Fans of the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" are not surprised by the breakup of Adrienne Maloof and Paul Nassif's marriage. In Season 1, we met the couple as a modern day Bickersons. In their very first scene they giggled about their political oppositions. Then Adrienne demonstrated how she could use her martial arts skills to kick her hubby's doctor arse, if needed. They didn't exactly come across as having the warm, cuddly love of their castmates Kyle Richards and Mauricio Umansky.
Still, Adrienne and Paul were likeable characters separately and together. Their rare displays of romantic love were endearing. When Paul bought Adrienne an exotic dog, viewers teared up. Still, much of the time, the type-A business powerhouse and mogul Maloof often seemed on edge and agitated at her husband. However, we don't know how much of that is due to editing.
Now, the uber wealthy couple has filed dueling divorce decrees despite the fact that there's a prenuptial agreement in place. Adrienne is a Maloof, after all. Her on-screen rival Lisa Vanderpump may snicker about her shoe line being "The Maloof Hoof," but Adrienne's family owns private jets, exclusive homes, a casino, and even a sports franchise. Paul, according to the divorce documents, also has his financial life as a successful plastic surgeon to protect.
It's not the first time that viewers have witnessed the married lives of the "Real Housewives" crash and burn. Perhaps the most famous marriage failings in the Bravo's franchise history come from Beverly Hills. Sure the "Real Housewives of Atlanta" had the fall of NeNe Leakes and hubby Gregg, but that pales in comparison to the Camille and Kelsey Grammer debacle. Just this week Kelsey slung new dirt toward his ex-wife on his "Oprah's Next Chapter" interview on OWN.
One of the saddest marital situations of all was between Taylor and Russell Armstrong of "RHBH." Their strained interactions were awkward to watch. The allegations of violence and abuse were heart-wrenching. When Russell ultimately killed himself, viewers wondered whether these shows were going too far.
So is reality TV destructive to marriages?
These modern day "reality" soap operas are intended as entertainment. A loving couple fawning over each other is interesting for about 10 minutes. Of course, if you cover 20 marriages, half will probably fail. That's not a reality television statistic, that's a fact of modern marriage.
However, the producers of these shows may want to provide more support and counseling for these couples behind the scenes. Making a relationship work behind closed doors is challenging enough. Can you imagine trying to do so under the glare of the camera?
It will be interesting to see how this latest split is covered in the upcoming season. Adrienne and Paul may no longer love each other, but viewers still love them!
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