Inside Out Weight Loss: Aligning Mind, Body and Spirit for Lasting Change

Where I stand - Wife Swap

Tuesday, Feb 3rd, 2:00 pmDear Clients, Colleagues, Friends and the interested public.I deeply appreciate the compassionate outpouring of support many of you have shown as I struggle through this most difficult time.Now that I have had a few days to gather the courage, I would like to share with you where I truly stand regarding Wife Swap. I too am utterly appalled by my husband’s behavior during the swap. I had not seen the footage until Friday night, so didn’t fully know how incredibly badly he had behaved until I saw it on national TV. I knew he was not proud of his behavior and that he had many misgivings. I did not know he had been aggressively cruel and insulting on so many levels. This has been impossible for me to comprehend.While I completely condemn his behavior I feel confused because he has been a loving and dedicated husband and father for many years. This in no way can rationalize his inexcusable behavior. It is simply an explanation of why it has taken me this long to make a statement. I have asked Stephen to get professional help.Finally, I know that I created offense as well. When I made the statement about the parents not having advanced degrees, I was responding to direct and probing questions from the director about what level of education I thought the Long’s had. I certainly don’t think people need college degrees to live intelligent and valuable lives, and was not passing any kind of judgment with my comment. My edited comment regarding being an American was actually an acknowledgement that being born here isn’t enough of a reason to be proud. We each need to make meaningful contributions that we are proud of and acknowledge other’s contributions as well. We create community and we try to live honorably and that is what makes us proud but it’s not our birthright. I am grateful to be a part of this country.Again, thank you for your heartfelt comments.Blessings,Renee


  1. ljp said,

    February 8, 2009 @ 10:32 pm


    This is a message of support. I’m not a regular Wife Swap watcher but I read about the episode on a blog and watched it on youtube. I’m also not a regular blog-commenter. In fact I’ve never written a note like this in my life. (I’m a PhD candidate with many more pressing things to attend to.) But you touched me. I want to tell you that I think you behaved truly admirably with the Longs. You exercised a lot of restraint which helped you to finally get through to them once they were ready to listen to you. I imagine that Cody will be grateful to you for the rest of his life. You are clearly a kind and talented person. Please know that the TV audience understands that your husband is your husband and you are you; we don’t judge you for his behavior. Wishing you strength as you figure out your next steps.

  2. cyoho said,

    February 9, 2009 @ 2:55 am

    Hi Renee, first blog ever here so I hope I did it right. Sorry about Wife Swap. I didn’t see it, but it sounds like it went wrong and everyone regrets what happened.

    I’ve been listening to Inside Out Weight Loss and Sabotage Self Sabotage for about 2 weeks now. They are wonderful! I was thinking about where in my torso my feeling of holding onto weight is and this thought came to me…

    The part of me that is holding on is like an over protective parent with a toddler. You want to hold on to keep your child safe. But some people are over protective with this and their child doesn’t learn to take chances and develop self confidence - if the weight is there, protecting me, I won’t get hurt (emotionally, physically, etc.)

    So I decided to tell that part of me that it’s ok to let me take those baby steps and maybe fall down. I appreciate the love and caring that is intended, but I need to walk on my own, without the weight protecting me from potential harm. I’ll learn from those mistakes and become stronger and more confident with each step.

    I was that parent who was able to let my child fall and waited to see how he reacted before I jumped in to “rescue” him. I rarely had to do that and he is able to do more today because of it.

    If scaffolding is never removed, it becomes an obstacle that hinders rather than helps.Thanks for your wise advice and loving patience with us all.

  3. clnrun said,

    February 17, 2009 @ 12:25 pm

    In the past month I have listened to ALL the IOWL episodes on my iPod. I went in search of more and my research led me to this website as well as references to the Wife Swap TV show. Wife Swap is not a show I watch but I did just watch it on YouTube.

    Renee, I feel you came across very well. You were guided by your beliefs and your desire to help. It was obvious how distraught you were at the very end when you heard just a little about how your husband treated Gayla. Gayla is a stronger woman than I! I would’ve been in tears multiple times after what she went through.

    I am so sorry that Stephen acted as he did. His actions are his own and shouldn’t be seen as a reflection on you. Stephen was not open to any other ways of looking at things. He was not open to the possibility of learning anything at all from this experience. He was right, 100%, and everyone else be damned. Very sad.

    I pray that Stephen himself, you two together, and your whole family unit grow from this. Please take this opportunity to teach your children valuable lessons, not school lessons but lessons on how to treat fellow human beings and how to tolerate, if not appreciate, differences.


  4. artful said,

    February 18, 2009 @ 6:25 pm


    I just wanted to make an observation about the paradox raised by strength of the reaction in the community, and on the web, to your husband’s criticism of the other wife on the wife-swap show, including your comments here.

    The paradox of course is this - criticizing someone strongly for criticizing someone strongly is at its heart completely hypocritical.

    Stephen, as a new arrival to this country, I think has a good reason for becoming overly critical when presented with someone whose life choices clearly make a mockery of his own. Every day, even in cosmopolitan San Francisco, he is faced with having to deal with the veiled mistrust, the diffidence, the apartness, and mild hostility and fear that his foreignness brings out in the people here, especially in people like those Midwesterners. Mistrust of foreigners is worse in most other countries of the world, so it is not just an American characteristic. So Stephen has an excuse for being a bit angry and unsupportive, and critical of the other wife.

    What I am interested in is what excuse you, and the chorus of the mob, have for being so critical of Steven? I note in the show, the other husband was VERY critical of you, and even threatened you physically at one point, yet no fuss was made of THAT by the wider community.

    The fact is I think we are dealing with a case of nationalistic chest-thumping here – and I think it is you and the mob with the more serious problem here than Stephen, and it is all the more serious because you all seem completely oblivious to it……

    I think your husband needs your love, support and sympathy, which are solutions to his perception of apartness, not your censure.

    He already knows he was behaving badly; he does not need anyone else to tell him that. Just like the fat people in the show already knew they were fat, they didn’t need that pointed out again, they needed practical solutions.

    Stephen was simply being human, showing his vulnerability, which I observe is just like you, and the mob, are doing now, by being so strongly critical now yourselves.

    The mob’s responsibility to empathize with a legal alien will come eventually I hope.

    As to a wife’s responsibilities to empathize with her legal alien husband, I’ll leave that question open for you to answer yourself,

    best regards,


  5. minna said,

    February 19, 2009 @ 8:18 am

    I saw parts of the show. Wife Swap emphasizes extreme differences to the point of caricature, probably in the way that they interview you on screen and in editing the show. And they seem to encourage a sort of “cat fight” mentality, a clash between life styles. I’m sorry that you and your family were hurt by it, and hope that some privacy and normalcy return to your lives very soon. Be well.

  6. Methusela said,

    February 19, 2009 @ 9:47 am

    I created an account just to leave a comment here. I thought perhaps I might be able to offer something constructive. I have not seen all of the episode in question. From what I have seen I offer these thoughts:

    My IQ is also very high. I regards to communication, it is extremely high. However I flunked out of school and took a GED. I went on to only complete an AS in English. I was a military dependant, so I traveled quite a bit. I have seldom in my life met someone who impresses me with their intelligence. It would be very heartening to me to meet more people who are truely intelligent. I have known people who are famous, wealthy, and dirt poor, with multiple advanced degrees, and with no education, however none of that defines anything to me.

    Recently I told my real father that I no longer wish any contact with him ever again. His arrogance and self centeredness are just too caustic to me and I don’t see the positive side to what limited contact we have had since I was four. The reality is, I have never had the slightest respect for my father. To me his intelligence is pedestrian, although until recently I never told him this. To me his arrogance is completely misplaced. I always resolved myself to his faults with compassion, however he has exhausted me.

    This is what I respect: dignity, reason, kindness, intelligence, courage, tenacity, compassion and empathy, positive contributions, consummate artistic ability.

    Arrogance, improper reasoning, lack of forsight, gross assumptions, prejudice and self centeredness are not on the list of things I respect.

    Gifts are given out very unevenly. That is what makes a gift so special. My grandfather, for example, was no genius, but he had a perfect gift. He had faults, but his gift was so perfect to me his faults were even lovable, comical.

    I hope your husband has come to understand his lack of forsight, and misunderstanding of sociology. I hope he has come to understand the real value of dignity, and compassion. You should let no one ever convince you to surrender your morals. If he comes to understand all this, then perhaps he will be an intelligent man. I believe the gift of intelligence comes with the greatest responsibility of all: to help everyone else and to lead. You cannot be intelligent, if you do not understand this.

    I am not attacking anyone, just offering my thoughts. I hope you post this, as I believe it has value.

  7. jessputnam1 said,

    February 19, 2009 @ 10:59 am

    Hello Renee,
    I must tell you that I am a regular listener to your podcasts, and enjoy them very much. While I am not an “obese” individual, I desire to live a fit and healthy lifestyle, and find your shows inspirational. Specifically, I enjoy your compassion, understanding, and true desire to help people with their struggles concerning weight loss, food and exercise. These qualities are the very things that keep me listening to you each week. On the podcasts, you come across as someone who it TRULY concerned about helping others; which is rare in today’s over commercialized weight loss/fitness community.

    I appreciate your commenting on your husband’s behavior on Wife Swap. In addition, I feel that his choices should not reflect poorly on you, as he is his own individual and therefore responsible for reeping the consequences of his choices. I find it quite difficult, however, not to struggle with my feelings on this issue. Frankly, both of you came across as extremely arrogant and elitist. While it seemed you were honestly trying to help the family you were with, it also seemed you felt they were beneath you because they didn’t share your values.

    In addition, I am the wife of a military man. I also come from a long line of previous generations who have given both their careers and lives in service to this great country. I was deeply offended when your husband suggested that the desire to serve in the militart was somehow a “low” aspiration or goal for one to have for one’s life. Granted, a military career may not offer the level of financial success that your family has known, but it is an honorable and valiant profession. I consider my family members and my husband to be heroes! Like many others, my children and I sacrifice a huge portion of our lives in service to our country by choosing this lifestyle. It truly is a family commitment that involves all of us, not just the service member who selected this career. In addition, it provides a rare opportunity for us to travel the world and see things that we never would have seen otherwise. My children and I have stood on the flight deck of the largest aircraft carries in the world and watched the most skilled service members put their lives on the line every day in order to protect this nation. I seriously doubt your children have ever been exposed to that!

    My purpose here is to inform you and your husband that your views came across as being quited limited and small minded, although you clearly didn’t think they were. As I said, I do enjoy your podcasts and am saddened that I even saw you on TV. At this point, I can’t even listen without thinking about how shallow, arrogant, and truly demeaning you both seemed. Your husband was just plain mean. It’s upsetting. I honestly loved your podcasts, and looked forward to hearing them. I am upset that has been taken from me because of a reality TV show. Hopefullly I can get past it so that I may continue to enjoy you, but at this point, I can’t accept advice from someone who seems to be so small minded.

