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August 21, 2014

Biggest Reality TV Break-Ups

by Chris Jordan, posted Jun 1st 2010 4:00PM
You don't need us to tell you that maintaining a relationship is not easy. Well, maintaining a relationship with TV cameras on is all but impossible. So we're not surprised by the breakup of Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, not in the least. We present to you a list of other notorious, unlucky-in-love reality TV break-ups:

The Bachelors -- ABC's 'The Bachelor' is an entity unto itself when it comes to reality TV breakups. Simply put, the show has a terrible record of couples staying together. How bad? Try one for 14 (or two for 14 if you count Jason Mesnick and Molly Malaney, technically a runner-up, from Season 13, which we won't).

The only Bachelor couple still on is the most recent, Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi, and frankly, we don't see that one lasting long. Most Bachelor couples, like Season 3's Jen Schefft and Andrew Firestone, split after a couple of months and there have been a few others to last a year or two.

Season 7's Charlie O'Connell and Sarah Brice had been on-again/off again since 2005, but they made headlines in April when they announced they were off again.

'The Bachelorette' has a better record: two of five. Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter from Season 1 are married with two kids and Season 5's Jillian Harris and Ed Swiderski are engaged. Bachelor and Bachelorette breakups are usually quiet affairs that happen away from the camera, but that wasn't the case for...

Jason Mesnick and Melissa Rycroft -- Mesnick, a single dad from the state of Washington, was rejected by DeAnna Pappas on 'The Bachelorette,' so he came back as 'The Bachelor' in Season 13. Molly Malaney and Melissa Rycroft where the finalists and Mesnick chose the adorable Rycroft, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. No surprise there. But wait! In the 'After the Final Rose' special on March 2, 2009, Mesnick did a stunning about face.

"The chemistry started changing," Mesnick said. "I still do have feelings for Molly."

Ouch! The breakup was a visceral, compelling and riveting experience for viewers, fixating because this really was a break-up. On national TV. Mesnick came off as cold and callous and Rycroft as the wounded victim. Mesnick and Malaney were married earlier this year during a 'Bachelor' special and Rycroft parlayed her notoriety into a season on ABC's 'Dancing with the Stars' and a gigs on 'Entertainment Tonight' and 'Good Morning America.' Oh, she married a gent named named Tye Strickland later in 2009


Bill and Pat Loud -- Reality TV breakups are nothing new. In fact, they date back almost 40 years. In 1971, PBS filmed the Loud family of Santa Barbara, Calif. to document the experiences of a typical American family in 'An American Family.' What they found were parents Bill and Pat Loud separating: Pat asked Bill to move out and she also asked for a divorce. The family was featured on the cover of Newsweek in 1973, the year of its airing, and have been the subject of subsequent specials, including 'An American Family Revisited: The Louds 10 Years Later' on HBO in 1983 and 'Lance Loud!: A Death in an American Family,' which detailed the passing of the openly gay son Lance, 2003 on PBS. HBO is now working on a movie about the making of the series.


Rick Rockwell and Darva Conger -- Fox's 'Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?' was quite a novel -- and controversial -- idea in early 2000. In it, 50 women would compete to be the bride of a wealthy stranger that they could only see in silhouette. The winner would marry the multi-millionaire at the end of the show. Well, Darva Conger won the chance to be Rick Rockwell's wife, but the two did not live happily ever after. Conger wanted an annulment after the 'honeymoon' and controversy swirled around Rockwell about a restraining order an ex had placed on him. Conger, for her part, posed for Playboy. Looking back, this show taught viewers not to expect lasting love on reality TV. Lasting infamy, maybe; lasting love, nope.


Jon and Kate Gosselin -- The Gosselins started out as the stars of a rather benign big-family (eight kids, twins and sextuplets) reality show on Discovery Health and later TLC and they disintegrated into tabloid train wrecks, thanks to their break up. Along the way, we had Jon cheating and running around in Ed Hardy T-shirts and later a slightly unhinged Kate on ABC's 'Dancing with the Stars.' The break-up show in June 2009 attracted 10.4 million viewers, so we cared for a minute. What about the children? Lawmakers from Pennsylvania, where much of 'Jon & Kate Plus Eight' was filmed, are looking into revamping child labor laws there to protect the development of child performers. Hmm, these new laws just might affect the planned 'Kate Plus Eight' TLC series, which is scheduled to be shot in the state.


Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson -- There was a sweetness to 'Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica,' which debuted in Aug. of '03. Two good looking kids, newlyweds, learning about married life and each other. Lachey and Simpson, both singers, were good reality TV stars as they genuinely seemed to let their defenses down during the series, which ran until '05. The famous Chicken of the Sea exchange (Simpson questioned whether Chicken of the Sea was chicken or tuna) was emblematic of this; it showed a realness that subsequent reality TVers are too reserved to show. Our loss. Alas, it was too good to be true. Lachey and Simpson filed for divorce a few months after the final episode.


Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston -- Bravo's 'Being Bobby Brown' was a revelation in 2005. Before the show, the perception of the marriage was that Houston was the church-going good girl trying to reform hood-centric Brown. To that we say hell to the no. 'Being Bobby Brown' portrayed Houston as relatively unstable, prone to incoherent rants, while Brown was the relatively stable one. But you know what? They seemed a perfect fit, willing to do things for each other that we won't mention in polite company. But we assure you, how Bobby relieved Whitney's constipation was an act of love. We were shocked when they filed for a separation in 2006 and divorced in 2007.

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