Dr. Jenn Berman has her hands full this time! As host and star of COUPLES THERAPY, she spent three intense weeks attempting to salvage the relationships of nine (mostly D-list) Hollywood celebrities.
Season 4 of the VH-1 series features REAL HOUSEWIVES star Taylor Armstrong and boyfriend John Bluher; former reality dad Jon Gosselin and girlfriend Liz Janetta; Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ghostface Killah and girlfriend Kelsey Nykole, THE REAL L WORD stars Whitney Mixter and Sada Bettencourt and TEEN MOM/adult film actress Farrah Abraham (who gets “stood up” and chooses to complete the journey alone).
Last year, it was widely reported that Farrah Abraham was lobbying very hard to get on your show — even though she didn’t have a boyfriend. Now she is on it and her “boyfriend” mysteriously disappears the night before taping starts. What is going on there.
What I can tell you — and I am a bit limited, legally, about what I am allowed to say — is that she signed on for the experience with a boyfriend whose name I cannot repeat…
I cannot confirm or deny. But this person, the boyfriend, spoke at length with producers, did pre-interviews, had a plane ticket, the whole thing… He was flown in but he never showed up. So she arrived not even knowing that he wasn’t coming. She reached out to him and he didn’t respond to her. I am kind of limited with what I am allowed to say, but he really surprised all of us. When she walked in I sat down with her and said, “What do you know?” And she said, “He is not returning my calls.” She was really, genuinely distraught and confused — as were my staff and producers. My hope was to bring him in [later] to either do therapy or at the very least give closure to the situation. So I spent a lot of time trying to bring him back in. In the meantime, what I found was that this was a woman who desperately needed therapy. This was not an isolated incident. It was very much representative of her patterns with men. This was really an opportunity. I looked at this like, “May this be her rock bottom with men. I think I can help her whether he comes or not.” I thought it was really important to help her.
Did you feel at any point like you were just being played?
I felt that she did such authentic therapy and this was a woman so in need of therapy that there was no question in my mind that we did great work.
But he was never her public boyfriend…
There were pictures of them together and actually we had a body language expert who came and did some exercises and she saw the picture and she said “This is a woman who is genuinely happy in the presence of this man.” So to me it became less important that this therapy work I did with her was so authentic and there was such… she just did such great work and genuine work. She has been through so much in her lifetime that it broke my heart. I actually have a lot of respect for her. I really do.
At the end of the day, do you feel like you were able to help her?
No question, yes. And to me as a therapist, that is what matters. If I can make a difference in someone’s life and help them to make less painful choices, then I have done my job.
Will the public have a different understanding of her?
I think if someone watches the whole season they will. If they see her evolution, they will see a more human side of Farrah.
It has been reported that you are going to bring on other ex-boyfriends to participate in her treatment.
I am always willing to do whatever it takes to help someone have insight into how they view relationships. Sometimes an ex-boyfriend or a parent or someone from a person’s past can give me insight. One of the cool things about Farrah is once Farrah realized how [truthful] the therapy is — which she realized rather quickly — she was saying “I’ll do whatever you want me to do. I don’t want to live my life like this anymore. Something is really wrong and I am willing to do whatever you tell me to do.”
Did you see her interview with Dr. Phil?
I did and I really understand exactly why those interviews were as they were. [laughs]
Does she finally admit to being a porn star?
I will let you watch this season and see what happens. You will see her evolution. There are some things from my work with Farrah that I will never actually share. It is a much more complicated situation than meets the eye.
Maybe you guys should continue working together?
I am always in touch with all of my [previous] cast members. As a therapist, it would be unethical to abandon them. She and I formed a very strong bond and we did great work together.
Speaking of TEEN MOM — Amber Portwood was just on Dr. Phil’s show and is reportedly making another special for MTV. What do you think of her being back in the TV spotlight so quickly after getting out of jail?
You know, I never watched any of the TEEN MOM shows, so I know very little about them, but if she wanted help, I would love to work with her.
On December 27, 2008, Derek left the house he shared with his family to go out with friends. Some time during the early morning hours of December 28, Derek lost control of his car and crashed, killing him and his friend, Zach Mendoza.
Although Sophia never had a chance to meet her father, who died two months before her birth, Derek’s mother, Stormie Clark, reveals that she often thinks of what could have been had Derek lived to see his daughter.
“If Derek were alive today, Sophia’s life would definitely be different. She has so many family members that she has never even met.
“Derek would have been a great father to Sophia. She is his twin. Like I have always said, Derek was all about family,” she said.
Stormie has only met her granddaughter twice in the almost five years since Sophia’s birth, due to Farrah and her mother’s unwillingness to allow Derek’s family into Sophia’s life.
“It is really sad that Sophia is missing out on meeting all of her family,” Stormie said. “We have so much love for Sophia. A child can never have too much love.”
To mark the anniversary of Derek’s passing, Stormie and her family will visit his grave, which is located in St. Joseph, Missouri.
“It’s really hard to believe that it has been five years since his passing. It seems just like yesterday,” said Stormie, who added that the holidays are an especially hard time for her and her family.
In the letter she wrote, Stormie describes the period immediately following Derek’s death. In a weird twist of fate, her daughter, Kassy, gave birth to a daughter only two days after Derek’s death. That little girl, Ali, is about to turn five now.
“By this tragedy, we have deeply learned not to take things for granted,” Stormie said. “I am now, more than ever overprotective of my daughters, Kassy and Alissa. We always say I love you at every visit with hugs and kisses, and after every single phone call. I didn’t get to say goodbye to Derek, which devastates me everyday.”
While Stormie plans to commemorate the day, it’s unclear if Farrah, who in her book claims Derek was her “one true love,” will do anything special. Farrah is currently trying to promote her upcoming appearance on VH-1′s Couples Therapy and has yet to mention Derek or the anniversary on her social media accounts.
“I do believe that Farrah will remember the fifth anniversary of Derek’s passing,” Stormie said. “I would hope that she will commemorate that day and involve Sophia by visiting his grave, or at least taking a moment of silence, and acknowledging the gift that Derek gave to her.”