How to Avoid Becoming a 'Starter Wife'
3 months ago
New TLC show follows the first spouses to famous men
Despite the ever-widening sea of reality TV, it's become evident that the stories of "Real Housewives," "Basketball Wives," "Hollywood Exes," and the relationships of "Love & Hip-Hop" resonate most (just look at how many variations there are). But it's TLC's latest show that's truly putting many women's still-unexplored circumstances front and center, unapologetically and directly in its title: "Starter Wives Confidential."
The starter wife: defined as one half of a marriage that lasts five years or less. Or, more harshly -- but perhaps more truthfully -- "a man's first wife that usually marries out of love and helps him achieve wealth, power, etc., but is then promptly discarded upon reaching said goal for a younger more attractive woman." In reviewing the stories of the women featured in "Starter Wives," that definition isn't far from the truth.
"Starter Wives Confidential" follows the ex-wives, ex-fiancées, ex-girlfriends, and mothers to the children of seven celebrities -- rappers 50 Cent, DMX and Maino, basketball star Lamar Odom, boxer Floyd Mayweather, DJ Funkmaster Flex, and mobster Philip Caruso -- whose once-solid relationships suddenly failed under the pressure of fame, mistresses, death, domestic abuse and crime.
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The women, as seen in the premiere episode, describe their status as "someone who was there from the beginning," "someone who raised the kids" and, in the words of Tashera Simmons -- DMX's ex-wife and mother to four of his children -- the "ride-or-die" chick.
Although Monica Joseph-Taylor, who has two kids with her soon-to-be ex-husband, Funk Flex, isn't sold on that final concept.
"'Ride or die' is something some guy made up one day and never thought women would go for, and we were dumb enough to believe it," she says. "A ride-or-die chick thought that if she did what he said and made him comfortable, that she would get [what she wanted], but in the end, she's void of hope, she's wasted five years, she's got two babies, and now what?"
Her advice? "I'd say if ride-or-die is required, run."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 10 percent of all women are divorced by age 30; 20 percent of all marriages fail within five years; and, of those, 1 in 4 ends within two years. So how can you avoid becoming the starter wife?
Scott Stanley, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver, points to a number of factors.