  8. karen said,

    February 19, 2009 @ 12:47 pm

    I saw the article on of your familys participation on wife sway. I am a regular fan of many reality television shows.

    I think that its important to suspend reality when watching these shows. Clearly the producers are trying to create content that is visceral and compelling. They are not trying to push forward the dialogue between the diverse members of american society but rather to exploit these issues for affect.

    I feel you may have overreacted to Stevens behavior but I understand that because of your public role, its important to distance yourself from the controversy attached to this compelling content.

  9. jen0687 said,

    February 19, 2009 @ 5:03 pm

    “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
    Charles Darwin


    I wanted to preface my comment with Darwin’s quote on adapting to change because it seemed to be something your husband needed to be reminded of. I was absolutely appalled by his rude and boorish behavior on Wife Swap. It was especially difficult to see him behave and speak that way in front of your young, beautiful, intelligent and impressionable children.

    Humility, compassion, open-mindedness and a willingness to compromise or adapt are the very qualities that need to be taught to our children. The future of this country and and this planet’s ecosystems depend on people working together and sharing ideas. i sincerely hope it is not too late too teach this to your kids.

    Although your husband’s action’s were inexcusable, i must applaud you for trying your best to be a positive, kind and humble person on your visit with the Long family. You obviously care about people and the work you do.

    Please do not let your husband’s abusive condescension and arrogance affect the way you relate to others. Please do not allow your children to grow up to be rude, arrogant close-minded bullies.

    i hope all this blows over quickly and you and your family do benefit in some positive way.

    I listed several more qouotes below that might be good to post around the house (especially where your husband can read them). Good luck to you and your family.


    “Great minds discuss ideas;
    Average minds discuss events;
    Small minds discuss people.”

    - Eleanor Roosevelt

    “Greatness is not found in possessions, power, position, or prestige. It is discovered in goodness, humility, service, and character.”

    William Arthur Ward

    “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that’s above you.”

    C.S. Lewis

    “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”
    Bertrand Russell

    “No man ever got very high by pulling other people down. The intelligent merchant does not knock his competitors. The sensible worker does not work those who work with him. Don’t knock your friends. Don’t knock your enemies. Don’t knock yourself.”
    Alfred Lord Tennyson

    “The intelligent man who is proud of his intelligence is like the condemned man who is proud of his large cell.”
    Simone Weil

  10. sdc263 said,

    February 19, 2009 @ 9:16 pm

    Hi Karen,

    From watching you on wife swap, it shows that you are a truly compassionate person and you are someone who deeply cares about people and their health. I am sorry that you had to experience the negative repercussions from your husband’s behavior. I am sadden that your husband had exhibited such a negative impression of your family to the world. What saddens me the most is that the kids experienced and tolerated such bad behavior. Hopefully they will grow up with an open mind and be as compassionate as you are.

  11. yowlie said,

    February 19, 2009 @ 10:30 pm

    Listen to all this processing!!! What garbage. Reality TV tries to embarrass people by directing, scripting, and editing them to be in just this type of situation. This is not some sort of mysterious, irrational, shocking behavior: it is character role-playing. It is what the producers wanted. It is going to be hugely profitable for them. I work with major reality show producers. I can’t say which shows but they are among the biggest. All they do is place people in awkward and embarrassing situations. And if it is not bad enough, they reshoot them. Nobody but the producers should be apologizing and therapy is definitely a waste of time. DO NOT GO ON A REALITY SHOW. That was the one mistake here. Stick to ypur guns and fight for your position on those boards.

  12. harry3659 said,

    February 20, 2009 @ 10:23 am


    After re-reading your response to all of this furor, I believe that I was prematurely too harsh.

    You seem like a decent person, and I hope that you find a return to normalcy. You and your family will be in my prayers - this includes your husband.

    All the best,


  13. John McRae said,

    February 20, 2009 @ 12:07 pm

    I had never watched “Wife Swap” before the episode featuring you and your husband, and for a few minutes I believed that I was watching something that was scripted. I felt a little stupid when my wife informed me that it was a “reality” show. You know, these shows can never be truly “real.” I think we should remember (as many scientists do) the dilemma that is inherent in the observer-observed dyad: the mere presence of the observer (in this case, a television production crew) necessarily changes the behavior of the observed. At the very least, even when the observer does not obtrude, his mere presence changes the environment of the observed, and he can never be completely sure he is seeing what he has set out to see. Moreover, in this case, the “observer” is simply the medium for an audience who is far from being disinterested that, in addition, sees something edited for maximum emotional effect. The result? You have anything but “reality.”

    While your husband did not show much wisdom in behaving as badly as he did, I am not convinced that we saw the real Steven Fowler.

  14. Marissa said,

    February 20, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

    hello Renee,

    I, too, registered to be able to comment. My concern is the behavior that your husband displayed in front of your girls and the fact that he had them ignoring Gayla and treating her as a nonperson. He is teaching your girls to treat people, who they perceive and different from them and inferior to them, as non entities. This is dehumanizing and cruel. I did not see your children as cruel in the beginning of the show. In fact, they were quite delightful. However, by the time the show was over, your husband had taught the girls to be cruel and the innocence they displayed in the beginning was gone. Truthfully, I would not want a man who could model such behavior to impressionable children in my life, if I were you.

    Secondly, you say you have no idea where the behavior that your husband came from as you have never seen it displayed before. Love is blinding. Bahavior does not leap to life in a vacuum. The seeds were there, pergaps grown, somehow, without you seeing them except in small glimpses that you did not recognize at the times. I do know that when you were at the table conference at the end of the show he talked down to you and was dismissive to you to the point that I wondered just how controlling and abusive was he in real life. I think you need to tale a long hard look at past behaviors and evaluate just where they might have come from for real.

    Finally, I am a person who has been fighting my weight my whole life. Illness, trauma, and social unacceptance taught me that food didn’t belittle you, warmed you insides and gave comfort and it didn’t fail you. I would have liked to have heard more about your website in the show. I didn’t know it existed until I heard about the backlash against your husband. However, I hate to say that your husband left such a bad taste in my mouth that I just can’t help but wonder if you really don’t share the same disdain that he holds and for you this isn’t just a niche to make money for yourself. People who are overweight live in hope of that day they can finally, finally tell food that it no longer controls them. So many out there in the marketplace exploit those hopes. I can’t come here with hopes and find that you are just a cheap copy of hubby. I am sure there are others who wonder the same. I wish you well. I hope you repair the damage your husband did to your girls. Good luck in your endeavors.

  15. DonKool said,

    February 20, 2009 @ 4:46 pm

    I find Wife Swap an enjoyable show so I tend to watch it most weeks. When I saw your episode I saw how your San Fran liberal Brit husband demonstrated the typical SF Pelosi-like traits of hatred for baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet (and of course our troops). My main fear was for your safety when you reacted to your “new husband” by asking if he was going to hit you. Thinking that a man’s only response to a woman is violence shows classic battered wife syndrome. It is obvious from your husband’s small stature and efette ways that he has “small man syndrome”. Please visit and make a run for it before you end up beheaded like that wife of the muslim “moderate” that started Bridges TV. Please take a family vacation to a conservative place in the midwest and learn what “tolerance” really means. God Bless.

  16. WilliamGray said,

    February 20, 2009 @ 8:59 pm

    Ever since I watched that episode I have wanted to have a chat with Mr Fowler and his wife about their behavior towards the other family. But before I get started, a bit about myself. I am a life long Midwesterner and I am sure that I would be considered a redneck by Stephen, but then, I would not expect him to see the whole picture or for him to care enough to learn the facts. In addition to spending the twenty-one plus years of my adult life in the United States military, I have also earned a college degree along my journey which includes marrying my wife and raising three kids. Now onto the meat…

    Unfortunately, I cannot agree with the last poster. I believe that we did see the “real” Stephen Fowler on Wife Swap. I will admit that the only reason I watched that particular episode were the teasers shown earlier that evening. At first I could not believe the incredible arrogance shown by both Mr Fowler and his wife. But, as the episode went on, I realized that it made sense by the way they choose to live their life together that they would consider themselves superior to anyone else. The apologies that I have read so far only strike me as backhanded attempts to salvage their professional reputations.

  17. fowleristhetownfool said,

    February 20, 2009 @ 9:06 pm

    Well that genius you call husband has potentially made life extremely dangerous for you and your children. People know where you live [your home street address is not a state secret] and have/can get your home telephone number(s). Ever heard of today’s telephone pranksters and SWATing? For the clueless, these pranksters call 911 using a telephone whose number shows up as yours (!) and they claim a dire emergency [home invasion, guns to your spouses/childrens heads etc etc] and then give YOUR name/address and next thing you know a SWAT Team has just come through your front door/windows at 4AM and has MP5 automatic weapons in your faces just waiting for you to twitch…. then while you are scared out of your minds attempting to process what is going on, the team finishes the sweep through your house but doesn’t find any bad guys….then you get to explain to the SWAT team that you didn’t call 911…..then 9 months later the same thing happens again…..

    Hopefully for your/your childen’s sake people will forget how incredibly cruel your husband treated that lady from Missouri. I KNOW 1 thing–he’d have NEVER talked to another man that way–he’d have gotten his ass beat like a little girl.

    Finally, you can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat people who are less fortunate/underlings etc (waiters. clerks etc etc).

  18. sirenalyne said,

    February 20, 2009 @ 10:27 pm

    Wow alot of people making excuses for someone who showed complete hatred and ignorence of human life that he views as having less worth than his own. I understand that producers encourage this behavior but as people that obviously pride themselves on their education an intelligence it is suprising that you would choose this type of action. I do NOT feel it was all hammed up for the cameras rather very heartfelt. Encourging the same behavior from the children as well definatly shows that it is his natural way and he is teaching the children this same apalling behavior. I do not agree that the public is being hypocritical I am rather proud of the nations unwillingness to accept such behavior. It is sad that people could treat others with such disrespect and disregard for their feelings or apprication for something different than yourself. (Something you would imagine “educated” people such as yourselves should know.) I will continue to keep your family in my prayers so that some day you may accept the love and light around you from all aspects. Oh and if you are wanting to save the environment you should start with your giant carbon footprint of a house.

  19. socal92629 said,

    February 20, 2009 @ 10:40 pm

    What would possess you to actually apply to be on Wife Swap? If reality TV is your thing, which given your husband’s superior attitude it’s hard to imagine him watching the show, why choose this one? This show is everything your husband seems to be against yet there you all were. Please, put those sweet children of yours in a sport of their choice, start scheduling play dates, and DO NOT apply for a reality program again!

