June 27, 2011 02:25 PM by Shayla Perry
NBC’s Marriage Ref just kicked off its second season on Sunday, and already, a former contestant of the show is blaming the series for breaking up his marriage. But was Jerry Seinfeld really at fault here?
In the series premiere of NBC’s The Marriage Ref, New Yorker, Howie Kohlenberg, 47, and his wife, Christine, appeared on the show in attempt to save their relationship — on national TV.
But in the days and weeks that followed, Kohlenberg says that things between him and his wife only got worse, and he claims that Seinfeld and the producers of The Marriage Ref are as much at fault as he is for his divorce, telling the New York Post that his 37-year-old wife left him and their 4 1/2-year-old son in pursuit of reality show stardom.
“The headline should read: ‘Jerry Seinfeld ruined my life: the danger of reality shows,’” Kohlenberg tells the paper. “Jerry, Mr. Billionaire, I blame. And his show.”
According to Howie, he and his wife were actually happily married when they auditioned for the NBC reality show, but were facing financial problems due to their failing spa business. The couple planned to use their appearance on The Marriage Ref to “drum up some business,” alleging that the producers promised that they’d promote the spa on air, but they didn’t.
“Our arguments were always over the business, but the argument they [the producers] wanted was that I took my wedding ring off when I played basketball,” says Kohlenberg.
“It wasn’t necessarily a true angle because she really didn’t care if I took it off or not.”
Kohlenberg also claims that before the show aired, producers were constantly commenting on his wife’s appearance, which led her to start getting frequent Botox injections, and wanting to pose for Playboy.
“We almost got kicked off the show because she was putting racy photos on Facebook,” says Howie. “I’m not saying our marriage was perfect, but it put it in a whole new direction. It was the nail in the coffin.
“She had all these ideas that ‘I have to live my life and be an actress.’”
After the segment aired, Christine flew to Los Angeles and landed a role as a pool girl in the indie comedy, “Chakra Love.” It was there that she met a producer from Canada, whom she later moved in with. She’s since appeared in a New York-based reality pilot, Shopaholics.
Christine did not return calls or emails requesting a comment.
“Everybody thinks reality shows are glamorous – you’re going to get rich, and it’s going to be the next Jersey Shore,” says Kohlenberg. “They make you jump through hoops, the bottom line is they don’t give a s**t. You’re just another number.”
Publicists for Jerry Seinfeld “respectfully declined” to comment on the matter.
What do you think… Does Howie Kohlenberg actually have a case here? Tell us your thoughts in the Comments section below.
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Photo Courtesy of NBC