So what happens when you put a bunch of potentially bitter ex-wives and -girlfriends on one reality show?
Nope. Not that.
This time, the TLC network promises they’re giving us something we haven’t exactly seen before. Tonight, Starter Wives Confidential premieres, and we’ll finally get to hear from some of the women who’ve been behind some of the men we’ve celebrated, cheered for or googled to learn more about.
This is less reality and more docudrama in its truest sense. Many of the women on this show—Zakia Baum (ex-girlfriend of Jermaine “Maino” Coleman), Cheryl Caruso (the ex-wife of mobster Phillip Caruso), Josie Harris (ex-gf of Floyd Mayweather), Monica Joseph-Taylor (the soon to be ex-wife of Aston “Funkmaster Flex” Taylor), Liza Morales (ex-girlfriend of Lamar Odom) and Tashera Simmons (ex of Earl “DMX” Simmons)—have been asked copious amounts of times to appear on other reality shows for other networks, or have been haunted down by media to land the other half of the story.
Many of them have denied sharing those intimate details…until now. So what was different?
“This is about the third show I was asked to do,” says Monica Joseph-Taylor. “The other two I turned down. It was two things: timing, and it was TLC. I felt safe with the network. When I knew who the other girls were, that they really were all wives who had been through what I had been through, I knew it was different than any other show in that way. I understand good TV. All the girls are telling a real story, and we’re all starter wives.”
What we’ll see in this series is group therapy. Tashera Simmons says she can’t reveal if she’s finally going to go through the divorce from DMX just yet (much of her storyline will center around that), but she’s at the best place in her life right now.
Each episode is an hour-long and gives the much-desired backstory of these women that have been seen (even seldom seen) but never heard from. They’ll talk about how they gave up their lives so their partners could have a famous one. And, of course, they’ll figure out how to pick up the pieces and move on to other ventures.
“I had to do this,” Simmons shares, adding that she’ll soon be releasing a book that documents her real-life experiences, including dealing with her husband having outside children while they were married and being humiliated on another reality show by him (last year’s Couples Therapy, which aired on VH1).
“The interesting part is, none of the women have ever spoken out before. None of them. This wasn’t about being famous for any of us,” says Monica Joseph-Taylor. “This wasn’t about becoming an actress later. It really was about a life that we had, and finally sharing this other side. A lot of times it is therapy. It is.”
Starter Wives Confidential will be about redirection, which is what the stars are hoping sets it apart from other shows. We shouldn’t expect any physical woman-on-woman action, thought there may be times of disagreement, Simmons says. We should expect women coming together over a shared bond, recounting past lives and moving into new ones.
“I just found that my life wasn’t working the way that I wanted it to go,” Joseph-Taylor says. “I wasn’t really happy. I had done everything I was supposed to do. I got married, I got the big house, we literally had two kids and a dog. I should just be so deliriously happy. I had done everything right. I got my college degree … I’d done everything.
“And then I realized, wait a minute! I never really asked myself, ‘what makes me happy?’ So here I am: I’m about to turn 40, and I don’t even know what made me happy. I didn’t know myself, because I had been so busy being a wife and a mother and a daughter. And who was I? So that’s when I stopped the judging. I just want to find out who I am. That was my process, and it wasn’t always easy.”
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EBONY Entertainment Editor