With over 3.6 million Instagram followers and counting, Ayesha Curry has cultivated her food and lifestyle career largely with the help of social media — often by showing off the meals and happy memories she shares with her NBA superstar husband, Stephen, and their daughters, Riley, 3, and Ryan, 1.
“I’ve always wanted to live unapologetically,” Ayesha tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday. “I’m proud of my family and proud of the people around me. That’s why I share our lives on social media, because they make me happy.”
Although cooking has been a hobby for her for most of her life, it was Steph who first encouraged her to enter the digital sphere and start a food blog — which she’s now parlayed into an upcoming cookbook, The Seasoned Life, and a Cooking Channel show. “When we started on social media, we just thought it was the cool thing to do,” she says. “We didn’t know it would turn into this big beast of a thing. I think now that it’s turned into this whole ‘brand’ thing, I want to make sure I stay transparent and honest and true to myself.”
This openness has given her a relatable quality that’s earned admiration from fans, but it’s also landed her in hot water — most recently when she called the NBA “rigged” on Twitter following the Golden State Warriors’ loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in game 6 of the finals. “I was just a fan in that moment so I didn’t think about the ramifications,” she says. “I regret the way that I voiced how hurt I was. I felt hurt for [Steph], and I didn’t mean to offend anybody. Obviously, what I wrote is not what I think about what he does for a living.”
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Through everything, Steph has maintained his unwavering support for his wife. “I know her intentions. I know where she was coming from,” he tells PEOPLE. “You’re not going to win any battles on Twitter, so I tell her, ‘Keep being you. Keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t worry about what people are going to say. No matter who you are, they are going to try to find something to try to get under your skin and make you be somebody you’re not.'”
Still, she admits she does let the negativity get the best of her at times. “Since all this hoopla has happened, I have been a victim of reading the comments,” she says. “It hurts my feelings because I didn’t intend to hurt anybody. I apologized for it, and I feel like people should move on. There’s a lot more serious things going on in the world.”
For more exclusive details from PEOPLE's story with Stephen and Ayesha Curry, including three recipes from her upcoming cookbook The Seasoned Life, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.