Gretchen Rossi and fiance Slade Smiley of The Real Housewives of Orange County fame took their relationship from one reality show to another, appearing on Marriage Boot Camp Reality Stars. They put their romance under a microscope, while surrounded by other reality TV stars.
YourTango got the exclusive scoop from the duo about why they agreed to do the show and basically engage in couple's therapy for the whole world to see, what they learned about each other, what the hell happened with Tanisha Thomas during the first episode, and their exciting baby plans!
YourTango: Why did you really decide to do this show? Was it more camera time or to work on your romance?
Gretchen: This isn't our first rodeo. On Housewives, they get into relationship issues, but they don't show things are resolved or the skills or what it takes to mend some of the issues you might have. We saw this as an opportunity to grow as a couple and learn. I've been married before and I want my next marriage to be forever and I did not want the lingering issues to get in the way of that. It was a great opportunity to share our story with our fans and possibly help them with what they are dealing with and to give them insight.
Slade: It was also an opportunity for fans to see us in a different light, one that a previous network was not willing to show.
YourTango: Gretchen, why did things escalate so quickly with Tanisha? She seemed to pounce on you on Day One, after you tried to break the ice!
Gretchen: It was an interesting interaction the first day, to say the least. I was nervous and I said I was 'The White Oprah' and then we hear the screaming and our bedroom was next door to her and Clive's. We were nervous we would not get any sleep!
YourTango: And you've gotta get proper rest so you can look good on camera … seriously!
Gretchen: Exactly. And you are there to work on your relationship but you can't think clearly since someone is screaming. But she really grew so much during the show and learned skills to cope with her anger. Thankfully, things calmed down.
YourTango: What did you learn from other couples on the show?
Slade: We learned we are not alone! Dealing with scrutiny and the opinions of outsiders can be tough. [The other couples] were wickedly funny and entertaining. You get us crying and going through hardships, but you also get the funnier side.
Gretchen: All of us learned little things from each other. Not one thing in particular stands out, but we had camaraderie and tried to help each other out. If there was an issue with one couple, we rallied around them, to give a different point of view than they had before. Our season is different since the first two seasons saw a lot of fighting. With our group, there was camaraderie. There was a level of respect.
YourTango: How are you now, coming out the other side of the show?
Gretchen: It was challenging and difficult, but we had no idea what we were getting into when we signed up for it. We thought, 'OK, this will be good.' Slade and I don't have a lot of issues, so we thought, 'We'll address the few we do have.' But it was a lot harder than we anticipated, both individually and as a couple. At one point, he was ready to leave the show. He was done. And there is a twist that even took me by surprise. Fans will not be disappointed and I do not regret doing this. We're in a much better place because of it!
YourTango: What's new with your baby-making plans?
Gretchen: We are excited. We are working with an amazing fertility doctor. We have met with him a few times. Hopefully, we will have some good news to report soon!