  20. kirsten said,

    February 20, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

    i have to say i was very happy to the article about you and you husband for being on wife swap and here is why..i could not believe what i was seeing and the way your husband treated that women, you were not much better but at least you did not behave quite like he did. i was horrified i actually emailed abc when the show was over.i’ve read some of the other posts and people actually feel sorry for you??? i have watched this show for years and i know there is hype and editing but i have never ever seen someone as rude as your husband was.people say we didn’t see the real him bull i think that was him and more.did abc have a gun to your heads making you do things you know weren’t right,if your husband did not aleady have it in him he would not have come across as he did.sorry for being harsh but its the truth he is an ass,and i am glad there was some backlash neither one of you should have gotten away with that and abc should never have aired it.

  21. downtoearthguy said,

    February 20, 2009 @ 10:54 pm

    Its so sad that a blog such as this, with its organic and helpful nature, has gotten so polluted with issues about elitist people and garbage.

    Eating the best foods, driving the best cars and making the most money… doesn’t really matter all that much in the big picture.

    I have more respect for a kindhearted homeless person surviving on spam rations than I do for elitist people eating organic spinach.

    Wife swap showed just how sick people can be when they aren’t mature enough as adults to handle differences in lifestyles. Very sad. So very sad. Edited or un-edited.

    I wont be back to this blog. It is tainted, sick and disturbing.

  22. Realitybites said,

    February 20, 2009 @ 10:57 pm

    I would never stand near you at a bus stand if I were your husband.

    As a San Francisco resident with kids in the private school system, it is funny that anyone would think that all sides of a story wouldn’t get passed around. I would say I am repulsed by reality TV, but, as many, I have my guilty pleasures…”American Idol”; for one season “The Bachelor”. It has been mentioned many times in this small community that, Renee, your reason for being on the show was to try and obtain some free publicity for your business, whatever that may be (apologies for dangling participle). I feel very little compassion for any family that would put themselves in harms way by appearing on a train wreck like this show, but I am particularly appalled in that your kids will have to suffer your hubris for the rest of their time at a “French bilingual school”, duh, what school is that? It is clear from what I have heard (albeit hearsay) that you were the driving force behind having your family on this show. If your husband was complacent, than he is getting what he deserved. But for you to throw him under the bus as you have done is reprehensible. I really feel bad for your kids. I hear he is a good dad. Maybe not, but you are clearly an awful mother.

    We all know self absorbed people like you. What is your value to this world? Losing weight? Wow. I am not overweight, but I can see someone filled with self-loathing from a mile away. And yes, I have an advanced degree that I am sure oyu could never obtain with all your self proclaimed will power.

    Your 15 minutes are up. Now give your husband a divorce and try not to ruin him any further.

    One last thing, I am sad you have made such a poor showing of the generally humane people that live in SF.

  23. moneaston said,

    February 20, 2009 @ 11:16 pm


    I am truely sorry for what your family is going through. I just watched the episode on youtube. I am also really sorry that your family didn’t change any. I know that you want the best for your kids but you do need to allow them to do things that they will enjoy. Life is not all about academics and who will be number one. You children are missing out on being children for the only time in their lives. You could get some rebellion when they get to college if you don’t incorporate a little fun into their lives eg. sleepovers, bowling, rollerblading the streets of SF which is a very fun thing, pedicures with your daughter, boat racing at stow lake. Taking one day off during the weekend and doing what they want to do will change how they feel about you and how you feel about them. You never know how long you will be on this earth so have a little fun in all the seriousness.
    That is just my 2cents.

  24. HappyCamper59 said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 1:19 am

    I have created my account to your site just to leave a comment. I’ve just watched “Wife Swap” episodes you and your husband participated. Unfortunately, it was really hard to believe what I was watching. I could not believe a person could behave with such a cruelty, the utter contempt for other person, sheer meanness and stupidity. Actually, it was beyond my imagination… I thought how delusional a person could get to perceive himself that way and perceive others with such a massive case of serious delusions. I could see sweetness in lady who was attacked mercilessly and I could not really believe what I was watching. Somehow, your husband seems to be brain-washed about “education” and his “superiority” as a human-being over others. I think you are right about your husband needing a professional help because he does not see the reality as it is. I hope your husband becomes a better person as a result of this. I am glad you two are ok with each other as a couple. Hope your children grow up learning from the better sides of both of you. Normally, I don’t add my comments on website, but your husband’s behaviors were “sooo out there”, I had to write. I hope my comments are constructive.

  25. Miriam Snyder said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 1:58 am


    First off, let me say that while your husbands behavior was appalling and completely out of line, I was quite impressed with how you handled yourself. Everyone seems to be focusing on how badly your husband behaved, but Mr. Long said some pretty unfair things to you, and I’m sure if your husband had been a complete gentleman, we’d be talking about the term “skirt work” instead.

    I was pleased to see that while your husband was caustic and verbally abusive towards Gayla, you were holding firm on your rule changes in the Long household out of true compassion for the children. You came off quite well, and you handled yourself as a lady should. Well done. I truly hope that Cody has benefited from your minor intervention, and that the family is on their way to eating better, and doing a bit more than just playing paintball. You were a great influence on them I think, and it shows. So kudos to you for holding your own without being abusive.

    As for your husband, I think its safe to say that he’s definately said some idiotic things, most of which I take offense at. So please keep in mind that this is directed at him, not you.

    I am an overweight middle american woman. I currently live in Michigan, a state with one of the worst unemployment rates in America. I’m currently the only one in my household who has a job, and it only pays 8.50/hr. And I only work 15 hrs a week or less. My huband and I live in the basement of his parents house. I am currently the only one with a job, and believe me that is not from lack of trying! The only reason I don’t have a college degree is because I simply cannot afford it. Believe me, my current lack of education is not by choice. And neither is my financial situation.

    So for someone who is living a luxurious lifestyle to paint me with the brush of typical lazy american redneck is absolutely absurd. Frankly I resent the implication that because I’m fat, I must be stupid and lazy, and that’s the only reason I’m poor. Um, no sorry, that bird doesn’t fly. I work hard for what I have, and I’m trying desperately to rise above it all. I wouldn’t call that lazy. I’d call that the american way.

    That being said, I would like to say that I have read Stephen’s apology. And I would like to say this to him:

    Thank you for your apology. I still think you’re a jerk, and I definately think that you should apologize to Gayla and the Long family face to face on national television. But at least you have admitted that you were being very unfair to Gayla, and to middle america as a whole.

    I wish you and your family the best, and I sincerely hope that this blows over soon. For the childrens sake, I hope you can make them stfu about all this. I really hope they aren’t suffering from this.

  26. mnrgarcia said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 2:29 am

    I’m up at a ridiculous hour and am using that as my excuse to have followed your story into Youtube from an article headline. I do not have television nor do I desire ever to have, therefore I didn’t even know about this show. I watched two clips because I was curious as to why there would be a website and blogs devoted to the hatred of your husband, I soon understood.

    Clearly, this is was a damaging choice for all involved. I am certain I would never make that choice; thanks for the lesson in case I might have ever been tempted.

    As John McRae stated, there’s no way to know the true dynamics of the swap due to the presence of a crew and cameras causing added influences.

    You have had plenty of messages of support and positive feedback for you and your husband; this is good. I add my voice to that. I, however, decided to leave a message because of your children. The absolute worst part of the entire show (the clips I allowed myself to watch) is the portion where you daughter, while wearing blue eye shadow from lash to brow–enhancing the fact that she’s a little girl, said the other mother wasn’t smart. While you can apologize to the community as a whole, how do you take away the example and campaign from your husband to your children to alienate and devalue the worth of the other human being? What sufficiently removes or neutralizes the affects of that?

    As previously stated, I am in full awareness that these shows design their program for histrionic effect, thereby leaving a hollow shell of truth, and I recognize you along with your husband have realized an extremely ugly portrait displayed of yourselves with open, honest acceptance of responsibility in regard to harm and malice. What I’m looking for is a sign of understanding your children were taught unkind prevarications; that they understand the worth of souls is greater than geography, intellectualism, or girth. I hope they comprehend knowledge is freedom and power but NOT the value of a person.

    On all other fronts it seems obvious you’ve been making a positive effect on the world around you; for that I thank you. I also thank you for allowing me to lears some lessons from your experience and for having the courage to permit a stranger to throw in their two cents, or ,in my case
    a buck fifty.

  27. Brian said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 5:30 am

    I can’t believe some of the responses both here and through your anonymous “friends” in papers! As a “life coach”, perhaps you should be emphasizing taking responsibility for your actions. Yes, reality TV may be edited harshly at times, but they can only edit material that you gave them. It’s one thing to have them edit a long conversation out and instead put in an eyeroll, but it is impossible to have them put words in your mouth you didn’t say. Of course, the irony is that by shifting blame to the producers and editors of the show, you are essentially admitting your husband is too stupid to think for himself. Regardless of circumstance, if someone held up a camera in front of me and told me to be mean to someone, I would kindly decline.

    To artful, re: “The paradox of course is this - criticizing someone strongly for criticizing someone strongly is at its heart completely hypocritical.”

    Sorry, but there is no paradox. Criticism itself was NOT the problem. Certainly the other family has a lot to learn about life and is far from perfect (as with every family that goes on Wifeswap — why else would they cast a family that could not benefit by a little change and perspective?), but there is a big difference between criticism and just being mean. Criticism offers insight. Much of what Stephen said had no value at all, other than the meanness of his words.

  28. rankbank said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 6:32 am

    Hello Renee.
    I feel so sorry for you. A big hug is needed. With the love of everyone around you I’m sure you will get through this trying time.

    I guess what everyone has (hopefully) learned from this unfortunate episode is that “intellectual”, and “educated” are simply labels many use to justify their claims to moral and societal superiority. It is an easy fallacy to fall into. It is rife in the neo-libertarian movement that hates hatred, and is intolerant of intolerance. An educated person in modern society is simply someone who has accumulated and can regurgitate a lot of facts and opinions. It requires some intelligence, but it does not make a person wiser. In fact, it can blind a person to alternative understandings.

    Having spent over 20 years in a university environment and observed many highly intelligent people, I have confidence in saying that true wisdom has nothing to do with either education or intellect, and a lot to do with consideration, and most of all, introspection. Amongst those of great character and charisma I have met many highly educated racists, thieves, liars and morons (all of which justified their positions using relativism)

    I think your husband has, in his worthy desire for morality and relevance, been blinded by the siren messages of the intellectual left. He is not alone.

    Thank you for the opportunity to speak.

  29. pch said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 6:57 am

    I “never “ watch wife swap or any other reality show because I know there is little reality and a lot of staging. To watch makes me feel duped. The truth is, on occasion, I have watched such shows because I was at someone else’s home or one of my grown daughters (“I never miss this show”) was visiting overnight. Each time, my resolve to never watch again has been heightened.

