Reality Couples Head to Divorce Court ... but Why?

Maybe flaunting your love on TV isn't such a good idea after all.

The trend of documenting marriage for the whole world to “awww” about seems to have backfired on celebrity couples like Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro, Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey and Shanna Moakler and Travis Barker, all of whom recently announced that their happily-ever-afters were headed for divorce court.

But why can’t these once seemingly blissful couples keep it together? Experts say it's less about the shows and more about the personalities behind the players.

“The people who would agree to do these shows are exhibitionists and narcissists and they tend to want all the attention and focus on themselves," said Laguna Hills, Calif., psychiatrist Jack Singer, who specializes in divorce and relationships.

Regardless of the impact on their relationship, "Anytime someone offers them a chance to up their fan base, they’ll jump," he said.

Singer feels most couples can't benefit from airing their dirty laundry on television.

“People don’t need to practice communication onscreen,” he said. “A producer of one of those reality couple shows approached me (about a client) and I said ‘No.’”

But beyond personalities, what often dooms reality couples is their blatant, unwavering desire to get ahead in show business, experts say.

“In the case of Whitney and Bobby, it was a chance to reinvigorate their career. People were rumoring that her voice wasn’t the same or that they didn’t have a lot of money,” said Jared Shapiro, senior news and entertainment editor of Life & Style Magazine.

That said, Houston and Brown were known for having a rocky relationship long before their 2005 reality show "Being Bobby Brown."

Shapiro said that in some cases, the shows might have actually helped troubled couples.

“If you look at the case of Carmen and Dave (who appeared together on 'Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen & Dave'), Nick and Jessica (who appeared on MTV's 'Newlyweds') and Britney and Kevin (Spears and Federline, who starred in 'Britney & Kevin: Chaotic') they were all rumored to have broken up before these shows aired. Maybe the show was one of the reasons they stayed together at all,” he said.

While it may seem like a shock when a perfectly happy onscreen couple hits the skids, savvy viewers suspect that these televised "reality" duos were playing a part all along.

“I’ve seen 'Newlyweds.' I thought that some of the time they were being real and at times they were playing to the camera," said University of Miami student Gray Rifkin, 20. “I wasn’t sure if the conversations that they had on TV would have been had if the cameras weren’t there … like did Jessica Simpson really think tuna was chicken?”

But every now and then a reality couple presents themselves as "what you see is what you get."

VH1’s "My Fair Brady" stars Christopher Knight (who played Peter on the "Brady Bunch") and Adrianne Curry (winner of the first season of "America’s Next Top Model") met and fell in love in our very own living rooms on VH1's "The Surreal Life: 4."

Unlike some of the aforementioned couples, Knight and Curry exposed their vulnerabilities, fears, insecurities and flaws on "My Fair Brady." However, rather than letting their issues come between them, they tried to learn from them.

“The situation has tempered us and it has transformed us,” Knight told “We wouldn’t have been together if it wasn’t for the cauldron that brewed us,” he said, referring to their reality shows.

“I’m so grateful. I wouldn’t do a damn thing different,” Curry said.

But with a more than 20-year age difference and varying opinions, how do they plan to stay afloat when so many other reality couples have sunk?

“We go to counseling, and our relationship is so much better than it would have been. We both learned each other's fears and mental problems very early and we are dealing with them. I think we can survive anything,” Curry said.

Knight and Curry live outside of Hollywood, which they also feel contributes to their stability.

“We live in Manhattan Beach," Curry said. "Something I notice about the other couples, and I’m not bashing them because it’s the business, but all of the other people live in LA. We’re real. We hang out with normal people. People in Hollywood get very caught up with image and rumors and go clubbing, which is something to do when you're single. Once the rumors come then you start questioning things."

Knight blames Hollywood egos for his colleagues' splits.

“Careers are never static, the chances of both careers pointing up at the same time is unrealistic .... the whole career aspiration part of Hollywood is that you get your value from your audience. You are putting too much of your worth into strangers’ hands and then you start believing the press.”

But Shapiro doesn't think ambition is to blame for reality couples' breakups, nor are the shows themselves.

“I don’t think couples break up because they did a reality show. I think the reality show is a result of their volatile dynamic. Cute, regular couples don’t get a reality show. You want to see the people who throw something at their spouse, kick them out and then have crazy make up sex.”