The “Real Housewives” have taken over the airwaves, so it was only a matter of time before the male equivalent made their debut. Househusbands of Hollywood is a new series on the Fox Reality Channel focusing on the lives of five guys who raise the kids and keep the household humming. Former Major League Baseball player Billy Ashley (married to makeup designer and entrepreneur Lisa Ashley, two kids), aspiring actor Danny Barclay (married to Katherine, an attorney at a large L.A. law firm), actor and screenwriter Charlie Mattera (married to a psychologist who does not appear on the show, one kid), ex-Marine Corps sniper Grant Reynolds (married to TV personality Jillian Barberie Reynolds of “Good Day L.A.”, one kid and one on the way), and actor Darryl M. Bell, best known for his role in the long-running series “A Different World” (his partner of 16 years is Tempestt Bledsoe, who played Vanessa on “The Cosby Show”). We talked to four of the five guys about the show, how it affected their lives in a good way, and how long they plan on staying home with the kids. – Brett Singer
None of you started out as househusbands. With each of your wives, was there a conversation: you’re going to stay home and I’m going to go to work?
Charlie: My wife, she’s a psychologist, she has to see patients. Being that I’m a writer and an actor, and work [is] few and far between, it was a no brainer.
Grant: You sit there and look at your spouse and you’re like, shit, you’ve got the great gig right now. I mean, of course I could go out, be the man, and go out and get the job, you know, like The Beavers did, and everybody else from that stereotypical atomic family age. Or you could sit there and be real and go, man, she’s got a great job, she’s got great benefits, we’d be a fool to get rid of that gig and not have that carry us through, you know what I mean? If that’s what I’ve got to do to take care of my family, hey, I’m on board. Go to work, baby. I’ll hold the fort down until you get home.
Charlie: That’s part of being a guy, that’s part of being a man.
Billy: On our front, there hasn’t been any animosity towards the situation. I’ve done my thing. I played baseball. If I was still playing baseball right now, I’m sure her hours would be limited. And I’d still be the breadwinner.
Charlie: The worst part would be, Billy, you’d have some stranger in your house raising your kid.
Billy: Yeah, worst case scenario. But my wife loves her job. She loves being a makeup artist. So I would never ask her, ‘You know what honey? I’m gonna go out and find a job that probably wouldn’t even come close to what you’re making on your job. But you stay home with the kids.’ I would never do that.
Do any of you have help with the kids?
Charlie: I have my in-laws. On the weekends, my wife sometimes goes out there, and I’ll get a day off, which is really cool. And thank God for them, they’re great people. They make my life a lot easier.
Billy: And I don’t have any help at my house.
Charlie: Billy doesn’t need help.
Grant: We just hired help not too long ago. It just got to a point where I was like, you know, I think i’ve run the full course. It’s not full time help, it’s part time help. Jesus, it’s very helpful. But I think we just came to a point where I kind of wanted to get back to my wife a little bit. I felt like we totally neglected working on us, our relationship. I think some of the strains of that were starting to show. We didn’t want that kind of energy in the house around the baby. We don’t have family in town so we hired help. It has been the biggest pressure release on our relationship. We’ve been able to get back to enjoying one another, enjoying our little girl a lot more.
Billy: I don’t want to sound like I’m some kind of superdad, that I handle this all on my own. I get a six hour break during the school year. My kids are both in school.
Grant: Oh, I can’t wait for that day.
Billy: That’s built-in help right there. So you get that opportunity to go ahead and do the work around the house, do the work on the business, or do your own thing, whatever you need to do. Maybe Grant or Charlie or Danny, you can go hit an audition real quick.
Charlie: I take the baby with me to auditions.
Grant: I haven’t had to do that yet.
Charlie: I do it. I walk right in there, and I look at them like the most honest person, I go over to them and I say gimme your ID. The guy’s like what? I say gimme your ID. And I look at it and I go, I know who you are. Now watch the kid, I’ll be out in a minute. (Laughs) No, you know what, I’ve gone a couple of times, and usually I’ll bring a friend with me, and I’ll run in and do the audition, leave the baby with a buddy of mine, you know, for like five, ten minutes. It’s not like I’m goin’ up for Hamlet, so I’m only gonna be in there for about five minutes.