Does Reality TV Ruin Marriages?
Nick & Jessica, Hulk & Linda and now Jon & Kate suffer good ratings and a rough relationship
Jon and Kate Gosselin aren’t the first reality stars to face marital problems. Although audiences love the unscripted TV couples, the constant scrutiny can put the brakes on “happily ever after.” Here are a few couples whose marriages couldn’t survive another season.
Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica
Aired: August 2003 to March 2005
Split: November 2005
Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey became household names by adjusting to married life after their 2002 wedding. In the 41-episode series, Simpson played the “dumb blonde” while Lachey was the longsuffering husband.
Simpson and Lachey announced their separation just eight months after the last episode aired on MTV. In the divorce filing, Simpson cited “irreconcilable differences” as the reason behind the split. Lachey later told USA Today that the reality show was a factor in the decision. “Jessica and I began playing these parts even when we were by ourselves,” he said of their roles. “It became a really blurred line. There was a question about what truly was our reality.”
Hulk Hogan and Linda Hogan, Hogan Knows Best
July 2005 to October 2007
Split: November 2007
Hulk and Linda Hogan’s rocky 24-year marriage was a centerpiece on Hogan Knows Best – the couple even visited a marriage counselor on their VH1 reality show. Just a month after the last episode aired, Linda Hogan shocked everyone – including her husband – by filing for divorce. (He learned about it from a local television station.)
Hulk Hogan told PEOPLE in 2008 that the couple had been on the rocks for nearly a decade, and that “the reality show just amplified the problems.”
Since the split, Linda Hogan has been dating 20-year-old Charley Hill. Hulk Hogan has dated Linda-lookalike Jennifer McDaniel for more than a year.
Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro, Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen & Dave
Aired: January to March 2004
Split: July 2006
Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro actually starred in two reality shows for MTV. The first one, Carmen and Dave: A Love Story aired in 2002 and centered on the couple’s dating life. In 2004, MTV approached the couple and asked them to do Til Death Do Us Part, which would focus on the couple’s wedding plans. Only one problem: the couple hadn’t set a date. Undeterred, MTV pushed the couple to get married. The preparations for the 2003 wedding were filmed and edited into a seven-episode reality show.
Although the show tried to capture the reality of the relationship, Navarro later said that much of the show was staged. “You’re not gonna be real with an eight-man crew in your house,” he told MTV in 2004, “So you end up getting the most realistic portrayal of your life with eight guys with cameras around.”
Electra is now engaged to former Korn guitarist Rob Patterson. The thrice-married Navarro is currently single.