Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott take a road trip in the fifth season of their TV reality series, but despite heated exchanges between the pair that were caught on camera, Tori insists their nearly four-year marriage isn’t taking a detour from “Home Sweet Hollywood” to Heartbreak City.
Celebrity tabloids have had a field day with advance footage of “Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood” in which the couple look like they are spitting nails at each other while engaging in what TODAY’s Ann Curry called a “scary-serious” argument. But Tori, the former “Beverly Hills, 90210” star and daughter of the late TV mogul Aaron Spelling, says there’s no trouble in paradise — mainly because she never considered marriage to be paradise to begin with.
“You know, the tabloids make it extreme,” Spelling told Curry on TODAY Monday. “We’re not headed for divorce; we’re committed to each other. We’re committed to this family. But, you know, we work on things just like everyone else.”
Wagging tonguesActors Spelling, 36, and McDermott, 43, raised eyebrows from the get-go when they met and fell in love while shooting the TV movie “Mind Over Murder” in 2005. At the time, both were married to others, but they headed down the aisle in May 2006 after their respective divorces were finalized. Since then, their marriage, which has played out before the cameras on their reality series, has included the arrival of son Liam, 3, and daughter Stella, 22 months.
But Spelling’s seeming enthusiasm to show marriage in its warts-and-all glory this season on “Home Sweet Hollywood” has set tongues wagging. The couple hop in a Winnebago to travel from L.A. to Georgia to visit a family caretaker recovering from surgery. There’s plenty of fun and misadventures along the way, but it’s also clear the couple can get on each other’s nerves.
That’s the point, Spelling told Curry. “We do a reality show,” she said. “When I signed up for this, I said, ‘I’m going to put it all out there,’ because otherwise I don’t believe in doing them.
“We’re just like any other couple. We have fights. We have our ups and downs. It’s a real relationship. Issues have come up this season and the cameras were there to catch it. I’m happy to put that out there for my fans, because we’re a normal, relatable couple. We’re not perfect, and things happen.”
Growing up Spelling
While previous seasons of the “Tori & Dean” show have highlighted the birth of their children, Tori writing two best-selling books, their running a B&B, and Dean trying his hand at competitive motorcycle racing, Spelling says this season has a fish-out-of-water element. Tori grew up in the lap of luxury with a family presided over by a dad who created “Dynasty” and “Charlie’s Angels,” and Tori herself became a TV star on “Beverly Hills, 90210” while in her teens.
Hitting the open road in a Winnebago was not the Spelling style. But when Tori and Dean wanted to visit their friend in Atlanta, it’s the road they traveled.
“I hate flying, and then I thought, ‘Let’s do cross country,’ ” Spelling told Curry. “I’ve never done that, and I always wanted to do it. And growing up Spelling, we didn’t, you know, jump in an RV and travel cross country.”
The best part of the trip for Spelling was discovering the retail joys of truck stops. “I grew up in L.A., we didn’t have truck stops,” she said. “And I love shopping, so I got to go to every truck stop and pick up a souvenir — my souvenir spoon from every city.”
Tori said she was also enthralled by a stopover in Texas to visit relatives of her late father, who grew up poor in Dallas before heading to California and building a TV empire. Since Aaron passed away in 2006, Tori has had a famously bumpy relationship with her mother Candy. At one point, they were estranged for more than two years.
Bumps in the roadMuch like her marriage, Spelling told Curry there have been bumps in the road with her mother as well, but the pair is mending fences along the way.
“Every relationship, like I say, is a work in progress,” Spelling said. “But it’s great; she sees the grandkids all the time. She loves them; they’re taken by her. So we’re just kind of working toward improving our relationship.”
Later, Tori and husband Dean appeared with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb in the fourth hour of TODAY and discussed their “let ‘er rip” mentality when it comes to capturing their entire family life, from fun-time to feuds, on camera.
Gifford asked: “Has there been a time where you’ve said, ‘I wish that hadn’t happened,’ and then you [went] to the producers and said, ‘Look, I want this out?’ ”
Spelling smiled and said, “That would be us — we’re the producers.” She added that the couple “never” edits themselves or how they look on the reality show: “I was pregnant and laying on the table at the gyno’s office — I had like five chins and everything and I thought, ‘If I can look like this, anything else goes [in].’ ”
Spelling likewise shrugs her shoulders at critics who say the couple capitalizes on their children for TV ratings. “We don’t exactly have a choice,” she told Gifford and Kotb. “It’s in our comfort zone within our show that we can protect them, [because] when we leave home, it’s everyone else’s, the paparazzi. We can’t control that; what we can control is our own circumstances.”
She added that though the toddlers “love being on the show,” if the reality series continues as the children get older, Liam and Stella have an opt-out option. “They’re our first priority,” Spelling said.
The fifth season of “Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood” airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET on the Oxygen Network.