I said, 'Okay, let's go just you and I. We'll get some peace and quiet before everything gets crazy.' We get to the restaurant, we have a great dinner, we order great food. And then out of nowhere, at the end of the dinner, Elliott starts acting a little bit weird. He tries to take the ring out of his pocket and gives a beautiful speech, but I was like, 'Okay, this is a little different.' And then he tries to take this ring out of his pocket. I could tell it was a package for a ring, but he started fumbling around with it and couldn't get it out…

Elliott: Wait, wait, wait. The reason I was fumbling was that I told the videographer and photographer that I would give them a five-minute warning to show up. I went to the bathroom, came back, and gave them that warning. When I started talking… I mean, I was smooth with it. I'm telling you, I was there. [laughs] But then the videographer said, 'We don't see y'all. Where are you all at?' So then I started stuttering, like mid-sentence! The ring, everything got stuck at that same moment. I was just like, 'Oh my gosh, what if they're at the wrong restaurant?' All these things were going in my head. So Greg is so right: I was sitting there stuttering, or holding the ring in my hand, and it was not a smooth moment.

PRIDE: I mean, this was supposed to be a proposal, not improv comedy. But it definitely turned into improv while you tried to talk to the videographer.

Elliott: It did, it did.

PRIDE: Speaking of which! Greg, you're now expanding your acting portfolio. Can you share what's been going on?

Greg: A lot of auditioning, Elliott can attest to that. He's always my go-to to run lines. But I did book — which I'm really excited about — my first short film project. This March, I'll be telling the story of a woman that is based on true events. I play her best friend, but [the story is set] when she was going through an abusive relationship. I don't want to get too far ahead of the producers in talking about the project, but I'm really excited to get to work on that.

PRIDE: And Elliott, you're involved with organizations that help people suffering from lupus. You just shared that you lost your mom to lupus. Can you tell us about your work in that space?

Elliott: My nine-to-five, I'll say, is a lot around engineering and science. I have projects that deal with the armed forces and with NASA and stuff like that. But my mom died of lupus in my senior year of college. Lupus is a disease that affects a lot of women, but it does affect men as well, and minorities the most. However, it doesn't have as much attention as cancer and other illnesses. When we came to L.A., it was important to me to volunteer and be a part of the community. This also helped me feel more comfortable, because I wasn't completely comfortable when I first moved here. But during that first year that I was here, they asked me to host it. And then the next year they asked Greg and I to come back and host it together.

It's fulfilling to be able to give back to the community and also help other people feel more comfortable with this disease. A lot of people reached out to me saying that they can now see how lupus is affecting other folks — some folks that they wouldn't even expect — because lupus isn't a disease that you can just see from people walking every day or whatever. It can affect all your main organs, too. It's really fulfilling, and I want to continue. I work closely with the Lupus Foundation of America, which is stationed in D.C. They've been instrumental in helping me understand the impact that I could have, because I didn't know how much I could be helping. It just shows a layer that I didn't even know I was capable of doing. I hope my mom is smiling like, 'You go, boy.'

The other work that I'm doing is more focused on STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics]. People from minorities [getting involved] in STEM, and just science in general, I think is the key to the future. Yes, arts and entertainment are what we need, and we can always be a part of. But I do feel like having a spectrum of people that are involved in the sciences, math, engineering, all of those technical pieces, are instrumental in things that we do today. From A.I. to going to your post office and getting updates on what's happening there. It spans a lot of the normal functions that we do on a day-to-day basis. I'm a part of the National Society of Black Engineers, and the goal is to make sure that they're able to reach those types of students.

PRIDE: That's incredible! So, just to circle back on the question that everybody wants to ask: do you guys have a date for the wedding yet? What are the plans so far?

Greg: I'm not going to lie… Oh, you want to take this too, Elliott?

Elliott: Oh, man. I just do the surprises now. [laughs] No, the goal is to have the wedding this year. We want to do that. We're in that mode of finding the date. We want to make sure that it works for us and our immediate families. We both fell in love with each other because family is number one. We want to make sure that it is intimate, and that it doesn't overshadow the true love that we have for each other, nor the love that we have for our family as well. We're also just very simple folks, right?

Greg: Correct.

Elliott: We like classy things. I'll say that, too. We always want to make sure that when people do join us, they really enjoy themselves as far as food, entertainment, and things of that sort.

Greg: Both of us are still knees-deep in our careers. So, planning the wedding while trying to enjoy our relationship, and still having time to just be ourselves, on top of two busy careers… it's [a lot]. We haven't gotten too far along yet, but it's been fun to start.

PRIDE: The last time I interviewed you, Greg, was around August of 2022 — which is wild to me, that it's been that long. But it's amazing to see how far you guys have come. At the time, we were still talking about you coming out. Mathis Family Matters was still airing. But you guys are now engaged and planning for your wedding. It's just lovely to see it. What was the reception from your family when you announced that you were engaged?

Greg: They're really excited. Just seeing us both grow into different capacities, I think has made them even more excited to see how well we work together as a partnership. Just moving from the East Coast to the West Coast, and both of us growing as individuals and as a couple… they're looking forward to seeing what's next for us after the engagement and the wedding and so much change in our life.

PRIDE: Uhhh… Do you guys want kids?

Elliott: Yeah, I was about say—

Greg: That's one thing that we do want.

Elliott: That's the other question. First it was like, 'Oh, when are y'all going to get married?' Now it's like, 'When are y'all going to have these kids?' And then it continues.

Greg: 'And how many kids?' [laughs]

Elliott: Yes. You're like, 'Oh, you need two more. Okay. But we've definitely talked about kids even before we got engaged, and before we moved to L.A. Family has always been important, so that's a venture that we are actively looking at as well.

Greg: And they'll be an addition to our two furry kids.

Elliott: Our two Frenchies, yeah. They'll be jealous.

PRIDE: The thing is, straight people always want to ask that. But for us, we can't just mess around and find out. It's kind of a process, so it's a little bit different for us. [laughs] But that's another topic! Thank you both for taking the time to chat with us.

Greg: Thank you. It was great to talk with you again.

Elliott: Thanks, I really appreciate it.

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Bernardo Sim

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Bernardo Sim experiences and explains queer multiverses. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.

Bernardo Sim experiences and explains queer multiverses. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.