Is There A Reality Show Divorce Curse?Steven Folkins

I am a child of divorce and statistically speaking, my marriage was supposed to end (and did) in divorce. My mother was married when I was five years old and then divorced five years later; she later remarried when I was in college and is still married to my current stepfather. My marriage story is a little different: I was married, had children and then came out – all before I turned 30. I imagine my life would be perfect fodder for reality show cameras so often, especially with my (probably) unhealthy obsession with them. This, of course, has led to my personal interest in reality TV show divorces. The reality show divorce curse is something I have more interest in to be honest. I love the fact that something has happened so many times that people think there is a curse involved. Um, I think these people involved are under a microscope and the pressure just gets to them or maybe some gypsy cursed all reality television stars of the past, present and future. I like that theory. Let’s go with it.

At the rise of her fame, Jessica Simpson married Nick Lachey and recorded their lives for MTV’s Newlyweds. The couple were married in 2002 and began recording their reality show soon after the wedding. The first episode aired in August of 2003 and the series ran for three seasons ending in March of 2005. Just months after the last episode aired, Jessica and Nick announced they were separating. The couple were officially divorced in 2006.

While we’re discussing MTV reality shows starring married couples that are now divorced, I should definitely mention ‘Til Death Do Us Part and Meet the Barkers. ‘Til Death Do Us Part was the one season reality show focusing on the lives of Dave Navarro and Carmen Electra through the events leading up to their marriage. They divorced after three years of marriage. Both Navarro and Electra said that the reality show had nothing to do with their divorce. Travis Barker of Blink-182 and wife Shanna Moakler were recruited by MTV to do a reality show following the everyday life of the couple and their three children. Just months after the show stopped airing, Barker filed for divorce. The couple were on again, off again for a while until they were officially divorced in 2008.

One of my favorite reality shows following married couples has to be Being Bobby Brown. This one season Bravo reality show gave us a glimpse of the often crazy and weird marriage of Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston. The best parts of this show were obviously Whitney’s sayings that remain in our vernacular today: “Hell to the no!” and “Kiss my ass!” A year after the show stopped airing, Whitney and Bobby separated and then officially divorced less than a year after in 2007. Let’s take a quick minute to remember Whitney Houston who died in February of this year.

My Life on the D-List was another one of my fave reality shows starring Kathy Griffin, her then husband Matt Malone, her parents and assistants. Apparently, Matt stole $72,000 from Kathy’s bank account.  I remember watching that episode thinking, why is he getting all this money from ATMs? The couple separated after the first season and then were divorced before the second season ever aired. Matt appeared in the second season, with the season finale being his final episode.

I tried so hard to watch VH1’s Hogan Knows Best, but had a very hard time relating to the Hogans. Do I really need to list the reasons? Okay, fine, I’ll give you two: Brooke and Nick. Linda filed for divorce just one month after the show stopped airing in 2007. My favorite part of the divorce (I feel bad for reveling in someone else’s divorce, but…) was that Hulk found out about the divorce when a reporter asked him for a comment regarding said divorce. Ouch.

My least favorite haircut on this list comes from Kate Gosselin. I had a very hard time watching Jon & Kate Plus 8 due to my great distaste for Kate and probably watched four entire episodes in total. I also can’t remember any gossip blog or entertainment show in 2009 that didn’t mention the Gosselin’s public break up and Jon’s dismissal from the show constantly. We had Gosselin burn-out hard core.  The show was later renamed Kate Plus 8, but that didn’t last very long either. Kate didn’t blame reality TV for their divorce, but did blame Jon’s selfishness.

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony announced they were divorcing just two months after performing together on last season of American Idol. Jennifer’s focus on Idol and not having enough time for the couple’s twins was allegedly a reason for tension between them.  Their joint reality show, Q’ Viva! The Chosen, just aired even after their divorce.

One of the highest paid reality stars wouldn’t be complete if she did have her own Reality TV divorce too. You guessed it, we’re talking about Kim Kardashian. Kim (we’re on a first name basis) began dating NBA player Kris Humphries of the New Jersey Nets in October 2010. They became engaged in May 2011, and then got married in August 2011. This was all obviously filmed for a two-part TV special on E!. After 72 days of marriage, Kim filed for divorce from Humphries on October 31, 2011 (less treat, more trick) citing irreconcilable differences.

Alright, I suppose this one doesn’t really count since the couple never actually divorced, but just announced their divorce for publicity. Obvs, we’re talking about Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt of The Hills fame(?). Their relationship, marriage, marriage, almost divorce, crystals, plastic surgery and the continuation of their actual marriage was all highly covered for our ‘entertainment’.

Let’s get back to the real divorces or rather let’s get into the Real Housewives divorces. There have been at least 8 Real Housewife divorces so far. Jeana and Matt Keough of RHOC have the special privilege of being the first divorce of the Bravo franchise. The Count & Countess de Lesseps of RHONY seemed like a surprise divorce, but apparently The Count had been cheating on The Countess Luann for quite some time with an Ethiopian princess. Tamra & Simon Barney of RHOC were the first couple to show their divorce play out on the series. Tamra announced she wanted a divorce in the season finale. Cat & Charles Ommanney of RHODC separated and eventually divorced before their one season series even aired.

Season 3 of RHOA focused a lot on NeNe & Gregg Leakes marital problems and eventually NeNe filed for divorce while the couple still lived together. My favorite franchise is definitely RHOBH and Camille was my fave housewife. Camille & Kelsey Grammer’s marriage fell apart on and off camera and they got a divorce. It’s public knowledge now that Kelsey was cheating on Camille with a younger woman whom he eventually left Camille to marry. A bit of Hot Goss for you: Camille is coming back to RHOBH next season! Another marriage from RHOBH that was destined for divorce was that of Taylor and Russell Armstrong. We all know how their story played all too well, with Russell committing suicide. The Real Housewives divorce that came as a surprise to most viewers was that of Vicki and Donn Gunvalson of RHOC. The couple renewed the 15th wedding anniversary and then soon after divorced. Vicki blamed the show for their divorce.

There have been other divorces on other reality shows and I am sure there will be more as long as couples film themselves for our viewing pleasure. Speaking of couples recording themselves for our viewing pleasure: Kevin Jonas and his wife Danielle just signed on to star in an E! reality show called Married to Jonas. The show will follow the couple – who have been married for two years now – and how they balance their lives and the career of Kevin with the Jonas Brothers. I know I will tune in so I can find out if Kevin is still a virgin and watch what I assume are epic battles over who gets to wear the shortest shorts in public. The real question here is ‘will their marriage survive the reality show divorce curse?’ The reality show divorce curse just doesn’t hold any water for me, at least no paid for product placed water.

Anyone obsessed with reality TV knows you constantly imagine yourself in your own reality show, I am no different; it’s just that I am positive that my life would be a highly watched reality show now. I just can’t imagine having a film crew following my every move during my divorce, though, and do not envy any of the couples on this list. Maybe these reality show couples should pay close attention to Khloe Kardashian & Lamar Odom (I never thought I’d write that) if they want their reality show marriages to survive and take a break from filming. “The issue at hand is we just want to be happy. We’ll take our time and we’ll get back to it when it’s time.”

Original Image via The Bosh

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  1. Rev Run and Justine are still together.

  2. *Shanna Moakler, not Shannon Mokler.

  3. Britney and Kevin too but she’s in a better place now.