Wife Swap will forever be remembered for its blazing rows, as men swapped their real life wives for a different model – sometimes across the pond.
And one iconic episode saw Brit husband Stephen Fowler travel to the States to move in with Gayla Long, an American mum of four hailing from Missouri.
He drew hate from fans of the show at the time, being branded the “worst husband in the world” after slating Gayle’s hometown and mannerisms.
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He fumed at her during the episode: “Your two languages seem to be bad English and redneck,” along with calling her home “stupid and simple”.
He also mocked the family for being overweight, telling Gayla: “The whole problem with America is that it is full of people like you. You’re over-opinionated, overweight and uneducated.”
Stephen went on to insult the entire US armed forces, telling the cameras: “The lower classes are a perfect fit” for military service because they’re “fascist and militaristic.”
Since appearing on Wife Swap, Stephen was fired from his job as chief financial officer at a solar energy company. He also resigned from the boards of two nonprofit organisations for “reflecting badly” on them.
Later, the star claimed producers had warned him to act up on the show, telling The Noe Valley Voice in 2011: “They strongly encouraged me to be acerbic. I was playing a character. I was playing a role, like Simon Cowell on steroids. I overreacted.”
He added of the stint: “I do regret going on the show. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.”
He also apologised to Gayla, admitting via his wife Renee’s blog: “My comments were just stupid and made me look like the one who is undereducated.”
Stephen’s real life wife even encouraged him to seek counselling after his stint on the show in her blog.
Meanwhile, Stephen was inundated with death threats, with an online blog named StephenFowlerSucks.com springing up after his appearance, along with a Facebook group entitled I Cannot Stand Stephen Fowler from ‘Wife Swap’.
His address and phone number were posted online, with viewers of the show sending him threatening messages after his Wife Swap episode aired.
A pal said at the time: “I’m sure they’re going to have a tough time putting things back together just to get back to where things were.
“I think Stephen wishes there were a way to repair this more thoroughly.”
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