Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed tied the knot Saturday after almost three decades together, in a ceremony that — like their engagement — was filmed for their A&E reality show, “Gene Simmons Family Jewels,” which returns to the airwaves tonight.
The timing of the event has led some, including, ironically, fellow reality-TV bride Khloe Kardashian, to speculate that the wedding was held solely to amp up TV ratings.
One anonymous guest told the Chicago Sun-Times that the ceremony felt “totally staged.”
“A lot of people at the wedding were whispering that if Gene didn’t have that reality show, this wouldn’t have happened — especially given their recent problems,” the source said.
The new Mrs. Simmons called the rumors “nuts” on Twitter.
But for reality stars, who offer every moment of their lives for public consumption, the on-camera route often becomes the best (and most profitable) option.
Kim Kardashian reportedly grossed $1.5 million for tying the knot on-camera, which audiences will soon see in a much-hyped two-part E! special dubbed “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding,” airing Sunday and Monday.
Her sister Khloe’s wedding was also broadcast on E! (and watched by 3.2 million people), as was her sister Kourtney’s labor. Kim’s wedding special is set to air on E! this Sunday.
“Bachelorette” stars Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter may have pioneered the flashy reality-TV wedding in 2003, which felt only natural since the two met in front of viewers. The couple’s televised wedding pulled in 17.1 million pairs of eyes.
Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro, who were already famous in their own rights, followed suit with the MTV special, “ ’Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen & Dave.”
But it was Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey who perfected the art of turning a TV wedding into superstardom with the 2005 show, “Newlyweds.” The pair went from B-list singers to A-list stars.
Of the aforementioned couples, three remain married — both Kardashian couples and Sutter/Rehn — while Simpson and Lachey and Electra and Navarro divorced.
Is there a moral to this story? Not exactly. It’s tempting to roll one’s eyes at the timing of the Simmons-Tweed wedding and the publicity that naturally surrounds it. But when one’s livelihood is based largely on what happens in his or her personal life, can we cast blame when they decide to maximize their wedding exposure?