Never ones to follow the crowd, the “happily unmarried” Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed nevertheless have joined a growing trend – of couples who get plastic surgery together.
“I’d thought about it before,” Simmons, 57, the eel-tongued, kabuki-faced bassist from KISS, tells PEOPLE. “I was aware I had jowls.”
“Like Jabba the Hutt!” teases Tweed, 50, Playboy‘s 1982 Playmate of the Year.
And though she was all for the surgery, “I didn’t want him to look younger than me,” she says. So in November, the couple, who have been together for 24 years and have two kids together, were ready for new faces.
It’s a growing trend among couples, but few are recording their procedures for posterity. In this case, nearly every pre-through-post-op moment was taped for the couple’s A&E reality program, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, which begins its second season on March 25.
The show does take some creative license, making it appear that Tweed tricks Simmons into doing it: He acts surprised when he finds himself in the Beverly Hills offices of Dr. Frank Ryan – and hears that the procedures will run over $40,000 each. (Actually, Dr. Ryan hints that the surgery was gratis.)
But there was nothing phony about the scalpels. Simmons was on the table for 11 hours as Dr. Ryan and his team hoisted his jowls, tweaked his eyelids and liposuctioned around his pecs. The next day, Tweed got a facelift and lower lid adjustment.
Tweed says she can’t look at the video, but Simmons did. “I saw Dr. Ryan reach under my skin and massage the muscles of my face,” he reports. “It was like my face was peeled off and slung over my shoulder.”
Wisecracks aside, the couple’s two kids, Nick, 18, and Sophie, 14, were genuinely concerned. “I was terrified for my mom,” says Nick. “I was afraid they would pull a Joan Crawford, and she would look like she was running in high wind.”
Adds Sophie, “My parents have looked the same my whole life. I was afraid they wouldn’t look like my parents anymore.”
Simmons came home several days later, his head bandaged and his face so swollen Nick said with evident horror, “You look like that guy from the … Pat Morita.” “Thanks, Nick,” retorted Simmons. “He’s dead.”
Sophie simply left the room in tears. “He looked like he had been in a bad car accident,” she says.
Tweed remained hospitalized for a few more days with extreme pain following her procedures. “I got a throat infection,” she says. “But it took my mind off the face lift.”