Brian Dunkleman's Girlfriend Defends Him After Job-Shaming: 'This Is Why He's an Uber Driver'
On Thursday, Whitney tweeted a photo of Dunkleman and his 5-year-old son Jackson sitting on a hilltop overlooking Los Angeles.
“This is why he’s an Uber driver,” she wrote. “F— you @TMZ. #ImInLoveWithAnUberDriver.”
Whitney followed up with a photo of herself, saying, “This is what an Uber driver’s girlfriend looks like. F— you @TMZ. #ImInLoveWithAnUberDriver.”
The backlash began when TMZ reported on the television personality’s divorce proceedings, which revealed he was making a living as an Uber driver. Dunkleman, who is best known for co-hosting Idol alongside Ryan Seacrest during its first season in 2002, fired back on Thursday.
“I chose to stop doing standup comedy and started driving an Uber so I could be there for my son as much as he needed after our life as we knew it was destroyed. Print that,” he tweeted, referring to his contentious divorce and ongoing custody battle with his estranged wife.
“And I make over a grand on a good week motherf—ers. #HumanBarnacles,” Dunkleman added in a separate tweet.
Dunkleman is in the middle of divorcing wife Kalea Dunkleman. According to financial documents obtained by TMZ, Dunkleman disclosed his occupation as “Uber driver.”
The actor said he started the job in March 2016 and works about 45 hours a week, making about $800 a week, according to the documents.
Reps for Dunkleman did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
In 2016, Dunkleman made a surprise appearance during Fox’s American Idol series finale. (The series was then rebooted on ABC.)
“I definitely was hoping that they would ask and they contacted me about a month and a half ago,” Dunkleman told PEOPLE at the time. “I actually wrote pretty much all that is said [on camera] tonight except for the opening line, which was written by their brilliant writer. It just couldn’t have been better. I’m very glad that they asked. It’s been a very, very cathartic evening for me.”
Dunkleman admitted he felt “bitter” after choosing to leave the reality singing competition after the first season.
“I think I beat them to the punch and I didn’t know,” Dunkleman said of leaving. “I left the show but from what I gather, they weren’t going to have me back anyway. So it’s kind of a big load off my shoulders. I guess I didn’t make a mistake.”
Though he claimed he was he was never told why he wasn’t going to be asked to continue hosting, he accepted responsibility.
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“I didn’t do a good enough job and I don’t think I handled myself as professionally as I needed to back then,” he said. “In retrospect, I really just didn’t have the wisdom I needed to handle what was going on. I like to say I was just young and stupid, but I really wasn’t that young. I was 30 years old.”
The next season of American Idol premieres March 3 on ABC.