Since the moment actor Doug Anthony Hutchison and his 34-years-younger bride Courtney Stodden (then 16) took their marriage public, they have been a cultural lightning rod. From a Las Vegas chapel to a pumpkin patch and now VH1’s Couples Therapy, they have never shied away from a chance to put their controversial relationship on display. But will tonight’s Therapy premiere signal that the honeymoon phase is officially over? Stodden spoke with EW about her reasons for going on the show, the instant rivalry the other women felt toward her, and her husband’s “fearless effervescence.” Read on…
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What drew you to Couples Therapy?
COURTNEY STODDEN: Doug and I decided to go on Couples Therapy because he and I, like many married couples, had some issues that we wanted to deal with…. Doug and I have kind of a [typical] marriage, but we do deal with age-difference issues such as communication and things like that. So we checked into Couples Therapy hoping they could help us with that.
Did you want to get a response from people going on this show?
It seems like whatever I do, I get a response from people. … I’m fun and provocative, but I’m not too crazy either. I am a serious person, and I am a human being, so I kind of wanted to get that across: I’m not just this provocative image. I’m also a person.
Of all the couples on the show, it seems like you two were under the most pressure from others’ preconceived notions. What was that like?
When I went into therapy, there was a lot of drama. We were the last couple to enter the home, and we kind of turned the house upside down. There were misconceptions, and people’s perceptions of me were twisted.
You can really see that in the promo when Nik Richie calls you trash. What happened there?
Nik, as well as many of the cast members, was trying to feud with me the whole entire time. Almost every day it ended up being about me, my image, what I exude. Dr. Jenn [Berman] even told me I was becoming too much of a distraction for her therapy process because they were too busy focusing on me and not their own marriages. … And it wasn’t just Nik. [He] was the first one to kind of step out and throw the first punch because his wife [former Bachelor contestant Shayne Lamas] was getting a little intimidated, a little jealous because I was getting all the attention from the men when I walked in there.
So jealousy was behind the conflict between you and the other couples?
One thing that Shayne told my husband over the course of the season was that the women were getting angry with me because I was flirting with their husbands. It’s funny because even if I just walked up to their husband and said, “Hi, how’s your day going?” [the women thought] I was flirting with them. I think that’s why I didn’t get the opportunity to bond very well with the women of the house, nor their husbands…. There was kind of a vicious energy going on that got in the way.
What were the most surprising things you learned about yourself and your relationship?
I learned that I am myself and that I am different. … It was funny because Dr. Jenn told me I was becoming a distraction from therapy — that shows me that I am the different one. Doug was really the only one there for me on the set, so that was kind of therapy for us as well because, when you’re the only two people that have each other, you have to rely on one another and even make your bond even more strong.
What initially drew you and Doug to one another?
It was very organic how we were drawn to one another. I think we were drawn to one another’s energy and our fearless effervescence. We were kind of little rebels, and we were attracted to that in one another. We both think out of the box and are not afraid to be ourselves and be different.
Will viewers see any of your romantic moments or dates?
I don’t know about romance. [Laughs] Drama, drama, drama? Yeah. All the other couples got their one-on-one time together, but Doug and I were too busy fighting with everybody!
Couples Therapy premieres tonight at 10 p.m. ET on VH1.