Entertainment

Tareq Salahi says Michaele left for more money, fame

Sep. 23, 2011 at 10:25 AM ET

Why did Michaele Salahi leave her husband for Journey’s Neal Schon? According to the rocker, the decision was all about their “fairytale” romance, but Tareq Salahi has another take on it.

Tareq Salahi sat down with TODAY’s Matt Lauer on Friday and explained why he first believed his wife was abducted, how he learned the truth and just what he thinks is really behind what he considers her betrayal.

According to Salahi, the day he discovered his wife was missing, all seemed fine. The two were actively scheduling interviews to discuss the death of “Real Housewives of Beverley Hills” star Russell Armstrong, and at first, he believed she was simply out speaking to the media. Then, hours later, she contacted him.

“I got a call at 7 o’clock from an Oregon cell phone, and she said, ‘Hi, love. I’m on my way home. I’m just going to stop off and see my mom,’” Salahi recalled. “And I called her mom at 11:30, and she says, ‘No. I haven’t seen her the whole day. You better call the police.’ I said, ‘OK, I’m going to do that now, but you know, the moment I do that, this becomes news.’"

And so it did, as reports soon spread that Salahi claimed that his reality star wife had been abducted. Later he, and the public, learned the truth: that she’d left him for Schon.

“I’m betrayed, in my view, by not just my wife, but by Neal and the whole gang in Journey, because they knew about this,” Salahi insisted. “They sent the car to get her. They sent the plane to get her.”

Betrayed by Journey? Well, if any of this drama about Salahi and his wife’s double life seems hard to believe from the couple best known as the “White House party crashers,” Salahi hoped to set the record straight during his TODAY interview.

“It’s not a publicity stunt,” he stated. “I  wish it was. I wish Ashton Kutcher would jump around this corner and say, ‘You’ve been Punk’d' … But this is our (life). We had a beautiful marriage. This was real love. I think everybody, all of our friends, the people who know us, know that we thought it was real love. I’ve been duped. I’ve been lied to. I’ve been cheated on. And our family and our home was destroyed. It was full of love and now it’s an empty home.”

As for why Salahi believes all of this happened, he points to his wife’s personal ambitions.

“She destroyed our relationship just because she wanted, in my view, more money, more fame,” he said. “She wanted to go to that ‘A’ celebrity, if you will, but it’s an '80s band. She’s acting like a 16-year-old, jumping on a tour bus from the '80s. I don’t think this is the Michaele that I knew. I don’t know who she is right now.”

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