    The episode that has caused so much comment resulted in my mother and my daughters each saying, “now I see your point – I don’t think I will ever watch that program again, either”. To say it was horrific is an understatement. I hope the producers of Wife Swap are reviewing some of these statements. Yes, you created a big stir – a media blitz, if you will – but it also signals the beginning of the death of your show. From this point forward, you cannot top the train wreck you produced during that show to keep the bizarre folks interested and a great deal of the intelligent portion of your audience has sworn you off as a bad habit. You will enjoy an audience surge for awhile because the media attention will draw some people in to see what you’ve got… but that will die out and with it your ratings.

    Having said all of that, I want to add that I do not agree with ARTFUL who indicated condemning Mr. Fowler is on a similar plane with Stephen’s condemnation of the mother from Missouri, Gayla. She had done nothing to invite such venomous public criticism. Even if encouraged to “ham-it-up” by the program, Mr. Fowler was cruel beyond reason and did so in front of his children. What a wonderful role model he has turned out to be.

    There is no statement he can make now that will undo what he has done. Nothing will erase that baser side from our memories. The “stuff” that continually oozed out of his mouth during that program was vile and toxic. A person of true intellect would realize after the first instance, if not before, that there is no up side to such behavior.

    One doesn’t dream such comments up on the spur of the moment. Hamming it up is simply saying what you really think. It was my impression that Gayla fully realized it and that is what hurt her the most. I daresay he would not have spoken to her husband that way, nor to her in front of her husband.

    I find it difficult to imagine that he has not molded his wife’s behavior and life choices, as well as those of his children, with cutting criticisms of their expressed thoughts, dreams and desires. Perhaps such criticisms are delivered with a lot more passive aggression than the visceral attacks he made on Gayla, but the long-term impact is often so much worse with this form of brain washing. I would encourage both Mr. and Mrs. to seek professional counseling.

    I have pondered what possible reasons the two of you could have had for taking part in such a show. Perhaps, Renee, you both thought your business would get national recognition and you would reap untold rewards by publishing a book or selling thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of your tapes. If greed actually was your motive, then perhaps you have gotten exactly what you deserve.

  30. karimar333 said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 7:09 am

    I watched the episode today, only after reading of the backlash- I am not a regular viewer. I found, that for the most part, you were able to enlighten and encourage the Long family, providing them with an opportunity for needed, healthy change in their lives.
    There are, however, two comments I must make about Mr. Fowler.
    I was saddened that he spoke in such a derogatory, demeaning manner to Gayla in front of your children. His taught them, by repeated example,that it is acceptable to humiliate and demean others. I hope they come to understand that speaking down to another human being shows a lack of character, and that money and education do not make one person superior to another.
    Secondly, his comment that he makes more money in a week than she does in a year demonstrates a skewed value system. I believe that you can tell an awful lot about a person by the way they treat the waitress, store clerk, maid, yard man, or in this case, the sweet lady from Missouri.
    Again, I commend you for your efforts, and sincerely hope that postive change is happening.

  31. robotis said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 8:17 am

    I too have never watched “Wife Swap” before the episodes featuring your family. I can only assume that the reason one would submit one’s self to such an invasion of one’s privacy would be for publicity, obviously working very well for both the show and your own family. Afterall, most of America had never heard about your family or the show, as indicated by the many blogs above, and on other websites, prior to this “reality show”. So, did it really turn out as bad as you thought it might, or did it turn out as good as you thoght it might?

    Regarding your husband, all I can say about him is that he is one the most pompous, arrogant assholes I have ever seen.

    I spent the last 38 years living in Singapore, Indonesia, UAE, and London, and have not seen behavior, dramatized,or not, in any of these places, and can only speculate the physical harm that would have probably been done to me if I would have treated a native in the jungles of Kalimantan, a Bedoin in the deserts of Arabia, or a Ted in the tube station at St. John’s Woods, with half the disrespect your husband showed to poor defenseless hillbilly…. I would have surely been beaten or worst.

    Your husband is a bully and a scoundrel. It is time you reevaluate your relationship with such a person and move on to someone more deserving of you and your children. What a terrible role model he was/is.

  32. jasonwolfe said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 8:28 am

    Mr. fowler was rude and abusive, but he was right!

    This woman from Missouri needed a wake up call.

    It’s abusive to raise your kids on fast food. It’s abusive to keep your kids uneducated. I don’t care how sweet you talk while your doing it - it abuse.

    Mr. Fowler made someone cry, too bad. That 290 pound kid would be good looking and getting all kinds of girls if his mom and dad would just stop telling him it’s OK to eat fast food everyday.

    I think they got that message, to their credit.

    Good for you Mr. Fowler! Just let your kids play and let loose once and a while. You are doing a fine job.


  33. Lee Loggins said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 10:45 am

    Dear Renee and Stephen,

    I am sorry that you are being hounded by people about your actions on “Wife Swap”. I live in Georgia, and as a resident of a Southern state, know all too well about the way people in other states judge us. We are seen as dumb, barefoot hillbillies, who chew tobacco and spit, stay pregnant as much as possible, and carry guns everywhere. While these judgments may be true about some of the people in my state, people still need to realize that it is not true about everyone because they are from Georgia.

    However, I am proud to be a “redneck”! I absolutely love living in the South. Yes, we do things differently from the rest of the country. But, that does not mean that our ways are wrong. Life moves at a slower pace and is more enjoyable in the South. Most folks are friendly and will help each other when needed. This means, that even if we don’t know you, we will usually try to help you in your time of need.

    I have not seen the episodes of “Wife Swap” that ya’ll were in. In fact, I have not seen ANY episode of “Wife Swap” at all! I read about this on the internet.

    I don’t think people should be so mad at ya’ll, because people will always judge others. Some people judge others based on their education. Others judge based on someone’s racial heritage. Others are judged for their weight and beauty.

    Until we all stop judging each other based on these things, we will always have someone saying something or doing something that someone else will not agree is right. Our true problem is not what was said on the show. It is the fact that there are a lot of people in the world who have said or thought the same things about someone. We all need to realize that not everyone can afford to go to college and earn a degree, not everyone has a job where they earn lots of money, not everyone believes the same things, not everyone is raised the same. Our people need to be more open to seeing life from someone else’s perspective.

    Again, I am really sorry that you have been bashed so much for all of this. Everyone makes a mistake at some point!

    Sincerely, Lee Loggins

    p/s: Stephen, If you were doing a good thing with being on the boards that you were a part of, then don’t let people stop you! People will always need someone to criticize. Don’t let them stop you from doing good deeds, just because you made a mistake one time. God bless you both!

  34. ditchner said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 1:04 pm

    I think that the show provided an avenue for your husband to reveal his true nature. I saw no ‘acting’ here, I saw your husband letting down his guard and showing the world what it means to be a bigot.

    If I were you, I’d get out now. That who he really is!

  35. Emily said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 2:17 pm

    This is another example of how pandering to the lowest common denomiator is paralyzing this country. Where are the people who watched this ‘reality’ program video and felt exactly as did Steven? Paintball and fast food are America? That is frightening. Please know that no one gained from this farce except the TV show.

  36. agilroy6 said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 3:10 pm


    I will leave unsaid the majority of the details concerning how appalling I found your husband’s behavior on “Wife Swap”. Suffice to say, I feel he has done a great deal of damage to himself, his peers, his co-workers, the organizations that he represents, and his family and friends. I expect, however, that he has done very little lasting damage to the Long family. They seem very confident and comfortable with who they are, and are probably not inclined to take to heart the opinions of a buffoon like your husband.

    I would like to complement you on your behavior during the show. I realize that being in such a different environment cannot have been easy for you, and feel that you did as best you could to adapt to the situation. I also hope that Cody and Alan pass on to Gayla the lessons they learned from you regarding their health, and that the entire family continues to beneft from your expertise.

    Most importantly, I would like to express my concern for you and your children.

    Regarding your safety and wellbeing: I noticed during the show that your assumption, when Allan spoke firmly to you, was that he was going to hit you. This is not the normal reaction of a woman that is in a safe and secure relationship. This is the reaction of a woman that is in an abusive relationship. You were in the presence of a camera man, sound man, and, presumably, a producer - and yet your concern was that Alan was going to hit you. I cannot help but think that this is a result of some sort of physical abuse elsewhere in your life. Also, I noticed, that when you were confronted with your husband’s behavior at the end of the show, you turned your head away from him, and hid your face from the camera and the Longs. Again, this can be interpreted as a sign of someone who is subjected to regular abuse, and is afraid to confront her abuser. Additionally, if your husband thinks nothing of publicly humiliating a guest in his home with a constant stream of verbal abuse, what must he say to his wife in private?

    Renee, you seem to exhibit all the signs of a woman that is being abused physically, verbally and emotionally by her husband. Spousal abuse does not happen only in lower-class homes, it can be found among the wealthy, the sophisticated, the well-bred, and the intellectual elite as well.

    With regard to the children, I assume that your first instinct as a parent is to sheild them from the controversy that has been raised by this show - and that is understandable. However, nothing was done to sheild them from the abuse that your husband showered on Gayla when she was in your home. No matter how exclusive the schools are that children attend, the lessons they learn the best are those that are learned at home. During the two week period that Gayla was a guest in your home, your husband taught your children that it is perfectly acceptable to look down on a person because of their social status or lack of education. They were also taught that it is perfectly acceptable to voice that opinion in the most rude and arrogant way. I cannot help but think that these are lessons that are reinforced on a regular basis - even when there are not cameras there to document it.

    While it is normal and natural for a parent to teach their child that they CAN be better, I cannot believe that any responsible parent would want to child to believe that they ARE better than everyone else, and that they have the right to treat others badly because of that. If your children are not given proper guidance at this point in their lives, they will find out later that they have a very limited capacity to survive and thrive in the real world. The world that contains waitresses, blue collar workers, people that only speak one language, have not travelled the world, are content to serve in the armed forces, and do not hold advanced degrees.

    Renee - you seem like a kind, caring, intelligent woman that has great potential to do good. But you also seem like a woman that is being abused by her self-centered, elitist husband. You also seem like a woman that is letting her children be drawn into the abuse. You work as a Life Coach - watch the tapes of the show again privately and objectively, and ask yourself what your advice would be if the woman on the show was one of your clients.

    Please, for the sake of yourself, your children, the people that care about you, and even for the sake of your husband - ALL of you need to get counseling.

    One final note - you said at the end of the show that you could not remember what any of Gayla’s rules where. There is one that should not be hard to remember, and that you should heed “The kids need to have fun”.

    I wish you and your children well, Renee.

    - A

  37. adirondacknighthawk said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 3:10 pm

    I truly feel it isn’t your responsibility to apologize for your husband’s behaviour, unfortunately from what I saw; I was sickened and I’m sure you were too so I understand your need to speak for him. It is; however, my belief that is is ignorance like this that is the cause of prejudice, violence, hatred, and war and while he may have been told to “ham it up” and while we may have not been shown “the real Steven Fowler” even if what we saw was a fraction, it pains me to know that those children are learning their lessons from him, as educated as he may be. Hugging trees doesn’t make the world go ’round - hugging your children does. God bless you. kerri sue.

