If you don’t want to have your soul X-rayed, don’t sit near Joyce Brothers”—yes, sometimes the old sayings are true. On March 1 actor Ian Ziering’s wife, Price Is Right model Nikki Ziering, 30, was in Gary, Ind., to serve as a celebrity judge for the Miss USA pageant. At a prepageant dinner, fellow judge Brothers, 74, sensed something amiss. “I didn’t know the reason for it,” says the famed psychologist. “But I knew she was more cheerful than she should be. She was covering up.”
In fact, it would have been understandable if Nikki had moped like a 49th runner-up. Just one day earlier former Beverly Hills, 90210 star Ziering, 37, had filed for divorce in Los Angeles, claiming their less-than-five-year-old union was sunk by irreconcilable differences. “They have been fighting for a while,” says a Ziering source, who describes the actor as fed up with the former Playboy Playmate, who’s too “focused on herself.” Then again, the source adds, “this is who Ian wanted—the blonde bombshell.” The model caught his eye in 1995, when he was still playing 90210‘s Steve Sanders and she was an extra. “I’ve been staring ever since,” he said in 1997.
But, bombshell or not, Price Is Right model Claudia Jordan says there are no explosive issues driving apart the couple, who wed in 1997 with 90210 costars Jason Priestley, Tori Spelling and Luke Perry as guests. “I think they’ve talked about splitting for a while,” says Jordan. “It’s not an ugly divorce. They’ve just grown apart.” Last week Nikki was preparing to move out of their Hollywood Hills home, and Ziering, says his compatriot, was saddened. “But in the long run, Ian knows this is what he needed to do.”