Couples Therapy – Episode 1 – Just Why Are These Two In The House?

Couples Therapy S02E01 Screenshot VH1 Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen

Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen
Couples Therapy VH1 S02E01
Photo courtesy of VH1 ©

So where do I start??? Each week Alex & I will be alternating blogging each episode on our own website and on the Couples Therapy page on Alex’s Blog for this premiere episode can be read via this link.

Filming Couples Therapy was such a different experience than filming RHoNY and frankly watching last night’s premiere was such a different experience than watching either of us on Housewives. Although the first episode was mostly, both for the viewers and for the housemates, a exercise in getting-to-know-you, there were some moments, mostly in the super tease at the end, that were uncomfortable viewing for me. But first lets get on to the stunt casting.

Going into this show Alex & I had many discussions about what we might get out of it and above all wanted it to help right some wrongs that had crept into our relationship. We had watched a couple of episodes of the 1st season and were impressed with Dr Jenn Berman. While we had some interest in who might be cast on the show, first & foremost we were concerned with working on our own relationship. As far as who else might be on the show my biggest concern was that I wanted them too to be in real marriages, with real issues something that I felt some of the 1st season’s cast weren’t (only one couple was married) and in fact six months on none of the 5 couples are still together.

We arrived at the house in the Los Angeles hinterland with some trepidation. The first housemate I spoke to was Nik Richie, and when he mentioned his name a little bell went off in my head …ah ha “This is the guy from” I’d only been on his site once or twice but knew enough about it to know it wasn’t exactly an uplifting website for young women. During our initial discussion Nik told me about his little tantrum (my word, not his) and him pouring pomegranate juice over his mattress. That was sort of a second strike but there was also something gentle about him that seemed at odd with both’s persona as well as the hissy fit he’d just thrown. Shayne soon came up and boy what a highly strung young lady she is, and I’m sure as the season progresses we’ll see much more of that.

JoJo Hailey & his absolutely wonderful wife Tiny joined us on the terrace next and while I had no idea who they were I’ve since heard some of his songs both from JoDeCi and K-Ci & JoJo days and realized I had listened to some of them before.

Not long afterward Doug & Courtney came out to join the six of us and it is interesting to hear them say that they were coming out to “start some drama“. Talk about foreshadowing their own little agenda. I had no idea who either of them were (thankfully I’d never stumbled upon her on the internet) and let’s just say their demeanor when they joined us wasn’t exactly how in normal society one greets people for the first time. As they approached you hear Shayne exclaim and then Doug sits down next to Alex and Courtney ever so appropriately (NOT!) sits on his lap. Who does that?

In the next couple of shots, as the discussion disintegrates into ‘trash’ and ‘is she high‘and accusations of pedophilia, you’ll notice that Alex smartly moves away from the proximity of Doug & Courtney, who had been basically sitting on top of Alex as well, and joins me on the sofa on which I was sitting.

Next Doug’s out of his chair threatening to hit Nik, and Alex, the ever experienced Mom of two young boys, intercedes before punches are thrown. While she’s done this before with our two sons, I think this is the first with two grown men; although in all instances all four males have been shorter than her! ;-)

Prior to going into the first Group Session which you see towards the end of the first episode, the eight of us had tried to sit down to dinner together. Shayne & I had spoken to Courtney and asked her to dress appropriately for dinner. In our house our children have to have their chests covered at the dining table, and frankly asking Courtney to do the same didn’t seem to be too much of an ask. But it was and she refused to wear anything more than what was basically a bikini top.

In that first Group Session, that wrapped up the episode, it seems that I stay pretty quiet, however what you didn’t see is me really having a go at Dr Jenn (although to be fair she’s not the show’s casting Director) about Doug & Courtney being on the show. It’s obvious to anyone why they are on the show; they came in with an agenda to make noise and so far are succeeding in so doing. Dr Jenn states she’s amazed at our collective hostility towards Doug & Courtney but even from what little of that first day that was shown in this episode (and a lot more went down in the six hours between their arrival and this Group Session), Blind Freddy can see that they are in this to stir things rather than as Alex & I were doing trying to concentrate on their marriage.

If you haven’t yet seen this interview that Alex and I gave this week to Celebuzz here’s the video where we discus a little about being on the show.

And here’s another video of Alex & I discussing being away from our children.

Until next week! Please fell free to chime-in in the comments and I’ll try and answer as many question that you pose.

If you’d like to know what else we’re up to in real time, please follow us on Twitter @McCordAlex and @SimonvanKempen, Facebook and also check out our family website

16 Responsesto “Couples Therapy – Episode 1 – Just Why Are These Two In The House?”

  1. Cindy says:

    Hi Simon…After watching the first two episodes of Couples Therapy I thought I might chime in with my opinion (you know how that goes, everyone’s got one…). As far as that kid Courtney and her “husband” Doug are concerned, this is a very obvious case of a pedophile marrying his ‘victim’ to keep from going to prison and ending up on the sex offender registry. I don’t care that Courtney is only 17, I was extremely offended by the lack of clothing which the show allowed her to walk around in, and especially when she sat down at the dinner table with the entire group and her dinner attire was a bikini! Talk about a slut! I was disappointed when the entire group didn’t pick up their plates and walk off to another area of the house, perhaps out by the pool, to finish dinner. I think that is the type of reponse that might perhaps get Courtney to stop trying to be a porn star and start being a young lady. Aside from that, I’m so glad that you and Alex are back on the telly yet disappointed at how little they showed of the two of you in the first two episodes. I’m also sorry that it’s a counseling program that you are on as you and Alex were always my favorite couple on rhonyc. I just don’t like the idea of the two of you having such marital issues that you felt the need to get counseling but also glad that you are getting counseling and hoping that it helps to keep your family together! You, Alex and the boys are a lovely family and I hope that you are able to resolve your issues in order to remain as one family unit, happy, healthy and loving one another.

