Guess who was on the "Dating On Reality TV" panel at the Reality Rocks Expo in Los Angeles Saturday (April 9)?
They're not exactly dating, but they are carrying on a committed relationship on the marriage-killing Bravo series, "The Real Housewives of Orange County." Jim and Alexis Bellino talked about how they stay together amid the pressures and temptations of being reality stars.
According to the couple, they did six months of couples therapy before they even signed the contracts to join the show, which Jim calls "preventative maintenance."
"I think a lot of it is preventative maintenance and anticipating what's coming," he says. "I would never recommend anybody be on a reality show if you're in a marriage. I mean if you think about it, three of the four married couples on the housewives are now divorced. We're the only ones in the last few years who are married."
Apparently, the world of reality TV (and its fans) do love themselves a breakup.
"We wanted to make sure that our foundation was strong enough that it can handle being rocked by every possible thing you can have thrown at you," Alexis says. "And you do. Every temptation possible, every negativity possible, [Reality TV] wants to rip you apart. Not to mention that the producers would like that, because it makes the show's ratings much better. I think we just stayed strong and true and we let each other be each other and we're just trying to grow together through this instead of grow apart."
In fact, the couple says they went into "Real Housewives" with several rules in place to avoid temptation and keep their bond strong.
"We had a contract between us and our therapist before we even started the show," Jim explains. "And that was very important. We sat down and we wrote many rules."
Here are just six of the rules the couple shared while on the panel:
1) If one of them doesn't agree with something the producers have asked them to do, they won't do it.
2) They don't go to nightclubs without each other.
3) They won't go out with anyone of the opposite sex (unless the person is Alexis' gay assistant) without each other.
4) They don't respond to Facebook friend requests from people of the opposite sex.
5) They know each other's passwords on everything, including Facebook, Twitter and cell phones.
6) They won't go out on a "girls night out" or a "guys out night."
What do you think of Alexis and Jim's approach to marriage on reality TV?
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