Reality Romance is Dead: Before ‘Jon & Kate,’ there was Jessica and Nick

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Reality romance cursed? Check out the track record

In case you live under a boulder, Jon and Kate Gosselin of TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus 8″ are splitting up. The Gosselin divorce, after 10 years of marriage and eight kids, is nothing new in the world of reality TV, where romances have crumbled on — and off — camera. Here’s a look at some other notable breakups:

NICK LACHEY AND JESSICA SIMPSON: This golden couple became household names on MTV’s “Newlyweds,” playing the role of adoringly patient husband and adorably ditsy wife. They became tabloid fodder as their 3-year marriage soured, rumors of infidelity swirled and fans cried, “We want the truth!” In a crude awakening for those who believe in “reality” love, Simpson filed for divorce in late 2005.

JASON MESNICK AND MELISSA RYCROFT: Mesnick flipped fans’ worlds upside when he dumped winner Rycroft for the runner-up, Molly Malaney. Rycroft moved on to “Dancing With the Stars” — a giant leap forward for her celebrity status. She can also take pleasure in rewatching the unintentionally hilarious “Bachelor” scene in which Mesnick sobs dramatically over a balcony. You dodged a bullet there, Melissa.

HULK AND LINDA HOGAN: After three seasons, the VH1 series “Hogan Knows Best” ended for good in 2007 as the wrestler’s family life took a dark turn. Supposedly, the Hulk cheated on Linda, who slapped down divorce papers and promptly began dating a 19-year-old version of her husband. Daughter Brooke Hogan has since gotten out the house — and her own reality show/trainwreck “Brooke Knows Best.”

DAVE NAVARRO AND CARMEN ELECTRA: OK, this union seemed built to last — and not because rocker Navarro and hottie Electra documented their wedded bliss for an MTV show called “‘Till Death Do Us Part: Carmen & Dave.” But because they seem like good people who could make it work (despite their rocky romantic track records). Sadly, they called it quits in 2006 after more than two years of marriage.

COUNT AND COUNTESS DE LESSEPS: This split happened off camera but grabbed gossip headlines. Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, one of the cast members on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York,” confirmed her separation from Count Alexandre de Lesseps in March, something the catty series didn’t catch. After 16 years on wife duty, the Countess-turned-etiquette author will keep her title and, presumably, her dignity.

HEF AND THE “GIRLS NEXT DOOR”: Hugh Hefner had three times the heartache last year when his closest girlfriends — Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson, who now has a bunny in the oven — dumped him and moved on to other opportunities. The Playboy mogul has since replaced them with 19-year-old twins and a busty blonde named Crystal.

PAT AND BILL LOUD: 1973’s “An American Family” has been regarded as the granddaddy of reality TV, when son Lance Loud came out of the closet before millions. But it was really a documentary, and as the 12-part series unfolded, viewers caught the very public dissolution of a marriage. Pat, cold as steel, informed her cheating husband Bill that she was divorcing him.

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