  38. tiger_rising said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

    I still have a difficult time believing that you, as a “Health Professional” failed to notice your husband’s obvious obnoxious ways. Surely in the course of getting to know one another, you must have noticed something was amiss with this guy. People all over this country and the world now know for sure that San Francisco is the home of elite snobs who don’t give a dam for anybody else’s point of view or their life experiences- send your husband back to England and YOU get yourself and your children some help.

  39. tclp said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

    Hi Renee,
    Thank you for your thoughtful behavior on the show and for your thoughtful response here on this forum. What worries me about the ‘apology’ from your husband is multivariate: 1. While I was looking for one, there is absolutely no mention of what this did to your children. His behavior was horrendous, yes, but bringing the children in on this was unforgiveable. He (and you by extension) is teaching your two children to disrespect, despise and abhor anyone who isn’t as ‘elite’ as they are. Is this really what you want? I ask this as a parent of three, as a person who grew up in the Midwest, who had a father who did not graduate from High School, and who now has a PhD and lives on the East Coast. Thank goodness I wasn’t raised to treat people like your kids were recently taught. I always try to remember that my dad was a ‘janitor’ and human and was hurt when people treated him like so much dirt. Your children started out eager and actually *loved* doing ‘fun’ activities. While there was likely much editing, it came across very strongly that your children were not having ‘fun’ in their lives. I did not see the balance. I am all for a great education and developing extracurriculars…we do that with our own children. But we also allow them down time and time with their friends….time we don’t schedule or dictate.

    2. I worry that his apology was spurred not by his remorse, but because he was worried about peoples’ perceptions of him and of you, about the repercussions to your business and about the repercussions to his own reputation. The mere fact that he didn’t apologize for the treatment of his own children (which, IMHO is his greatest sin in all of this) is very telling and points not to remorse as such, but to extended narcissism. I am not trying to be mean, I am merely pointing out what this looks like to an outside observer.

    3. I don’t think anything has been attempted to repair relations with the Long family. While you can post an amorphous public apology on a not-so-well-known website where not so many people will see it, nothing replaces a face to face apology to the very people who were hurt the most. Added actions to back up the words in this case, would also be a very good idea.

    4. I sincerely hope Stephen gets the mental help he so needs. I hope he ‘allows’ someone to actually help him become a better person.

    5. Renee, and I say this from the heart….you are enabling his attitude. I know you did not see the episode until recently, but the fact that you continue to ignore the needs of your kids to be kids (which is exactly what was pointed out in the show), is amazing. Why don’t you want to spend time with your kids? Because all the time you spend with them is exhausting mentally (teaching, directing, etc.). Your kids have become your clients. Instead, try to treat them as your children and *have fun* with them with no agenda. I have experience with this, which is why I can tell you…it’s not easy to change your mindset, but it is doable with effort.

    Thank you and keep your chin up,
    Kind regards,

  40. nirvanaman said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 4:07 pm

    Mrs, stephens im not here to pat you or your pompas husband on the back and say “oh thats ok as long as you appoligized” what most people are missing is the fact that in the show you presented yourselves in your true eliment what you are really like, only after so much fallout from the show did either of you show any signs that something was wrong,as you said in the show and i quote ” if im alot with my children i tend to get cranky” omg woman im ss to inform you that kid’s take up alot of time which is something you seemed to not take in account before you stuck your leg’s up in the air and made a couple of, and speaking of the children you can just see it all over their faces they are not happy with the overly strict regiment they are forced to live under, let them be children not little programed being’s otherwise don’t be surprized someday if they can’t stand the sight of you or your pompus husband and speaking of him im sure it was only after the realization of how much damage his actions caused to not only himself(whom im pretty sure is conciderd first in all matters) but to your profesion as well and the threat of substantial monetary loss that would follow that he even thought about saying he was sorry for anything which im sure is just a front to quell this onslaught of negative public reaction, if he dont like it here in america then “GO HOME LIMEY” thats why our forefather’s desented and came to this country to make it our own just so we could get away from the pomus british attitude that was displayed by your limy husband, before i go ill just say im proud to be from the midwest and a father of an iraq soldier who done his whole tour (not something the prince can say i might add) and i am well aware that some mispellings do appear in this blog but thats ok i may not have a “advanced degree” that you seem to think is so important but i do have the class to treat my fellow citizen with dignity and respect which is more than you overly rich spoiled brats will ever have

  41. kaib57 said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 6:41 pm

    I never watch Wife Swap, but read about the controversy on the web, so I watched portions of the show. While I found your husband’s behavior appalling, the people for whom I feel the most concern are your children. Although I understand whole-heartedly your desire to raise them with an outstanding education and an exposure to varying cultures, what about a childhood? They don’t seem to have any friends or any fun. They appear to be a “project” that you and your husband are intent on completing in an exemplary manner, rather than children to be nurtured. I realize you can’t get the full measure of a family from an edited TV show, but these are the impressions that were made. I hope for your children’s sake, they are erroneous impressions.

  42. coloradorose77 said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 8:22 pm


    I watched your Wife Swap episode on YouTube. I think you were wonderful with the Missouri family. Your husband was disappointing to say the least–there is never an excuse to treat people with such disrespect and callousness. I am glad he has apologized, and I sincerely hope it opens up a well of humility and compassion in him. He can grow so much from this experience, though surely it is very painful.

    I wonder if you are regretting your appearance on Wife Swap…but I think it is a blessing in disguise. It has brought all this attention to the wonderful work you are doing. God bless you and your family. And remember–the sun will come up. :-)

    Big hugs!

  43. extexgal said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 10:04 pm

    I have been using this site through the weightloss coach at work. After the WifeSwap episode (which 3 out of the 15 participants watched) your husband’s behaviour was the subject of discussion. We watched the episode in full and after we decided by vote to use another coaching site. Our coach still uses you for her own program. We decided that we were more comfortable with a coach (albeit an internet coach) who would more likely be respectful to us if ever we were to actually cross paths. We are a diverse group including a neurosurgeon, a secretary, a published author, a book reviewer, two nurses, several stay at homr mothers, a firefighter, a waitress who went to Oxford, and several students. I think what bothered us most was your implicit agreement with your husband by belittling the changes the other mother had enacted. The smug little family portrait at the show’s end spoke more than your face saving aploogy on this site.

  44. epictetus said,

    February 21, 2009 @ 11:08 pm

    Hi Renee and Stephen:

    I didn’t watch Wife Swap, however, as a fellow European who has just become a U.S. Citizen, the ‘buzz’ on the internet piqued my curiosity and I watched the coverage on YouTube. Renee, you cetainly came across as someone who seems genuine and compassionate and sincere about your career. Stephen, whilst I am not British, I am from a neighboring country and was educated in a private college in London. I feel you exhibit the traits of someone who, whilst you may have achieved some level of education on paper (from what you say!), you fall short as a human being. We all deserve to be treated with basic respect! Your actions indicate to me that you are a person who feels incredibly inferior and this inferiority has manifested itself in behavior,that of an individual who sees themselves as superior. You need to project a sense of superiority to make up for the inferiority that envelopes you. The real you is someone who is in hiding! Clearly, you feel inadequate and need to achieve some level of status, or perceived status, which, by the way, is so very easy to ‘purchase’, anywhere. You come across as being completely pretentious. I am really rather curious about your background and suspect that your family, the family that raised you, are probably mortified by your behaviour. Furthermore, I suspect that your family in England more than likely do not have ‘advanced degrees’ and you are the first in your family to achieve whatever level of education you claim to have attained. Having an education seems to be so ‘new’ to you that you have to flaunt it. You talk about education and focus on education to a level that actually indicates the opposite of what you are striving for. Your behavior exhibts a lack of education and probably even more upsetting to you, a total lack of class!

    Instead of exhibiting such apalling, degrading behavior on such a fundamental level, it would serve both you and especially your children, well, if you stopped and thought about what is really important in life, above and beyond, education, status and money. You are projecting and attempting to make up for your own inadequacies and shortfalls by pushing an 8 year old and an 11 year old to do things that you might not have been able to afford to do when you were a child in England. Raising children who respect other human beings, is more important than fencing, ballet or playing musical instruments.

    By the way, I am from a priviledged and educated background. I don’t behave like you and my parents never treated me or any of my siblings, the way you are treating your children. Do you think you are teaching them by example regarding your behaviour towards Gayla? Indeed, unfotunately, I believe you are!

    Once the dust has settled re the negative publicity, I hope that as a result of this experience you will learn how to be a decent human being. There really is a reason for everything!

  45. Stefan Morris said,

    February 22, 2009 @ 5:25 am

    Hi Renee,

    Just read the article on your husband’s errant opinions on Wife Swap in the USA and saw the youtube clip. I abhorred this tawdry programme concept in the UK, before I moved to Australia. It is ‘car crash’ TV at its best - or worst. Unfortunately you and your husband made a knowing faustian pact agreeing to appear in this programme. It was based on self promotion pure and simple. I know that this is the American way. To some extent it is also the Australian way in that you secure and extol your virtues in any and all ways possible to advertise and promote your services to a larger audience. Thats not to be sneered at. But your naiviety in this matter is jaw droppingly appalling. Whatever the production company demanded of your husband for ‘good’ TV he should have known better than to insult his host country. I would have thought your husband once being a UK citizen would have understood this coming from a UK society shattered by contemporary immigration policies. The US is not perfect but the one thing above all else is their sense of belonging and their patriotism. Steven is reaping the whirlwind and will grow from this I hope. Its a hard lesson learnt. But as they say downunder,’Australia. Love it or leave it - and Ill drive you to the airport!’

  46. LuisVera said,

    February 22, 2009 @ 5:55 am

    I think the TV program put your husband and you in a situation where it is easy to take advantage of the protagonists. And they did.
    I find the bashing of your husband completely unacceptable because every one makes mistakes. Mr. Fowler is not a dictator or child molester and does not deserve that kind of treatment. He is an imperfect man of many qualities like most people.
    Best of luck it is a lesson for all of us.

  47. mtwistb said,

    February 22, 2009 @ 7:59 am

    Hi Renee,
    While you aren’t responsible for your husband’s embarrasing public behavior, I do feel for you. You picked him as a life partner and that is a reflection on your character. You giggled when he was confronted about his obnoxious and utterly hateful treatment of the “other wife.” Sure, apologize for one isolated “bad behavior”, but repeated offenses on camera proves his real personality. Perhaps he should continue to hug trees since he clearly likes them better than people. How dare he blame producers for his words and actions. They were all his. Maybe this will give you both time to reflect on your real goals and purpose in life. You need some time. How do you think your son will treat his wife ?

  48. Bhist said,

    February 22, 2009 @ 8:01 am

    Ladies and Gentlemen –

    Ask yourself this simple question: if the Fowler’s are so intelligent, then why do they live in San Francisco and why did they appear on a reality television show?
    Answer: the Fowler’s are representative of the pseudo-intellectuals that currently prevail in our country. These pseudo-intellectuals think they are: liberal, open-minded, bright, gifted, extremely intelligent (and remind everyone about it every day), voted for Obama, and only migrate within their own pack.

