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Tori Spelling and the Sport of Celebrity Marriages

Tori SpellingTori Spelling is having marriage problems and she wants all of us to know it. Earlier this week Tori and her husband Dean McDermott started filming True Tori, a new reality series for Lifetime. Tori doesn’t just want us to know about her problems with Dean, she wants us to tune in and experience her marriage possibly falling apart.

I’m instantly sad that this is her impulse, but at my core I get it. I completely understand her desire to want to yell at the world and demand that we all look and rubberneck.

Like many of us, I grew up in an era where divorce seemed to be happening in everyone’s home. It was all hush-hush and behind closed doors, but suddenly my friends had two places to sleep and their birthday parties were extra awkward. Some friends had special safety code words they were sent to school with every day while their parents freaked out over custody battles in court. As kids, we all knew parts of what was going on. We knew a family was breaking up. Maybe someone was going to move.

Think about the kind of world that Tori grew up in: a child of the ’80s and a child completely enmeshed in the world of high drama. There haven’t been many moments of her adulthood that she hasn’t wanted to offer up to the public on a platter. This impulse to be seen, to be raw, to be open is constantly driving her and never seems to be sated.

This season on NBC’s Parenthood we’ve watched the marriage of characters Julia and Joel fall apart, and it has been beyond heartbreaking. Every episode I cringe and yet I am still rooting for this fabricated couple to get back together. The Today Show recently asked, “Are you Team Julia or Team Joel?”  Can we be on both? Can we be on team “they work it out and it’s going to be OK?”

I kept thinking about Julia and Joel as I was reading more about this Tori Spelling show. I am such a hopeless romantic and such a believer in love that it is crushing to see a marriage crumble. And yet there does seem to be some sport in watching celebrity marriages play out in public. When the news of the divorce uncoupling of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin surfaced, a lot of people seemed to actually cheer. Yes, celebrate.

That’s disgusting.

Perhaps by Tori inviting us into her life during this moment, she is hoping to show us she and her husband aren’t fictional characters; they are real people going through a real crisis.

Tori’s new show is said to “document the couple in almost real-time as they navigate the unknown road ahead, beginning when Dean leaves treatment.” He has been in treatment for sex addiction. Being on camera may be the only way these two know how to be accountable to each other right now. I wish them nothing but the best.

True Tori will premiere Tuesday, April 22 at 10 p.m

Image Credit: PCN

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