Entries in The Marriage Ref (1)


NY Man Blames Jerry Seinfeld for Reality TV Show Divorce: 'It Is His Show'

Paul Drinkwater/NBC(NEW YORK) -- Howie Kohlenberg and ex-wife Christine joined reality TV show The Marriage Ref for their 15 minutes of fame. Instead, they saw the end of their 15-year marriage. Now, Kohlenberg, the jilted husband, is blaming the NBC show and its executive producer, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, for the breakup of his marriage.

"It is his show. He is co-creator, co-producer," Kohlenberg told ABC News of Seinfeld's alleged role in his marriage's demise. "His crew and his producers got us souped up that we could be stars the next day."

Kohlenberg alleges those dreams of stardom pushed by the show pushed his wife to leave him and their four-and-a-half-year-old son behind as well, bolting for Los Angeles and an acting career after the couple's Marriage Ref segment aired.

The Kohlenbergs put themselves among a pool of thousands of applicants to appear on the show, on which three celebrities pick a side in a real-life marital dispute, in hopes of helping their now-defunct Manhattan spa business.

"The show producers said that it would really pump up the publicity," Kohlenberg said. "I felt it could be fun."

Kohlenberg and his now-former wife were picked for the show's debut episode, but when it aired March 4, 2010, the focus was instead on, Kohlenberg says, a manufactured dispute.

"I take my wedding ring off twice a week to play basketball, and the producers loved that angle," Kohlenberg said. "We embellished it a little, saying I go out and party with the guys."

But, in real life, Kohlenberg said, it was only money issues that sometimes strained their otherwise-happy marriage. "She didn't really care when I took my wedding ring off or not," he said.

The show's reps had no comment, but Seinfeld told the New York Daily News that he found the whole thing amusing.

"I love it, I love, I love it. When people get upset, I enjoy it," Seinfeld said."That he's having problems, and blaming me, it's all, anything that alleviates the withering, blithering boredom of existence I'm in favor of."

The couple's divorce was finalized three months ago. ABC News was unable to reach Christine but Kohlenberg says his ex-wife moved to Canada, where she lives with her producer-boyfriend.

While Kohlenberg is convinced Seinfeld and his reality TV show are to blame for his marriage's demise, experts say when reality television and romance collide, it's usually as much about the couple as the show.

"I absolutely do not think that Jerry Seinfeld's show broke up this marriage," Los Angeles-based psychologist Michelle Golland told ABC News. "When a couple is on a reality TV show, it can give them a new perspective," she said. "The glaring spotlight of reality television really highlights the dysfunction."

Kohlenberg says he is now on the brink of bankruptcy and has been forced to move out of his apartment, but has no plans to sue either the show or Seinfeld.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio