In celebration, here's a look at how tonight's episode illustrated the old adage "Two wrongs don't make a right," or, perhaps, "What's good for the goose isn't always good for the gander." Or, you know, that Wilkinson and Baskett's marriage needs some serious TLC.
Last week, Wilkinson's 10-day London trip was nearing its end, and the former Playboy bunny was clearly making the most of her time in the UK. After a momentary scare when her father, who she'd recently reconciled with, called to reveal he was headed for surgery, Wilkinson resumed her whirlwind round of press appearances — after her dad, Eric, assured her he was OK, of course.
So despite being "so tired I can't even see straight," Wilkinson soldiered on. Although, admittedly, she hoped her next stop on a reality TV show about, erm, reality TV would be a big more lighthearted than some of her other UK stops so far. (We're looking at you, curmudgeonly old lady from Loose Women.)
And, well, how else would you define a show on which Wilkinson starts off talking about sex with Hugh Hefner and ends up entangled in a faux threesome? To be clear, it was all in good fun. I would totally tune into that show, should it come stateside.
With all of her official press appearances for the trip now concluded, Wilkinson decided to cap it all off with one more fantastic photo op — sitting front-row at a top UK designer's fashion show during their Fashion Week.
It's a bit of a departure for Wilkinson, who hilariously says of coming into her own at this age, "I feel like I've cleansed my soul. I pretty much had a 20s douche." Somebody cross-stitch that on a pillow and get it in an Etsy store, stat!
After posing with a giant blow-up doll, Wilkinson runs into an even more exciting attendee — James Anderson, a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys who happens to be an acquaintance of Baskett's from back home. Seriously, you guys, it's a small world.
Of course, Wilkinson hits the nail on the head when she is anxious to sit beside Anderson. "One picture will be taken of me talking to him, and it'll be 'Kendra f***ed him.'" Naturally, tabloids essentially ran with headlines of Wilkinson's inappropriate flirting the next morning. As for what really went on between the two, Kendra on Top's executive producer had this to say: "Kendra spent a better part of the day with him and partied with him that night. They were in the moment and enjoying London."
Intriguing. Regardless, Wilkinson was heading home and happy to be doing so. At this point, she'd been in the UK for nearly two weeks and — prior to that — filming Marriage Boot Camp and I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! back to back. The absence definitely affected Wilkinson, who couldn't wait to get back to her kids. But could it have affected little Hank and Alijah in a negative way, too?
"Yes, absolutely. Though kids are fairly resilient and I am sure she has more than adequate care for them, they definitely feel the absence," asserts SheKnows Parenting Expert Lori Pace, pointing out from personal experience that her own children call her and want to come home after only a weekend at their dad's.
"The early years are the backbone for developing that bond between mother and child," she says. "Though I understand she needs to earn an income for a family, her kids need to see her as well. I would have made the effort to take them with me."
When Wilkinson made it back to LAX, Baskett surprised her at the curb in a new truck wrapped in logos for his newest endeavor, GAEMS. Or, judging from Wilkinson's reaction, a mobile marketing vehicle of mortification.
"I feel like I'm in a billboard," she says, among more colorful expressions.
"In Kendra's mind, this may be just another example of Hank attracting unwanted and embarrassing attention to her," explains SheKnows Dating and Relationship Expert Laurel House. "While advertising his new company can bring positive financial attention, the blatant advertisement is still stepping out of a box that Kendra feels comfortable in. And because this public display was, yet again, not discussed with and agreed upon by Kendra, it feels forced on her."
What Baskett should have done, explains House, is communicated to his wife how he was feeling and what he planned to do before he did it. This way she would have felt like part of the decision-making process instead of an afterthought.
"The problem is that by Kendra making undercutting comments, poking fun and making Hank feel like a fool or not good enough, her resentful actions may start to cause resentment in Hank. Hank is not advertising his company to hurt or embarrass Kendra. In fact, he is probably doing it in an attempt to build his own platform so that he can start contributing to the marriage in a positive way."
And it just goes downhill from the truck debacle, my friends. Baskett is obviously hurt by Wilkinson's reaction, and her next question doesn't help. "How are the kids? Have you been feeding them right?" After pointedly responding, "Of course I have," Baskett goes on the offensive.
Pulling the ol' "I hate having to do this, but" trick out of the playbook, Baskett explains that he had to Google Wilkinson to find out the extent of her wild times in London. She insists most of that was typical paparazzi manipulation and shoots down the conversation.
Tellingly, she says to the camera, "I want him to know how it felt, you know, when I read stuff through the press. I want him to know what it's like. I'm looking at our marriage like a whole new marriage."
But because Baskett wants things to go back to the way they used to be, they just keep butting heads. As the episode draws to a close, Wilkinson walks out onto the balcony where a depressed Baskett is sitting.
And here's where things get really real, and really tough. When Baskett vents to Wilkinson about the distance between them and she reiterates that she still has stuff to work through, he responds, "How long do you want to punish me and make me realize I failed?"
Wilkinson tells the camera, "I'm tired of trying to fix him. He needs to get stronger." But, for her part, insists the show's executive producer, Wilkinson really is trying not to hold a grudge against Baskett for his part in last year's cheating scandal.
"Kendra is trying very hard not to be angry with Hank, but her biggest problem is that it took him so long to tell her what really happened last year. She feels that his reluctance to share the truth with her indicates some deeper problem between them, and she's struggling to figure out how to deal with it. Her emotions are raw and real and, even she would admit, imperfect."
Understandable, right? These things take time, and they take effective communication. But if Wilkinson is committed to making her marriage work, the couple might need to up their marriage counseling sessions.
Says House, "Some couples simply cannot effectively communicate without a marriage counselor present, and any attempt to try can be destructive. This happens when the individuals communicate in different styles, leading one or both people to mistake the intended meaning, become offended and defensive, feel confused or threatened, and react in a non-productive way."
The best-case course of action for couples like Wilkinson and Baskett (who obviously fit this mold) is to wait to hash out the tricky topics with a counselor present.
"That being said, Kendra is knowingly stirring the pot," says House. "She is saying and doing things in an attempt to upset and get back at Hank. As the old saying goes, two wrongs don't make a right. It just causes two people to be really pissed, hurt and push either against or away."
This much is certain — with tension that palpable between the two of them, Wilkinson and Baskett need to address the situation before the stress starts manifesting in their kids.
"As a mom who went through a less than amicable divorce when my children were very young, I know the effects stress and tension have on children," Pace shares. "My now 9-year-old still remembers the fights and running [from] the room to get away from it."
So where do Wilkinson and Baskett go from here?
Says Pace, "Kids absorb what the parents put off. Minimizing it could be as simple as the parents agreeing to 'fake it' or by taking the time to spend with the child in a conversation about the 'weirdness' having nothing to do with them."
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