You are probably as shocked as we were to read that Kris, the money-grubbing matriarch on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and her very feminine husband Bruce Jenner are contemplating divorce. It’s not like couples on reality TV shows get divorced a lot or anything, right? Seriously, from Real Housewives stars to Jon and Kate Gosselin, whose marriage can survive once the cameras are on?
Jenner told TMZ, “Nobody is filling for divorce,” but the couple, married for 22 years, is officially separated and loving it. “Kris has her own place and I have my own place,” he added. “There’s no animosity. Everything is good.”
Kris told TMZ the same thing: ”We’re just happier living apart.”
Kim Kardashian remains the only one who has gotten divorced on the show after her staged-for-ratings marriage to Kris Humphries went belly up in just 72 days.
The Jenners are not the first couple – nor undoubtedly the last – whose relationship got nuked by the invasion of reality TV cameras. The curse actually began with the first reality TV series, An American Family, airing on PBS in 1973. Bill and Pat Loud filed for divorce in the middle of the project. (The couple was played wonderfully by James Gandolfini and Diane Lane in the 2011 HBO dramatization of the making of the series, Cinema Verite).
One of the first big splits in the modern era of reality TV was Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey from MTV’s Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica in 2003. After three years of marriage, they announced their split in 2005, months after the series’ end.
Hoping to strike ratings gold again in 2004, MTV aired Till Death Do Us Part: Carmen and Dave starring Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro, a one-season series about their wedding prep. They broke up less than three years later.
The first reality break up to really captivate the nation – and the editors of the celeb weeklies – was that of Kate and Jon Gosselin, the stars of TLC’s Jon and Kate Plus 8. These two hold the title of most public reality divorce. The show began in 2007 and by the fifth season, the on-air bickering between the two had even casual viewers sure they would either divorce or kill each other. Photos of Jon and other women on sites like TMZ didn’t help either. They finally announced their spilt on the on June 22, 2009, the most watched episode of the controversial series, drawing in 10.6 million viewers.
Of course, Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise has yielded tons of divorce drama – and has perhaps best mastered how to exploit it for the sake of the show.
How did Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Camille Grammar play her messy divorce from Frazier-superstar Kelsey after his romance with young British stewardess Kayte Walsh? She detailed the difference between Kelsey and her boyfriend (“eight inches”) on a talk show (“eight inches”) and then further denigrated poor Kelsey’s manhood right on RHOBH: “Big hands, big feet, and big disappointment.”
Camille’s costar on RHOBH, Brandi Glanville, has been having a brutal Twitter war with her ex-husband Eddie Cyprian’s new wife, LeAnn Rimes, for two years. She even wrote a book about their relationship, his illicit affair with the country singer, and putting her vaginal rejuvenation surgery charges on his credit card. Ouch.
RGOBH Adrienne Maloof and Dr. Paul Nassif, her plastic surgeon hubby of 10 years, split in August 2012. Their acrimonious divorce featured released photos of Adrienne with welts on her arms and back, purportedly inflicted by her “beast” husband, and a restraining order to stop Nassif from seeing her children.
The New York Housewives have contributed to the curse as well. Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel, already divorced from producer Peter Sussman, nabbed Jason Hoppy in 2010 and made a prop (and a baby-daddy) of him before and separating after less than three years of marriage. It got so nasty that a judge ordered the couple to stop secretly recording each other. And the nanny!
RHONY star LuAnn de Lesseps, aka Countess LuAnn or The Countess, split from her husband Count Alexandre de Lesseps in 2009 after 16 years of marriage. The Count was allegedly having an affair and had the unmitigated nerve tell to his wife about his outside interests after they celebrated their 16th wedding anniversary. Now that takes balls. Or a death wish.
Almost just a footnote since it was the only series in the Bravo franchise to not succeed, Real House Wives of D.C. stars Michaele and husband Tareq Salahi, best known as the Gate Crashers at a 2009 Obama White House bash, were married for 8 years. But after she had an affair with Journey guitarist Neal Schon, Tareq filed for a divorce in 2011. No more White House parties for these two.
Curiously, one of the strangest reality marriages of all time managed to survive the Reality Divorice Curse. MTV struck reality gold with The Osbournes in 2002, with cameras following rocker Ozzie Osbourne, his wife/manager Sharon, and their kids Jack and Kelly. Although Sharon has since revealed that after she found out Ozzie slipped back to his old drugging ways, she seriously considered a divorce.
As for the Kardashians, Khloe’s recently rumored split from Lamar Odom is no longer a sure thing. Despite the break-up buzz, the couple has been seen together in public. TMZ reported that Khloe even Tweeted love notes last week such as: Not all scars can be seen and not all love can be explained. The deepest love is also the hardest to express. Only those in it, understand … If I love u. Its a deep 4ever love. Ride til the end. Dont judge unless u r in it.
And don’t worry about poor Mr. Jenner. He will still appear on the family’s E! reality show, because, seriously, how else would he make any money? Plus there is always the nagging suspicion that the split is simply another scripted plot twist to keep us all glued to the set.
More celebrity news from TMZ: