You might know Mark McGrath as the lead singer of rock band Sugar Ray, or as the host of "Extra" and the "Pussycat Dolls Present" shows, or from when he ruled the school on "Celebrity Jeopardy" as a three-time champ.
You may not know that he's a self-described "psychotic 'Wife Swap' fan," and that's why he jumped at the chance to go on the show himself with wife Carin. "I love that show!" McGrath told Yahoo! TV, adding that he watches it in reruns on Lifetime, as well as the new episodes on ABC. "I just really, really like the show a lot," so when he was offered a swap spot, he thought it would be "kinda goofy and kinda fun" to do it.
"One thing I've learned is, there's a million ways to raise children, and we're all doing something wrong at some time," McGrath said, so he jumped at the chance to see how another family did things, and learn from it.
Not that he wasn't apprehensive about exposing his twins, Lydon and Hartley, to the spotlight, but since the toddlers "have already gotten blown up in the public a little bit," McGrath chose to see that worry as an opportunity. "I think there's a way to introduce [the kids] into that world, and do it in a fun, and most importantly not exploitative, way."
He added that his concerns "were quickly alleviated" when he met the swapped wife, hip-hop star Coolio's girlfriend Mimi, and it didn't trouble him that Mimi works as an exotic dancer. "Certainly I'm used to that," he commented, although he did say that "having them in-side my house, that was kinda strange." But it didn't affect McGrath's opinion of Mimi's parenting. He called her "a great mom," and spoke admiringly of her independence: "She's had to kick ass a lot on her own, and do a lot on her own, so I was very impressed by her."
Impressed… but taken aback, at first, by Mimi's take on his parenting. "You know, we're all perfect parents in our minds," McGrath joked. "We do everything right, we judge everybody else, 'how could they do this, how could they do that.'" When the tables turned, though, it stung. "To have to be judged in my house about the way I was parenting? That was very difficult."
But it's "part of the 'Wife Swap' experience," McGrath laughed, and families have to "just kind of surrender to it. You understand why you're there!" As a super-fan, he gets it, but "it's interesting to have that mirror turned on you."
He doesn't think he'll find himself cringing when the episode airs on March 5 -- "there wasn't a lot of alcohol involved, so I didn't embarrass myself too much" -- because viewers will see how important family is to him. "If I come off as a cheesy dad because I love my kids too much, well, that's a victory, for me." In fact, McGrath's eager to see the episode himself, and find out how wife Carin's stories about her experiences tie in. He's glad he participated: "'Wife Swap' has a great way of showing all the different lifestyles and parenting skills in America … that it's all about family, and there's many ways you can do it."
Watch the full previous ep right here as Kendra takes on Kate's "Plus 8":
"Celebrity Wife Swap" airs Tuesdays at 8 PM on ABC.
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