    In fact, they’re none of the above and the producers of “Wife Swap” saw right through them. The result was the producers showed us the true Fowlers and Mrs. Fowler is reacting just as a pseudo-intellectual should: she’s condemning her husband to therapy.
    God help and save America!

  49. sanmantee said,

    February 22, 2009 @ 9:42 am

    I too created an account only to post for you Renee, mine will be short.

    I watched this episode only because my wife asked me to watch. I have no sympathy for you or your husband, you KNEW you were on national television and CHOSE to verbally assault those poor people. I have heard much from you and your husband about feeling sorry…. Very noble - after the fact. Point being, you did not feel sorry until you saw the episode on the tellie.

    What about your children? What have YOU, and your husband taught them? That is what saddened me most, you daughter quickly and effectively turned on daddy’s little hate switch during the episode. My God, what have you created?

    I hope you, and your family, receive counseling so another generation of bigots does not walk America merely because they happen to be born here.


  50. fatnsassy said,

    February 22, 2009 @ 10:25 am

    Well, I’ve watched the wife swap video on youtube and I think most people would agree that Stephen stepped over the line in a big way. Wow. Apparently having a supposedly high IQ doesn’t result in a more civilized human being as was grossly demonstrated in the Wife Swap episode Stephen starred in. Goes to show that having a high IQ isn’t a cure all for stupid behavior. I am a fan of the dry wit and aloof superior overtones that are often found in british entertainment but Stephen went too far with the numerous personal attacks on Gayla and I hope he has made a genuine and sincere apology to her and her family outside of any public apologies that are a dime a dozen. I am also surprised that the producers of the show would allow this particular episode to get this out of hand regardless of the pressure to achieve high ratings.

    I don’t believe you can put down all of Stephen’s behavior to just role playing as mentioned by yowlie above, and he most certainly wins first place for being the biggest ass to come along in a while. Stephen came across as an arrogant SOB with an axe to grind and Gayla got to be the lucky target. Stephen showed much more narrow minded behavior than his counterpart in the midwest. People in general don’t have a more open mind, they just have a different one, and that was shown in abundance with all the prejudice of the self righteous. In these aspects I am willing to jot this up to the mechanics and overall intent of the show. After all we must be entertained.

    What is hard to attribute to the show are the very cutting and demeaning remarks Stephen made to Gayla again and again which the show could have been successful without. Gayla most likely will relive those emotionally distressing moments over and over again and I hope Stephen (and the producers) will think twice before slicing and dicing up someone in the future. Shame on Stephen and on the producers for not showing more restraint. The personal attacks were just too many and inappropriate for this type of show. These are not actors playing a part. I’d like to think Stephen and the producers are better people than what was demonstrated in this episode. It’s appalling to see how people are taken advantage of and used over and over again in these types of shows - on both sides.

    Renee, you should have busted your husband’s balls a bit for being such an ass on the show, it would have shown a little backbone and some much needed humanity to a young woman who endured a lot of abuse from your spouse. Stephen, in his apology says, “I have been completely taken aback by the response my behavior generated”… wow that’s an amazing if unbelievable and genuinely arrogant statement. So Stephen acts this way normally and people just gobble it up. Stephen must live and work in his own little world of dormats.

    It was nice to see the apology letters on the site (it’s nice to think they are sincere and not just PR BS from some PR firm) and hopefully the other family will forgive and forget in time.

    Ideally, Stephen needs to make things right personally with Gayla and there should be a public closure to this nonsense that includes both parties making up. That’s going to require more than a half-hearted online apology and most likely require Stephen eating a big slice of humble pie for a while (and make no mistake, we all get our own slice from time to time). Bon appetit.

  51. ssalex said,

    February 22, 2009 @ 10:30 am

    I gather you didn’t go on the show for the money. (Based on your husband’s comments, he no doubt makes much more in a week than you got for participating on the show.) I can only gather that you signed up to be on the show as a way to showcase/advertise/market your coaching business. If you believe that all publicity is good publicity, then bravo, you and your husband have managed to turn a tv show into quite a lot of PR. It will be interesting to see what your ROI on this whole thing works out to be in a year.

  52. sassi said,

    February 22, 2009 @ 12:35 pm

    Who are you both trying to kid? Your husband knew exactly what he was doing when he was being so cruel to that poor woman, and verbally degrading our country. Now the backlash is too much for him and he feels the need to say he’s sorry? And to read where he says America is so great?? Did he not say he became a US citizen to change our policies, or something to that degree? How about if you don’t like our policies you get the heck out of this country? And for you to act as if you are so highly educated - you help people lose weight!! How many degrees does that require? My 3 children all watched that epidode, and my 6-year-old son even said he didn’t know an adult could act like your husband. My 6-year-old said that! You two are the exact reason why I detest San Francisco elitist liberals. You did a fabulous job of perpetuating the stereotype. Bravo to you both!

  53. MidwestMomof2 said,

    February 22, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

    I am from the Midwest, and am absolutely stunned by the actions of your husband. I am college-educated, motivated, non-overweight, and non everything else that he implied that his Wife Swap “wife” was. His actions portrayed who he really is; that was him speaking; no one else put those words in his mouth. It was also amazing to see how thoughtless your own children were. Maybe you need to teach your children some good, old-fashioned MIDWEST values.

  54. thollar said,

    February 22, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

    As an environmentalist, I am so disappointed in your husband’s performance. I hope he uses his vast intelligence to find a way to repair the damage he has done to all environmental organizations through-out the world. Nice work Steven.

  55. iwantgizmos said,

    February 22, 2009 @ 3:00 pm

    I found out about your blog and your podcasts from the Wife Swap nonsense that your husband made a fool of himself in. I feel sad for you and your children that your husband acted the way he did. My first thought after watching that nonsense (and seeing you cover your face during that table talk at the end of the episode) was that you were going to show up on the Divorce Court television show. Your husband is never going to be able to live this down.

    I have to tell you that I could have probably used your help when I was over 200+ pounds. I’m 5′6″ and at the time that 200+ pounds would make me extremely obese. I gained all that weight because of overeating at Thanksgiving parties, Birthday parties, Christmas parties, and New Years parties in the latter half of the year during those times several years ago. I’ve eventually lost weight. Then recently I got sick which made me lose a lot more weight. Getting sick is the ultimate weight loss program but I would not recommend it to anyone. When I was really sick and hospitalized, I was down to 108 pounds. But I am better now (and out of the dreadful hospital) and I am happily at around 134 pounds and I want to be around 140 pounds. I’m trying to eat better and get better.

    Regarding that Wife Swap show: Your family walked into a trap by going onto that show. Your family and particularly your husband were set up to be the snobby liberal higher-than-thou antagonists for that episode. One thing that your husband should learn from that episode is to be more humble and to not flout your intelligence or education like your husband did on that Wife Swap show. Use your intelligence and education to humbly do good works — and be more respectful at all times. Other people have their own life experiences that make them smarter than others in areas that one may simply not know about. For instance, that other family (the Longs) in that Wife Swap episode would be a family that would be smarter than your family with regard to their Paintball activities. And one would think that your husband would have been more respectful of Mrs. Long since her husband was the mayor of their town. My goodness, her husband was an actual mayor…. Anyways, I come from an Asian minority background with a lot of relatives who don’t have a college degree and a have a lot of uncles and aunts who barely have a high school education. I myself have four degrees, but I don’t flout that because I know that other people’s life experiences can make them more knowledgeable than myself. Just do good works and help others no matter what their background, education, or culture. Diversity in all of its forms whether that be of differing life experiences, educational backgrounds, foreign or simply being from another state such as Missouri instead of Northern California, have to be respected. Your husband’s behavior on that Wife Swap show was terribly self-centered, shameful and disrespectful of other people that he would normally not know anything about.

    I hope the best for you, Renee, as well as for your children. I hope your children live to be respectful of people of different backgrounds. I also hope that your husband lives to be more humble and not say disrespectful things of people that he probably would belittle if he had a chance to be on television again.

    Cheers to you and your family in these tough times.

  56. WWBD said,

    February 22, 2009 @ 3:01 pm

    Hey you two,

    I wanted to add a note of concern and compassion. Hope you two weather the storm. I am reminded by a reality show from the UK called “Something About Miriam”, in which the producers tricked several young men into being intimate with a transsexual - something equivalent to “media rape”. I am sure that the producer of Wife Swap egged your husband on, thinking how this show would become a media sensation, and never once concerned about what happens to your husband or your family as a result. Ratings über alles. This is because reality TV is like what a devout jew would call a “dybbuk” - a temptress who seduces your husband first, but eventually devours your husband and your entire family in the process.

    I’m sure Stephen is a wonderful guy in real life, who cares about the world and volunteers on non-profits. And I’m sure that you are also a beautiful and caring human being.

    Anyway, you should break the contract - since the producers obviously don’t give a damn about you - and get on the talk shows and get on his fucking knees and beg for forgiveness from America. Especially the midwest, where many wonderful people live and work everyday.

  57. bjohnson said,

    February 22, 2009 @ 5:50 pm


    I’m in Missouri and I don’t watch this stuff so I am sorry if this reply is late, but you got played. First off, you know as well as anyone that those weren’t “rural folk.” Their drive to the opera, ballet, and orchestra is every bit as short as yours. Didn’t you notice that the drive from the airport only took about 10 minutes or that there was a Knott’s Berry Farm sized amusement park in their back yard? How could you miss the casino that had to be within walking distance even for the fattest kid? I also saw some of the toys and appliances they had in that home. They probably make more money than you and your husband do. It was all a big lie.

    Your reason for joining the show may have been to promote your business, but his was to jump start his political career by making a liberal elite family look like fools. Obviously, he succeeded at your expense. The proper thing for him to do at that last meeting was to jump up and beat the snot out of your husband. Instead, he made comments that questioned your integrity and were intended to drive a stake right in the middle of your marriage. That wasn’t right.

    Your husband may not be too bright, but I doubt he is nearly as pompous as he was a month ago and he clearly cares about and cares for your children. Don’t let some midwestern political wannabe destroy your marriage.

  58. dongo said,

    February 22, 2009 @ 10:56 pm

    Perhaps the most comical part of this whole situation is that those with “advanced degrees” did not use any critical thinking to reason how being a jerk on national TV would impact them.

    As an aside, people like you and your husband were perhaps the NUMBER one reason I left California never to return. Tree hugging, feel good, leftist control freaks who want to run everyone’s life.. no thanks.

  59. jrey77 said,

    February 23, 2009 @ 2:37 am

    Renee & Stephen,

    I hope that you and your family are doing well despite this maelstrom of public criticism.

