Kendra Wilkinson Baskett couldn't wait to do "Celebrity Wife Swap." Then she found out who she was swapping with: Kate Gosselin, single mom to eight kids.
Kendra, who's appeared in "Playboy" and on "The Girls Next Door," is married to former NFL-er Hank Baskett and lives with him, their four-year-old son Hank IV, and a fulltime housekeeper and nanny, Rosa. Hank is very involved around the house and likes to cook for Kendra and set up her girls' nights.
When we spoke to Kendra, she sounded positive about the experience, saying she "got so excited" about going on the show, because "I love the feeling of stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something off. I think that's the way to live your life, is to be thrown off a little bit." She was into the idea of living "in someone else's life" for a week; she's "all about the social experiments."
But as experiments go, a week with eight children is practically the Manhattan Project, and when Kendra found out whose house she was headed to, she "lost it. I wanted to run out."
She wasn't the only one, evidently; Kendra reported that "there was some tension and drama" between Kate Gosselin and Hank. She didn't want to speak for them, because she wasn't there, but it sounds like Kate doesn't entirely approve of the Basketts' laid-back lifestyle, or what Kendra describes as her "Southern California" attitude. (Or, we're guessing, of Kendra herself, who laughed that Kate didn't get "why a woman like me deserves a man like that.") We'll have to find out whether Kate passed any judgments, but we know Hank didn't sell Kendra out. "All I know is, my husband said, 'I stuck up for you.'"
Meanwhile, back at the Gosselins', Kendra was determined to make a good impression. Calling that time a "whirlwind," she told us her goal for the week: "I truly, truly wanted those eight kids to really respect me." Not to think of Kendra as a second mom, necessarily, but it took "a lot of work" to get the kids to trust her.
She's a fighter, though, she says, and she kept at it. She wanted the experience to be good for everyone, and she wanted "these kids to know me, and to know my heart" -- not least because of the trash-talk they might have heard about her posing nude, "'she's stupid,' you know, all that bad stuff that's about me."
All this emotional stuff -- while trying to adhere to Kate's militarily-precise routine for her children. "Every minute on the dot is something that they have to do," Kendra told us. "I was just thrown into the deep end ... like, 'Here, go cook for eight kids, now! Go, go!' I'm like, 'What? What? What do I do, where do I start?'" But she learned a lot, and she says we'll "like the outcome."
But Kendra doesn't sound quite as psyched about "Splash," the celebrity-diving competition she's in on ABC (it premieres next month). That's "literally being thrown in the deep end," she chuckled, but she'd never gone off a diving board before -- and not until she climbed up on the dive platform did Kendra realize she was afraid of heights. Describing filming as "a difficult journey" for her, she jokingly advised viewers, "Do not put your money on me."
"Celebrity Wife Swap" starts its second season Tuesday, 2/26 at 8 PM on ABC.