The Reality TV Curse: Does Starring on Reality TV Show Really Destroy Your Marriage?

It looks like Teresa Giudice and Joe Giudice, famed for their appearance on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, are officially calling it quits. The announcement of their separation didn’t come as a big surprise, partly because they’ve spent years apart due to prison sentences, and partially because marriages followed by the cameras of reality TV shows don’t generally survive long-term. Why is that, though? Is the stress just too much, or is there some kind of reality TV curse?

The ladies of The Real Housewives franchise haven’t fared well in love

The Giudices are only the most recent romantic casualty in a long line of failed marriages for the stars of The Real Housewives. Gina Kirschenheiter decided to take a role on The Real Housewives of Orange County at an interesting time. Kirchenheiter filed for divorce before her first season on the show was up. She quickly reconciled with her husband, Matthew Kirschenheiter, before deciding to split once again amid suspicions of domestic violence, according to Radar Online. Kirchenheiter has stated that she doesn’t blame the show for her relationship troubles but likely wouldn’t have done it if she knew how everything would turn out.

Adrienne Maloof and Paul Nassif called it quits while Maloof was appearing on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Nassif, in all fairness, is a reality TV star in his own respect. He appeared on Botched. All the captured bickering probably didn’t do much to help shore up their relationship, and they filed for divorce during the third season of the show. Maloof and Nassif have both moved on. Nassif has remarried while Maloof is dating.

There are plenty more Real Housewives casualties, too. Danielle Staub split from her husband of just three months in September 2018. Phedra Parks and Apollo Nida called it quits after appearing on Real Housewives of Atlanta for four seasons, and Camille and Kelsey Grammer put an end to their marriage after the first season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Couples already acquainted with celebrity don’t fare much better

One could blame the divorce curse associated with The Real Housewives with the fact that many of the stars aren’t acquainted with the life of a celebrity when they join. That, however, doesn’t explain why already seasoned celebrities have also fallen victim to the curse. In fact, there have been several high profile couples who headed to divorce court after appearing on reality TV shows.

Everyone will remember when sickeningly sweet, Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, finalized their divorce just four years after tying the knot. The former couple has become a bit of a cautionary tale. The pair were already acquainted with life in front of the camera but still floundered when reality TV came calling. The same was true for Travis Barker and Shanna Moakler, who split after the second season of their show, Meet the Barkers. Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries’ short-lived union was likely further stressed by their on-camera interactions, too.

What is causing these relationships to fail?

Being unlucky in love isn’t exclusive to reality TV stars. Divorce is common, with many studies suggesting the divorce rate in the United States hovers somewhere around 50%. It seems like reality tv marriages are ending at a much higher rate, but there might a good reason. Celebrities, in general, have a higher than average divorce rate.

Teresa Giudice (L) and husband Joe Giudice attend Bravo's "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" season two premiere
Teresa Giudice (L) and Joe Giudice | Mike Coppola/Getty Images

According to Bravo, the stress of allowing the world to look in on one’s life can create problems in the marriage. More importantly, rewatching the daily bickering that goes unnoticed by most, could lead to a person questioning their decisions and their partner. Distance can also lead to problems within a marriage, especially ones that are not used to operating with a lot of physical and emotional space.

There is more, though. Reality TV couples who choose to appear on shows together, often give up all of their privacy in the name of entertainment. When couples don’t have anything to fall back on as private, they feel more distant, argues a marriage expert. So, are reality TV stars actually cursed? Not really. Those who choose to appear on reality TV often just don’t know what they are taking on when they sign the contract.