In 2015 “Real Housewives of New Jersey” fans were introduced to Jim and Amber Marchese — a wealthy New Jersey, couple who ran a regimented home and had no room in their lives for their co-stars’ legal drama. The pair exited the show after just one season, claiming they were acting through the entire experience. Now they’re back on the cast of yet another reality series and are hopeful that their real personalities will shine through.
In August it was announced that Jim and Amber had been added to the cast of “Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars” Season 6. The pair, who have been married for 10 years, did so following a series of dramatic reports about the state of their marriage. International Business Times caught up with the former Bravolebrities to discuss their reasons for attending “Marriage Boot Camp,” which fans can rest assured had nothing to do with reports of domestic violence or a potential split. Amber, 39, shared with IBT that during the last decade, she and Jim’s relationship has been put to the test — years ago Amber won a battle with breast cancer, which played a central role in her “RHONJ” storyline. She has since been diagnosed with Lyme Disease. While she and Jim knew there were areas they could each improve on in their marriage, they were unable to identify any specific problems and decided it would be best to call in an expert.
“Our marriage has taken a lot of hits with life, health — a lot of different things. We got married very quickly, so we were just looking for an opportunity. [Jim] wanted to be away from the kids for two and a half weeks and go on our official honeymoon and to bring our relationship to another level,” she explained during an event in New York City on Sept. 22. “We knew that there was something there that didn’t make sense and we wanted professionals looking from the outside in to pinpoint ways we could make our relationship better.”
Participating in the WEtv’s “Marriage Boot Camp” not only helped Jim and Amber identify the problems they knew were there, but showed them some they were unaware of. The mother of two told IBT that while working with counselors Jim and Elizabeth Carroll helped, watching the show back was what really made her re-evaluate. She noted that while filming, both she and Jim would say and do things without thinking. It was only when they started seeing promo clips for Season 6 that they realize just how harsh their words could be during arguments. Amber called the show “a cleansing process,” adding that she’d taken a lot of useful tools away from the “Marriage Boot Camp” house.
“When you’re filming, you don’t realize what you say or do until you watch it back. Now I’m watching promos [for ‘Marriage Boot Camp’] and I’m like, ‘ooh, that was really ugly’ or I see him and I’m like, ‘that was really ugly, I told you you’re an a--hole,’” she said with a laugh. “You learn a lot about yourself and what not to do.”
Although both had a pleasant experience with WEtv, they were hesitant about jumping back into another reality show after what they described as a completely contrived experience on Bravo. Jim, in particular, harbored fears heading into the “Marriage Boot Camp” house, telling IBT that his previous perception of reality TV “was an acting gig.” He claimed that while participating on “RHONJ” he was told what to say and put into specific situations to create drama and/or good television.
“I was told what to say, where to be, how to behave,” he said of his time on the “RHONJ” cast. “This was more like an obstacle course. It was a lot of fun, it was very raw. Very emotional, but after 10 years, you need that. You can’t cut loose in front of your children. You can’t just do things and then to see yourself gives you a perspective like, ‘wow, sometimes I’m an a--hole. I’ve got to work on that.’”
As far as returning to Bravo in the future, Jim and Amber have no interest — at least not as long as Teresa Giudice and Joe Giudice are on “RHONJ.” While they claim to be close with current cast members like Jacqueline Laurita, the couple expressed a feeling that members of the Season 7 cast are being repressed by Teresa’s participation. Amber called it “the Teresa show,” telling IBT that she felt no one on the cast was “able to be who they want to be.” Jim was far more candid in his sentiments, calling the show “felon TV.”
“It’s a joke to me,” he said. “Andy [Cohen] couldn’t pay me a million dollars to sit there and kiss her a--. Come on — [Teresa and Joe Giudice] haven’t paid taxes since 2003. I mean, what is wrong with these people? If I did that I’d be a multi millionaire, I’d buy Bravo, fire Andy. Who doesn’t pay taxes? I mean, it sucks, but the reality is you have to do it.”
You can get more Jim and Amber by tuning in to “Marriage Boot Camp” on WEtv Friday, Oct. 7 at 9 p.m. EDT.