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Tiffany Cuban

There are no light bulbs constantly flashing in her face, no paparazzi chasing down her car to get a picture of her and the girls on the go, and no tabloids reporting on the “status” of her marriage to Dallas Mavericks’ owner, entrepreneur, and, most recently, Dancing With the Stars contender, Mark Cuban. The 35-year-old wife, mom to 4-year-old Alexis and 1-year-old Alyssa, and Dallas-area native, Tiffany Cuban, could in fact be your next-door neighbor.

Mothering is difficult enough; but add the scrutiny that comes with being a high-profile family to the equation, and how does it differ? “I think you have a higher level of awareness,” offers Cuban, “but I try to keep them out of the public eye as much as possible,” she says of the couple’s daughters. Even at Mavs games, you won’t catch the girls by their parents’ side, but sitting with Tiffany’s parents out of sight. “I really don’t want [the girls] to be public figures,” says Cuban. “Mark’s very recognizable, so when we go out with him, people become aware that he has a family … [that] he has two daughters,” she explains, “and there’s nothing we can really do about that.” Until this fall, Cuban kept both of her girls at home with her, but now that Alexis is in school, she knows that the anonymity the girls once enjoyed will start to change. “It’s going to become more of an issue,” she says, “and I’m not really sure how we’ll deal with that. I think it’s just one of those things that we’ll adjust to and make changes to as time goes on.”

Despite the limelight, the Cubans do what every other family does when it comes to raising children. “We just do what we think is appropriate, and we raise them to be good kids … instill[ing] positive behavior in them at all times,” she offers. They even have their own weekly rituals, like lunching on Saturday mornings at a local kid-friendly diner. “Mark started taking Alexis right after I had Alyssa,” Cuban recounts. “Now that Alyssa’s a little bit older, we all go.” And when her husband is in town, it’s all about the family. “We’re not the couple you see about town at all the events, because when he’s home, we pretty much want to spend time with the girls and it’s kind of downtime, family time for us,” explains Cuban. Now that taping is in full swing for Dancing With the Stars, Mark’s “taking this seriously,” she reports. And, although practicing is in Dallas, “it’s a big chunk of his time and the girls’ ‘daddy time’ too. It’s kind of an adjustment.”

Life for a mother is hectic and demanding, but pair that with a husband who travels with his basketball team and tapes weekly shows in LA for Dancing With the Stars, and the need for balance becomes even more apparent. Keeping things in perspective and taking advantage of time with her children is how Cuban copes. “I take a lot of enjoyment from the girls,” says Cuban. “And, of course it can be challenging at times, [but] I don’t take them for granted. When I’m getting attitude, or someone screams at the top of their lungs, you just have to keep it in perspective as far as if that’s as bad as it gets, that’s OK.”

Not only is she a devoted mommy, but also Cuban is involved with the Hoops ‘n Hopes organization that recently donated much-needed baby caps (bearing the “Go Mavs” logo, of course) to Parkland Hospital. She also sits on the board of the Mavs Foundation and is involved in making decisions on grant recipients each year, often doing work after the girls are tucked in for the night. “It’s hard to go through and narrow down from 60 to six [applicants]. You want to give each one the same consideration,” she explains. Even though the foundation existed before Mark Cuban bought the team, “we’ve definitely taken over it,” says Tiffany. “The amount of money we give out each year has definitely increased. We’re in a good spot now.” Though the girls are still too young to really take part in philanthropy, Cuban is instilling a desire, much like her own, to give back to the community. “I don’t want them to feel entitled,” she says. Right now the girls will help her sort through items such as clothes, toys or car seats to give away, but it’s “a tad early for them to really understand. They don’t even understand that they have a privileged life,” she shares. “It will be a balancing act with them as they get older.”

As for now, she and the girls will be cheering on daddy every week on Dancing With the Stars, even if it means Alexis will skip a Mavs game. “I think that’s one of the reasons he wanted to do it,” says Cuban, “He knew how much [Alexis] liked the show … and he was excited to do something that she was really into.” So does she think her husband can bring home the championship trophy? Laughing, she quips, “I have no idea. We have never done any type of formal dancing, so I couldn’t tell you how he’s going to be.” But she adds, “He’s very competitive, so I think that he’s going to try.”