The Reality TV Couples Curse

10 pairs that broke it off – and five others that stayed together

Bruce and Kris Jenner.
Kevin Winter/Tonight Show/Getty Images for The Tonight Show
October 10, 2013 7:00 AM ET

Plenty of pairings don't make it, but reality TV is a serious buzzkill when it comes to relationships. With the news of Bruce and Kris Jenner's separation after 22 years of marriage, we looked at 10 couples that broke up after shooting together – and five more who have stayed together.

Who Are the Most Violent Stars on Reality TV?

Bruce and Kris Jenner
The façade has cracked. (And we're not talking about Bruce's face.) After months of speculation, Bruce and Kris Jenner confirmed that they were separated. Married for over two decades, the Keeping Up With the Kardashians couple built a multimillion-dollar empire since launching the series in 2007, which produced three spin-offs and helped Kris nab a daytime talk show. The E! show is expected to continue and will feature Bruce in a new home. But how long can they really continue keeping it up?

Jon and Kate Gosselin
After having sextuplets (and twins), the Gosselins got their own show, Jon & Kate Plus 8, in 2007. But by season five, the duo started showing signs of strain, and filed for divorce in 2009. The episode in which they announced their breakup raked in a record-breaking 10.6 million viewers for TLC. While Kate soldiered on for two seasons on Kate Plus 8, non-stop tabloid gossip – from Jon's womanizing and playboy lifestyle to Kate's diva-like antics – overshadowed the show, and the family has been out of the limelight for two years.

Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian
At a reported cost of $20 million, Kris and Kim were married on-air for her E! show Keeping Up With the Kardashians – but the union lasted just 72 days. Broken down, that translates to more than $250,000 a day spent on their time as husband and wife. But fans got paid back in spades with endless tabloid tales, since the divorce took a whopping 20 months to finalize. While technically still married, Kim started dating Kanye West and got pregnant with baby North West.

Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson
Was it chicken or was it fish? Either way, it spelled divorce. Many say Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica is where the reality TV curse started. In 2003, both of the pop stars' careers needed a boost, and that's exactly what the MTV show provided. But it also drove their relationship into the spotlight, and following three years of marriage, they divorced.  Jessica now has two children with football player/fiancé Eric Johnson and Nick is married to Vanessa Minnillo. And Chicken of the Sea is still, uh, tuna.

Linda and Hulk Hogan
After almost 25 years of marriage and four seasons of Hogan Knows Best on VH1, Hulk and Linda threw in the towel. Their breakup provided a feeding frenzy for gossip sites, as Hulk supposedly cheated on Linda with one of their daughter Brooke’s friends. Then, after the split, 49-year-old Linda got engaged to 19-year-old Charlie Hill, who went to high school with Brooke. After a stint on VH1’s Relationship Rehab, that romance ended. But the family is still the gossip gift that keeps on giving. In 2012, a sex tape featuring the Hulkster, who’s now remarried, was leaked on the Internet. Whatcha gonna do, brother?

Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston

The 2005 Bravo program Being Bobby Brown stands frozen in time as a sign of things to come. Speculation about Whitney's drug use ran rampant after the single-season show aired. (First rearing its head in 2001, when the rail-thin star performed at a Michael Jackson concert and later declared "crack is wack.") The unlikely pair of Bobby and Whitney married in 1992, divorcing 15 years later – and just a year-and-a-half after the show concluded its run. After struggling to pull her life and career back together, Whitney died in 2012.

Dave Navarro and Carmen Electra
Remember 'Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen and Dave? Maybe not, but who can forget the couples' creepy-romantic wedding invitations, which featured them naked and holding hands while laying on metal gurneys in a morgue? The short-lived, seven-episode 2004 MTV series followed the rocker and the Baywatch babe as they planned their unorthodox union. (Carmen was previously married to Dennis Rodman – for nine days.) Despite the title, Carmen and Dave didn't last forever: They divorced in 2007.

Kevin Federline and Britney Spears
While Britney and K-Fed's short-lived reality show Britney and Kevin: Chaotic likely didn't cause their split – because, really, did anyone watch all five episodes? – the title defined their relationship. The series, which aired in 2005 on UPN (now the CW), was shot through their eyes, since they filmed each other using hand-held videocams. Married in 2004, the couple's whirlwind relationship ended less than three years later and produced two children. Soon after, Britney suffered a public breakdown, which saw her shave her head, check into rehab and almost lose her kids before cleaning up her act.

Bret Michaels and Kristi Gibson
You may not remember her, but Kristi was Bret's on-off girlfriend for 18 years and the mother of his two daughters. The couple was featured on the 2010 VH1 reality show Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It, which lasted just one season and culminated in Bret proposing in the final episode. A year-and-a-half later, the engagement was called off. We're not sure what happened behind the scenes, but it seems like a woman who sticks by you through three seasons of the booze-and sex-fueled Rock of Love – not to mention all those years of fronting Poison – should be a keeper, no?

Travis Barker and Shanna Moakler
While they appeared to be a normal(-ish) family on MTV's Meet the Barkers, the Blink-182 drummer and former Miss USA-turned-Playboy model have had a tumultuous real-life relationship fill with break-ups, make-ups and more break-ups. After they married in 2004, two seasons of the show aired and Barker filed for divorce in 2006. The next two years was a roller-coaster ride of nasty public feuds peppered with brief reconciliations until they ultimately divorced in 2008. . . only to get back together again. The final nail seemed to come in 2009, the last time the couple were a public item.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Movies Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.