    I just wanted to suggest that the “Wife Swap” episode is not a total loss. Mrs. Long’s suggestion that you allow your children the freedom to develop their own interests was kind and insightful. I have seen too many highly-successful students who were programmed by their parents since a young age and face quarter-life crises in college over what they want out of life. Achievement for the sake of achieving is empty when it doesn’t come from a series of your own choices.

    Too often, parents see their children’s successes or failures as their own. Conversely, parents try to remedy their own failures through the lives of their children. Both of those pressures stunt child development and lead to fissures in parent-child relationships.

    Just some friendly advice. I wish you all well.


  60. michellkarl said,

    February 23, 2009 @ 3:26 am

    Renee, please rethink your approach to child-rearing. They are too insulated from the rest of the world, and have learned more negative behavior from your husband than you realize. All children, especially those who are intelligent and have families with financial resources, need to learn to care about and help other people. I think you could end up with children you would enjoy spending more time with.

  61. parkerwon said,

    February 23, 2009 @ 3:02 pm

    Book smarts didn’t lead to life smarts as you two have so vividly displayed. Thanks for showing your elitist friends
    that obtaining ” advanced degrees” did nothing for your social skill education. This backlash appears long overdue for the two of you. Karma has found you.

  62. etatsunis said,

    February 23, 2009 @ 4:02 pm

    When I read the comments on your blog posts I couldn’t help but be surprised to see that they were almost 100% positive and sympathetic to you and your husband. That struck me as unusual, as comments on stories online about you and your husband are almost 100% negative and critical of you both. This of course leads me to think that you are only publishing the positive comments.
    I am writing this out of curiosity to to see if you post it. I certainly do not look favorably on you or your husband.
    I’m assuming of course that this comment will not be posted, but I hope it will.

  63. kimberly said,

    February 23, 2009 @ 10:50 pm

    Hi Rene and Stephen, I wasn’t surprised today when I read the Contra Costa Times that you and your husband is feeling fall out from Wife Swap. When I saw the episode that your family was in, I was so incredibly shocked that such a seemingly kind woman like yourself could be married to a man that had such venom in him. I think it is more than therapy that is needed. What I mean is that therapy is not going to help. Because kindness toward others comes from the most basic human characteristic. People fill their bodies with the healthiest foods, yet the inside of their bodies are so polluted from behaviors and thoughts that are cruel and mean. I just don’t think anyone in their right mind could treat an other human so poorly. That nice lady was treated like trash and worse than a dog. I could never even treat someone I detested like that. Even your husband teaching your children to treat an other person so poorly was shocking to me. You know one of the greatest gifts in the world is love. Simple. Love and kindness don’t cost a thing and they are gifts that are kept in ones heart forever. It never stales or gets old. I hope one day your husband experiences it or learns how to get it. Because out of the mouth comes what is in the heart. And I just don’t see how you can become so cruel on a wim. It is very sad. I wonder if he feels sorry and sad, because people have told him what he has needed to hear all along? I don’t know. But I am sure change can come if it is desired and I hope he changes. It would be so sad to have a world full of people acting this way.

  64. kimberly said,

    February 23, 2009 @ 10:53 pm

    Oh, and I forgot to add, I was on a show before and they wanted me to ham it up, and I would not. It was my choice. I thought to myself I would never give the writers to make them happy, a show with an audience thinking something more happened. I just wouldn’t compromise. So I am not buying this ham it up, that I am reading about.

  65. Gemini said,

    February 24, 2009 @ 8:37 am

    I never watch reality shows. I know they have to be scripted for the best ratings impact. I did watch some clips on u-tube. I just can’t understand why you would even want to be on that show. What was your motivation? Both of you were cast almost opposite of what I read on this website on how you feel and behave. Your husbands actions were just way over the top. To much for me to believe he doesn’t harbor some of the feelings and attitudes he showed. I truly hope you and your husband can pull your lives back together. I suggest that you both take a long and honestly deep look at yourselves.

  66. 99problemsbutyourmomaintone said,

    February 24, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

    Wow. Way to have a human moment and be ashamed to be associated with a wanker. Development! Growth! I think you’ve earned yourself a cookie. And not one of those crap vegan organic ones–get a real one from Mrs. Field’s. And you even can keep this one down, just this once! ;)

  67. Lisa Paul said,

    February 24, 2009 @ 6:18 pm

    Shame, shame on both of you.

    You make me embarrassed to be a San Franciscan, a Noe Valley resident, an environmentalist, the wife of a Brit, even an educated person. One of the best reasons to become educated is that — one would hope — it makes you more tolerant, more able to understand different people and lifestyles and more socially adept. Clearly, your husband’s education has been a waste of money, as he seems to have absorbed none of those things. Instead your arrogance, condescension, rudeness and ignorance of socially acceptable behavior have indelibly reinforced the dreadful stereotype of the elitist city snob. The result will most likely be that if any of us want to explain our ideas about sustainability, exercise, diet and education, we’ll be ignored by the people we most want to reach. The most horrifying aspect of your husband’s behavior is that he has taught your children to ridicule, debase and disrespect people who are different than they are. You have a lot of life coaching to do in your own family!

    You aren’t off the hook either. Even before you met the Longs, you were sneering at their “lack of advanced degrees” and the fact that they probably wouldn’t have a housekeeper. This may be a good time to remind you and you two of another Missourian of humble background with only a high school education. His name was Harry Truman. He would recognize the innate Midwestern decency of Gayla and been appalled at you and your husband.

    All of your “clean food” and higher education didn’t seem to bring you or your husband the smallest amount of decency, kindness and tolerance exhibited by Gayla. You might take pointers from her perceptive realization that you are not spending enough time with your kids or allowing them to be kids.

    Again, shame, shame. You and your husband have a lot more apologizing to do. And may I suggest that your husband open comments this time if he is really sincere about his retraction.

  68. santacruzannie said,

    February 24, 2009 @ 9:04 pm

    Thank you Renee for all that you do- your support in my weight loss effort, many years of friendship, a great sense of humor, and an inspiration for fitness. All of these strangers above that are logging on to chastise you based on a reality TV show need to find a more productive use of their time. I guess these people believe they are qualified to judge others based on 44 minutes of edited TV but I don’t believe everything I see on TV myself. Love, light and positive energy to you today, tomorrow and forever and thanks for everything

  69. iowachick said,

    February 25, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

    Renee I’m sure I will not be able to write this elloquantly enough for your husband, or possibly even yourself, but I am only from Iowa, and I’ve only lived in the midwest, which is where I plan to permanently stay. The way your husband,and at times, yourself is absolutely amazing. I actually cannot believe people actually act that way. The whole point of the show is to experience other peoples’ way of life and to learn from others as well as to teach othrs. Anyone who can say they have not learned anything from someone is a very close minded and arrogant individual. For as “worldly” as you try to appear, you haven’t been anywhere. Every country is made up of diverse individuals, each being important, and each having their own role in our society. It seems you took nothing away from show in regards to your closing comments on the show. As for your occupation, I can’t possibly see how you can be such a negative person and attempt to have a positive outcome with your clients lives. I genuinely hope you can teach your children compassion and openmindedness in the environment you are providing for them, because it would seem a very difficult task.

  70. jenf said,

    February 25, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

    Hi Renee!

    I didn’t see the show but I am sorry to hear about the way it all played out. It kind of sounds like something I would do, to come across in a way I didn’t intend at all.

    Anyway, I wanted to say for what it’s worth that I only found your blog because of all the controversy, and I’m glad to have found it. I’ve recently begun to make changes to my diet in a way that impacts me not only physically but mentally and spiritually, and your writing will be really helpful to me as I seek to understand all this better. If there’s any silver lining to the situation, hopefully more people like me will be exposed to your thoughts on health and weight loss. :)


  71. show me state said,

    February 27, 2009 @ 6:25 pm

    I am sorry. I cannot let this go, without telling you the rest of my story.
    How ironic at time I became aware of the controversy, concerning you and your husband on Wife Swap. I was sitting in a Hospital.

    My husband was undergoing Gastric By Pass surgery. I then watched the clip on Youtube, where your husband is telling Gayla she is fat. So as I sit in the waiting room crying , because someone could be so heartless. And his wife is a weight loss coach.
    Either he does not support you in your field, or somehow you have conveyed to him that fat people are losers.

    My husband had tried numerous weigh loss programs,to no avail.
    I had searched the web for weight loss programs, Thank God!

    I did not come across yours, or we would have possibly perused your program.

    Am I being judgmental: as you and your husband were, Yes, but what goes around comes around!

    We all make mistakes, and we all say things we do not mean, however it was clear to me that you and your husband are holier then thou and that those whom live in glass houses should not throw stones.

  72. wiki7 said,

    March 1, 2009 @ 5:59 am

    Dear Renee,

    I stumbled upon your podcast last year and was immediately hooked, I feel that you truly offer healing and I am truly grateful that you exist and that I found you. I’m one of those people who have always been a bit over weight… I live a fairly healthy lifestyle, always have, my parents were lentil loving alternatives…I’m strong and spunky but I’ve never quite been in control of my weight and you’ve helped me to understand some of the reasons why, you are fantastic, your advice and empathy, understanding is, well, life enhancing… giving me the tools I need to evolve in my life!

    But this isn’t what I came here to talk about… I was looking at Itunes today, happily looking forward to the next installment of your show and I noticed there wasn’t a new show… I thought, “oh that’s strange” so then I decided to finally join this forum (which I’ve been meaning to do for ages) so I googled you and saw all this Wife Swap stuff… my first thought was, “Oh no, please don’t let Renee be a fake, oh god I really trusted and liked her, why did she go on such a show, please don’t let her be a like all the rest! Please don’t let me down…”

    Then I caught myself and thought “Whoa hang on, I really think I should look into this before I go getting all despondent” so I decided to watch the show on Youtube - and Yes your husband was a complete DORK on the show! He really didn’t himself any favors…its an awful show, however, you my dear, you crazy thing, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to go on that show, but you did. I and anyone can see you really genuinely wanted to help these people and I think on a level you did, it was brave of you to attempt this show, especially given your profile.

    As we grow we realize we are all fallible, we are all capable, no one is perfect, we are all just trying to navigate this life, we are growing everyday and that’s the beautiful thing about life… Thank you for you wonderful inclination and talent to help others gain the tools to make their lives a little better- you are genuine and you do make a difference and for that I am so so thankful - these little kinks in the road are there to remind us that we are all wonderfully human. I look forward to continuing my journey with your wise guidance.

