Photo Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Remember Evan Marriott, a.k.a. Joe Millionaire? The original star of the 2003 Fox reality hit, Marriott was a very handsome construction worker masquerading as an eligible millionaire; the audience knew his secret, but the women in the Bachelor-style competition did not. After the season ended, Marriott got a little drunk with his newfound fame, telling People that he didn't like any of the girls on the show (including the one he chose) -- and that all he wanted was a "blonde with big boobs, a little waist and a big, thick bubble butt."
But now that 10 years have passed since he filmed Joe Millionaire, Marriott has gained some perspective -- and realized that reality stardom made him a total jerk. In response to a blog post by Jennifer Wright at The Gloss, which called him a "terrible person," Marriott wrote an apologetic letter about how he handled his 15 minutes of fame.
"Jennifer, its not like me to respond to articles written about me that are this hateful... however I only felt it necessary to write to you because this article really hit home with me and I wanted an opportunity to apologize," Marriott wrote to the blogger. "I remember vividly the interview I did and the comment I made about the girls on the show and the ideal girl for me. Truth is, I never really wanted to be on TV and because I didn't understand the repercussions of how popular the show was going to be, when it came time to handle the minimal celebrity that I had, I failed miserably.
"As I have mentioned in past articles, I was running wild, spending money, partying hard and thinking the ride would never end," he continued. "The past 6 years of my life have been spent dealing with issues (most self inflicted) that I obtained because of a pretty unexplainable rise to fame all the while taking stock of the shame and heartache that I may have left in my wake."
Marriott said that he was happy to have given away "hundreds of thousands of dollars to good causes" during his time of celebrity, but that his accomplishments were "overshadowed by the ridiculous thought that I would be on top for a long long time." And surprisingly, he agreed with Wright's assessment of reality stars: They "can be terrible people," who only care about "how they can gain fame and steamroll everyone else around them in the process."
"I reflect back to that interview I did with you in 2003 and think about what a douche I was," Marriott concluded. "I know for certain my parents were unhappy with it and that's good enough for me. All I can say to you is I'm sorry. Other than giving you some really good dirt to print, I showed you a person who didn't deserve a good review to begin with. Thank you for letting me express these thoughts."
Marriott's surprisingly self-aware letter answers a question that's very relevant in the reality TV era: What happens after reality stars are no longer famous? Hundreds of people star on reality shows every year, but few of them can sustain that fame for more than a year or two. Marriott went from obscurity to magazine covers and back to obscurity in just four years; now he's living with the consequences of sudden fame, and he barely had any time to reap the benefits! No wonder the past few years have been such a let-down for him.
What does this mean for the casts of Real Housewives or Jersey Shore? In 10 years, will we see an apologetic letter from The Situation about the terrible ways he treated people during his short-lived fame? Will Kim Kardashian be forced to take a long, hard look at her life after E! finally cancels all of her family's shows? Okay, scratch that -- Kim Kardashian will be on TV forever. But most reality stars won't, and they would do well to listen to what Evan Marriott is saying.
Marriott was recently interviewed for Fox's 25th Anniversary Special, which aired Sunday.