One thing is clear early in the premier episode of Hollywood Exes. The relationships between this small group of women are genuine and not fabricated for the camera. Many of the ladies have known each other one way or another for years, with the one exception being Andrea Kelly, ex-wife of R&B singer R. Kelly.
Andrea and Kelly met when she was one of his dancers and a choreographer. Despite ten years of marriage which produced three children, Andrea and Kelly no longer speak.
Tired of living in the shadow of her famous ex, Andrea relocates to Los Angeles from Chicago with her confidant and assistant Tony. Her goal is to open her own dance studio and jump start her now defunct career. Viewers will relate to Andrea, she is the stranger in a strange land, entering into an exclusive club of women who are bonded by, among other things, the ups and downs of being both married and then divorced from a celebrity.
The only person that Andrea knows in LaLa Land is her close friend Nicole Murphy, the stunning ex of comedian/actor Eddie Murphy. Nicole and Eddie were married for almost thirteen years and have five children. “Some people they outgrow each other. Unfortunately, that’s what happened,” Nicole says of her relationship with Eddie. Unlike Andrea, Nicole maintains a friendly relationship with her ex. Nicole laments the loss of all the financial perks that go along with being married to someone famous such as private jets, maids, private chefs and a large home. “Eventually, you learn to adapt.” Nicole is currently engaged to retired to football player Michael Strahan and is trying to develop both clothing and jewelry lines.
During the premiere of Hollywood Exes we also meet Sheree Fletcher who was married to Will Smith for three years and divorced him seventeen years ago. Will and Sheree met at a taping of A Different World. After a whirlwind courtship the couple married after eight months. “I think what went wrong with Will and I, I don’t think we had enough of a foundation. I think we were too young. I know now that I went in with very unrealistic expectations. But now my relationship with Will is good,” Fletcher says of her marriage to Will. They have a nineteen-year-old son Trey. She is remarried to ex-pro football player Terrell Fletcher who is currently a pastor.
The audience is also introduced to Mayte Garcia during the Hollywood Exes premiere. Mayte met the musician Prince when she was just sixteen years old. She joined his band as a dancer after graduating from high school and the relationship progressed from professional to personal. They were married just four years and they divorced twelve years ago. Mayte tells the viewers, “Prince and I don’t speak. I just wish him the best.”
Mayte lives with her mother and a bevy of animals. She’s an actress eager to break into movies. She has not remarried and is currently looking for love. So much so, that she hires a matchmaker to help her find the right guy.
We find out during her initial consultation with the love guru that Prince isn’t Mayte’s only famous ex. Mayte also dated and became engaged to Tommy Lee, but the relationship fizzled when Lee said he didn’t want to have any more kids.
The final member of the group is Jessica Canseco, ex-wife of the scandal-plagued ex professional baseball player Jose Canseco. Canseco met Jose when she was a nineteen-year-old waitress in Cleveland, Ohio. They were married four years, divorced eleven years ago and have one daughter together. Jessica owns her own “cosmetic and medical tattooing business” in Beverly Hills. Jessica, unlike her co-stars, says she has no desire to be in a relationship.
The Hollywood Exes premiere has a few highlights, the strangest being Jessica Canseco receiving External Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation while Nicole Murphy watches. Canseco explains, “It makes everything the same color. It tightens everything on the outside—looks like a twelve year old.”As if the procedure doesn’t seem disturbing enough, that statement adds to the ick factor. “You can’t hide your age with your neck, well you can’t hide your age with your vagina,” Canseco says.
If you’re the type of person that would enjoy having your best friend sitting side by side with your gynecologist during a pap smear, than this scene probably won’t bother you. Otherwise, it seems strange that Murphy sticks around for the procedure. We’ll chock Murphy’s willingness to stand by her friend to freakish curiosity. When finished, Canseco asks Murphy to lunch to which she replies “I kind of lost my appetite,” she says. “I think I’ll get a drink.”
Later in the episode, Nicole arranges a dinner party for Andrea to meet the rest of the women. Whereas many dinner parties on other reality shows turn into occasions for confrontation and cattiness, these women quickly bond. Soon the other wives are offering Andrea support and advice on how to move on after the divorce. This is something all of the Hollywood Exes seemed to do pretty well.
We hope this show continues to focus on the camaraderie between the women and doesn’t disintegrate into a table throwing, cat fighting cliché. It is all too common to see women on reality TV tearing each other down and viewing each other as adversaries.
If you were expecting or even hoping that Hollywood Exes would be about bitter women trashing their famous exes and each other, it looks like you might be disappointed. So far the worst thing that might come out of Hollywood Exes is an increase in External Laser Vaginal Rejuvenations.