    All the best


  73. kaganey said,

    March 3, 2009 @ 2:52 pm

    Hi, Renee. I saw your appearance on Wife Swap, and you certainly came across as a very compassionate individual. I really do think you had a positive impact on the life of the Long family. What a shame that your husband’s narrow mindedness prevented your family from gaining anything from the experience. I’m a Midwesterner (currently pursuing a college degree), and I must say I found his comments about us insulting. I was really surprised that someone who claims to have such a global world view would exhibit such prejudice about a different culture and set of values. What concerned me most, however, was the fact that your children stopped talking to Gayla. The field which I am entering is developmental psychology, specifically the genesis of in-group/out-group schema and prejudice. Not surprisingly, there is quite a bit of data to support that children of people who exhibit prejudice toward a group of people (in this case: the uneducated, the overweight, and Midwesterners) are much more likely to become prejudiced themselves. What may surprise you is that these prejudices are very flexible from one generation to the next. For example, children who grow up in a racist household are more likely to be prejudiced, not necessarily in regards to race but to any number of factors. Furthermore, the most difficult prejudices to dispel are those that one believes can be changed. For example, one might think the overweight or uneducated don’t deserve respect because these things can, and ought, to be changed. It is this type of prejudice that is the MOST difficult to get rid of once they are in place. I have a concern that your children might be exhibiting these prejudices from their contemptuous behavior toward Gayla. I would really encourage you to take special care to prevent this attitude from developing in your children. Perhaps visit and learn more about the Midwest with your children once public attention has faded. Take care.

  74. Safia said,

    March 4, 2009 @ 1:35 am


    I just watched the episode of Wife Swap, and I too was appalled by Stephen’s insults and the way he relished grinding her with his Ferragamos. I’m quite ashamed at his backbiting now that he is a naturalized American. A quote from Jean Jacques Rousseau circled my mind the entire episode: “What wisdom [knowledge] can you find that is greater than kindness?” Gayla may not be able to finish the NYT Sunday crossword, but she came off as a better person. I thought you enlightened her family. That’s partly due to the fact that they were more open to it and partly to do with the fact that you approached with kindness, respect, and understanding. Kudos.

  75. Ted Greatwater said,

    March 6, 2009 @ 9:36 pm

    Dear Renee,

    This is somewhat of a different type of comment. It is my opinion that you and your husband were used by the producers of Wife Swap no differently than other families have been. You feel into the trap of believing that you could reach a broader audience with your messages of how to lead a better life. I am sure that Stephen was heavily coached into playing the role of a complete jackass.

    The lesson here is that anyone can become the target of public ridicule at the whim of the television media. Even those who believe they are part of the elite class. The actual elite ruling class lurks in the shadows of our nation, and many other nations of the world.

    If you or Stephen do not have the following books in your library, I encourage you to add them.

    Tragedy and Hope - Carroll Quigley, 1st Edition, 1st Printing
    The First Global Revolution - Published by the Club of Rome
    The Limits of Growth - Published by the Club of Rome
    The Hope of The Wicked - Ted Flynn
    The Grand Chessboard - Zbigniew Brzezinski
    The Underground History of American Education - John Taylor Gatto

    I agree that the majority of Americans are clueless as to rest of the world. Even more frigtening is the lack of understanding of what America was to be, and how far we have fallen.

    Be well,


  76. bward said,

    March 21, 2009 @ 3:40 pm

    Renee — I saw the youtube videos, and although yes, Stephen’s behavior was appalling, and at first, I considered you to be cut from the same cloth, I saw some other footage that has changed my mind.

    I thought you had a positive influence on the Long family, and I also really liked how you tried to use paintball as a conduit to appreciating art. Although it was amusing when you asked them what their paintball artistic creations looked like, they said “paint”, I thought the attempt was creative and showed respect for their passions.

    I also saw you hang your head several times when Stephen made comments that were clearly out of line, so I suspect the outward display on Wife Swap probably wasn’t an “Inside Out” representation of your character.

    This too shall pass :)

  77. JT said,

    March 23, 2009 @ 4:16 pm

    Dear Renee

    Like so many, I had never heard of you until news about the Wife Swap show appeared on the Yahoo homepage. I looked at the clips, expecting to see the average reality show fare, but was shocked and appalled at what I saw. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why anybody (you) would be such a willing participant in such an obviously unhealthy relationship. Why anybody would not only support, but condone such unhealthy views. Then it occurred to me. You were once overweight yourself.

    It’s entirely possible that your self esteem was low when Stephen met you, making you the perfect lump of clay he could mold into the perfect little platform he could use to stroke his ego on a daily basis. You will never, in his estimation, be his equal. You’re American, which inherently makes you inferior to him. Your “certificates” are inferior to his “degrees.” And you were formerly overweight.

    Everything about you is inferior to him, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Same thing for your children. He’ll keep pushing them to be perfect, but he’ll never allow them to reach a level equal to his. He too desperately needs that sense of superiority that he exudes with every breath. They’ll keep trying to live up to his impossible standards, but it will never happen. One day, they’ll realize that it’s useless to try. They’ll hate him for being so overbearing, and they’ll hate you for letting him. They’ll either end up as cold and unforgiving as he is, or they’ll turn to drugs or promiscuity (maybe both) to fill the social void left in their souls by his callous, aloof lack of genuine. When that happens, he isn’t going to blame himself. Nothing’s ever his fault, is it? No, of course it won’t be his fault. It’ll be yours. For not being as perfect as he is. For being American. Any excuse he can pin on you, he will. As usual. Why else would he marry a lowly American? Why not marry some strong, intelligent woman of the world? Easy. So that he’s always got you do look down upon. And not just you, but your clients.

    Every time Stephen makes an insulting remark about overweight people, he’s directly insulting your clients. And for him to do it right in front of you, knowing that these are people you purport to want to help, he insults you, too.

    And when you sit beside him in silence, you not only allow yourself to be insulted, but you insult your clients, too. By not standing up for your clients and defending them against his insults, you not only allow it, but you encourage it. He slaps them on one cheek with an insult, and you slap them on the other by not defending them. If your clients haven’t seen the wife swap show, I hope they go to youtube and watch clips of it so they can see him insulting overweight people, Americans, and the American Military. And so they can see you sitting next to him, supporting him while he does it. It almost makes it look like you’re more interested in your clients’ money than you are in them as people. I mean, if you cared about them as people, surely they’d be worthy of defending. Right?

    I also hope you take another long look at it for your own sake. I hope that you’ll see that he counts you among those he considers inferior to himself. Just like everybody else. If you think he genuinely cares about you, think again. Take a long, honest look at how he treats you. How does he talk to you when you put on a few pounds over the holidays? How does he treat you any time you say or do something that he doesn’t agree with? Is he loving and understanding? Or does he make the same snide, insulting kind of remarks that he made at Gayla Long until you straighten up and do things his way? I don’t expect you to answer me honestly, but I hope for your own sake that you can answer it honestly for yourself. How long would he keep you around if you started to have your own opinions? If you weighed ten pounds more than he thinks you should? If you allowed your children to form normal, healthy friendships among their peers? And by peers, I don’t just mean the children at their school. I mean neighborhood children that they play with, and that come over to play with them. How long would Stephen keep you around if you allowed the children to stop taking piano or fencing lessons so that they could spend at least some time playing like normal kids do?

    My guess is that he wouldn’t keep you around for very long if you had the nerve to start thinking for yourself and stop playing the subservient wife to his self-imposed “superior” intellect. And if that’s how little he thinks of you, what good are you doing yourself by staying with him?

    For you to continue to live with a man who obviously holds you in such contempt shows that your self esteem is still in need of some repair. Before the Wife Swap show, you might have been able to rationalize his emotional abuse as being constructive or helpful, but now that you (and the rest of the world) have seen what sort of man he really is, you need to take control of your life. Be strong for yourself and your children, and demand the respect for your clients that he deserves as well.

    Stephen doesn’t just owe Gayla Long an apology, he owes one to your clients, too. And he owes one to your for putting you in the middle of all of this. You deserve more respect than that as a beautiful, strong woman, as his wife, and as the mother of his children. If he can’t give you that, he doesn’t deserve you. Because, dear, he needs you more than you need him. It’s an old adage, but it’s true. A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle. Especially that man.

    By all means, don’t take my word for it. Go see your own therapist. Stephen might not approve, saying that such things are for “common” or “insecure” people, but I’m willing to bet that the real reason he wouldn’t approve is because it might lead you to finally see the light of day. Which is a good reason for you to go. Talk to a professional. You’re all about helping people with their life choices, right? Well, (pseudo) physician, heal thyself. Before you try to help others make healthy choices for their lives, you need to reconsider the choices you make for yours.

    Most of all, though, reconsider for the sake of your children. Your children are being emotionally abused and socially stunted, and there’s nobody that’s going to save them but you. Your children need you. You and Stephen are adults, and you have all the choices. The children have none. They’re hostages to the situation, helpless to do anything but survive until they’re old enough to bolt out of that horribly oppressive environment on their own. And by that time, it might be too late.

    Look into the faces of your children, Renee. That’s where your affirmation is, in the way they look at you. Not in the cruel words of a man that doesn’t truly care for your. Mother is the word for God on the lips and hearts of all children. Save yours.

  78. jjwalsh said,

    April 11, 2009 @ 4:48 pm

    As a fellow American married to an Englishman I think I can relate to what you are going through on many levels. England is much more of a class-centered society and they love to make fun of Americans. In America, we also love to have the English villians like Simon on American idol, but he made Simon look like a saint.

    It is such a horrible, public way to realize that the person you most love and depend on has some seriously unhealthy issues with class bias and such harsh feelings of discrimination against the overweight people you yourself work so hard to help. That is insulting enough to us all as fellow human beings, but humiliating coming from a loved one you trusted.

    On a positive note, it is a good place for him to work on developing his character to be more accepting of people of all classes, social backrounds and interests. We usually count on highly educated people to be more tolerant of others who are different, lets hope he can demonstrate that soon.

    I think if he did some volunteer work helping neighborhoods in middle america become more environmentally friendly in some way. For example, by visiting schools and community centers and explain how people might save money and help the environment by using solar, riding bicycles and changing light bulbs- he would be forced to work alongside the group of people he insulted.

    It would give him a chance to do what he is passionate about and help people he hurt. By helping people to save money and get on track environmentally- he would also be forced to apologize at least once each and everyday. I think it would show everyone on a personal level that he has changed his judgemental ways and let everyone move on in a positive way. I think it would redeem him at least a bit in the public’s eyes.

    As a more personal apology, perhaps buy an electric solar system for the swap mother’s family home or their local school? That would be a step in the right direction.

    As for your kids, the most hurtful part of the program for me what when he “used” the kids to do his dirty work and insult their swap-mother off camera using his hurtful words about how “she didn’t turn out very well”, it was brutal.

    You are making so much effort to raise them in an educated and well balanced, healthy way- please also teach them by example how to be tolerant and accepting of other people who are different from themselves.

  79. Joel said,

    June 8, 2009 @ 7:48 pm

    I’m happy to see that Stephen made an effort to mend some of the damage he inflicted with a public apology and an acknowledgement of the inappropriateness of his behavior.

    I sincerely pray for your family’s refreshing. And, thank you for what you do for people.

    Many blessings to your family.

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