  2. Willow says:

    I find them disgusting, but I’m also not really sure that Courtney isn’t much older than she says.. She looks like she’s 37 instead of 17, but I’m sure someone must have checked her birth certificate by now. Doug also looks older than 51, and looks to have had several facelifts, and or fillers, Botox ect. Courtney’s parents should be ashamed of themselves. It’s also suspect to me about the show itself, as if true, and Courtney could only film 6 or so hours, and had to be taken to a hotel, ect, why wouldn’t they just have asked another controversial couple? They had to go above and beyond to have that specific couple, I’m assuming because they would bring the most controversy, and ratings. Just my opinion, I like the show, everyone else seems very pleasant (so far), and there to get some help.. I’m not really sure Dr Berman is really the best Dr, she seems like the typical “TV” doctor to me. Simon I would love to know what you and Alex think of Jill being on WWHL this coming Monday? I remember some time ago, she said on some blog, that she would not go back to HW unless they brought Alex back with her. What do you guys think? Thans a lot Willow

  3. Geri says:


    This is getting painful -every time I see or read about you, you are bashing “reality” tv – more specifically, RHoNY……yet, had you been asked, you would have stayed. From your twitter comments that “Couples Therapy” did better than RHoNY to this – it is just downright pathetic. Alex was the housewife – remember? I think you miss it much more than her.

    And – did any other couple bring their own towels?? This whole thing just seems very transparent – you went on this show to get back into the public eye, to hawk your towels.

  4. Lauren says:

    Hello Simon, perhaps Courtney just said that she was going to start some drama due to what she thought was going to happen. Obviously there were going to be ones who knew she was the 16 year old bride (especially Nik as he has his own ‘gossip’ website) at the time who married 51 year old Doug and she knew people were going to slam her for her looks and how she acts, along with marrying Doug who would also get the back lash from the other couples due to his young bride. Courtney was perhaps just simply preparing herself and Doug for the storm which they were about to walk straight into.

    • Lauren, Perhaps she did and unfortunately that’s a sign of immaturity, although given her age that’s not surprising. If you think something will happen, prepare yourself that it might, you’re sort of ensuring that it will, thus becoming a self fulfilling prophesy, which, in this instance from the first episode, is exactly what happened. best Simon

  5. Twinkie says:

    It’s interesting that your dislike for Doug & Courtney is from your 3 weeks of filming with them, but I’m sure Doug & Courtney feel the same way about you guys! From the 1st episode, all I saw was hostility directed towards Doug & Courtney, and them acting in self defense.

    • Hi Twinkie, Apparently you must have missed Courtney saying to your beloved Doug (See assorted Yahoo message boards) “let’s go start some drama” before they came over to where the six of us; Nik, Shayne, JoJo, Tiny, Alex & I were sitting? Or does you self professed internet love for Doug cloud everything you see? Best, Simon

  6. sara says:

    I think you are being way to judgmental of Doug & Courtney. Ya they may love drama… but just because you don’t understand why they are the way they are & what their problems are doesn’t make them any less important than yours. “Don’t Throw Stones When You Live In A Glass House.”

    • Sara, All I would ask is that you recognize that me being judgmental, as you call it, is based on my having been with them for almost three weeks and not just based on the footage shown in the first episode. I have no idea what footage will be used in upcoming episodes but perhaps when you see more of them, you’ll be inclined to at least understand where I am coming from in my thoughts. Best, Simon

      • shell says:

        Simon it is so nice to hear you speak the truth about these two. Immaturity big time from this girl…My immediate impression of her is as follows: Egotistical, self serving all about me immediate self gratification individual! Infantile!!!And I have not spent 3 weeks with them in a house. You all deserve medals of honor!!!

      • Diva Van Crone says:

        Hi Simon, I totally support your position regarding Courtney. I’m a Rogerian Expressive Arts therapist and I facillitate the creative process using art, movement, sound, etc. in working with clients both in-person as well as online. When a couple “signs on” to a couples group, it’s rightfully assumed that the group members will also function as resources for one another. In sharing their experiences and observations, individuals co-create a dynamic whose total sum is greater than its parts. It’s an amazing and joyful process.

        Courtney is just a few years past playing with dolls. She is neither well-read, nor a deep thinker nor is she an ‘old soul’. She’ll have little insight to contribute and she will be a constant narcissistic distraction. She will take up valuble member’s time as they try to parent her. While the latter might serve to reflect how the other members respond to their own partner’s inner children, there are more direct and kinder methods to produce the same results. She is taking up a valuable slot. If I were paying to be in this group, I’d feel ripped off and I would quit and demand a refund.

        Courtney and Doug might indeed benefit from therapy but this is not the appropriate venue for them. Furthermore, if their marriage is merely a lark or publicity stunt as other have suggested, then they will not be as invested in the group as others might be. Finally, if their sole agenda is drama, then they are toxic to this or any group.

        (Hint: Simon, you might consider avoiding the snark such as when you wrote: “your beloved Doug” to Twinkle. It detracts from your good points. Yay! for speaking truth.)

  7. nutmeg says:

    maybe she needs to be told that you love her naked == perhaps she’d then cover up. Most teens are just working against parents/adults. ignoring her naked body and giving her attention when she dresses properly will quickly flip her switch. Poor thing. She needs pity. 100 miles of bad road…

  8. Mary Anne says:

    So agree that Courtney and her husband shouldn’t be on this show. She is a distraction and it seems like they just want to be on to get attention. The rest of them appear to truely want the therapy. Too bad they couldn’t have set a dress code! She is annoying to watch. They are pretty sickening.


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