We left Kendra Wilkinson and Hank Baskett on shaky ground last week as Kendra on Top concluded with Wilkinson admitting she was tired of trying to fix her troubled husband. Little did we know things were about to get worse.
While visiting her BFF Jessica Hall during last night’s episode, the conversation quickly turned to one very incriminating photo of Kendra kissing her I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! costar. Laughing, she says they accidentally kissed, to which Hall’s mom, Venita, perfectly responds, “What, you tripped and fell on each other’s faces?”
Score one for the mom squad! But Venita is also legitimately concerned for Wilkinson’s marriage, so she asks how they are doing. Wilkinson then drops a bombshell: “I have some guys I’ve been texting lately that I feel are kind of not in the friend category.”
That’s when we turned to the show’s executive producer to exclusively ask how long this behavior had been going on. “Since the scandal,” the EP said. “When it looked as though their marriage was finished, Kendra started receiving texts from old boyfriends and former ‘flings.’ Although, to our knowledge, it hasn’t been more than this, Hank feels that her unwillingness to cut these guys off is a sign that the two still have a lot of work to do.”
No laughing matter
Later, when Baskett pulls out the emergency preparedness kit he created for the family, he and Wilkinson start to chat about their bucket lists in life. When Wilkinson scoffs at Baskett’s, he is visibly offended. For her part, Wilkinson looks bored and admits as much, saying, “I’m a wild soul, and I think sometimes this traditional thing just bores the living shit out of me.”
Despite these unfiltered doubts, the show EP reminds us that Wilkinson’s past has a lot to do with her present, saying, “Kendra genuinely wants her marriage and her family to work. It means everything to her, but last year was the worst thing that could happen to someone who has had deep-seated trust issues since childhood. It takes time to recover from that.”
To sort through some of those issues, Wilkinson meets with her therapist. And there, they start to explore the root cause of one of the behaviors that hurts Baskett the most — laughing in his face. Wilkinson suggests it’s a nervous tic and, true to form, can’t stop giggling.
Wilkinson’s therapist points out that it might be a defense mechanism, and things take a decidedly more serious turn when Wilkinson opens up about the text relationships she’s been engaging in. “Why do I have so much fun getting a taste of the other side?” she asks.
Which leads to another critical question: Isn’t digital adultery still adultery? Is what she is doing that much different from what we know of Baskett’s indiscretion? Ultimately, they both boil down to a breach of trust.
A visit from the in-laws
The next episode picks up with a visit from Baskett’s parents who — can I be frank? — are just about the cutest couple ever.
“Hank’s parents are an incredibly positive force in Kendra and Hank’s lives, and in their marriage,” underscores the show EP. “Hank’s father is a retired military man (Air Force) who has spent the last 20 years counseling physically and emotionally abused children. Both parents love Kendra like a daughter, and it’s a kind of unconditional love that she never had growing up.”
Aw, adore them! Sadly, we learn that Baskett’s dad, Hank Jr., is currently battling lung cancer. Could that traumatic news have been a contributing factor in Baskett’s depression?
“It has to be a factor,” posits the EP, “although Hank would never admit that. Hank’s father is his hero. He has spent his entire life trying to please him and make him proud. The fact is, Hank Jr., and his wife, Judy, went through years of prejudice because they were an interracial couple at a time when such a thing was not as common — or as acceptable — as it is now. Hank [Baskett III] saw this prejudice firsthand and was determined to make his parents happy.”
Which, explains the EP, is part of Baskett’s communication problem. “For this reason, Hank never opens up about his problems or admits when he needs help… something that drives Kendra crazy. In fact, much of the time when she seems like she’s being brutal or mean to him, she’s really just trying to provoke a reaction. She wants to ‘toughen him up.’ In that sense, Kendra often comes across like Patti when dealing with her husband. Not necessarily the best approach.”
More: Kendra Wilkinson reveals she almost went too far to get back at Hank
When the topic of Wilkinson’s estranged mother comes up, the typical questions arise. Should she subject herself and her kids to the drama Patti will undoubtedly create?
“The more love a child experiences, whether from blood family or not, the more the child feels secure and confident in their lives. However, if there is stress in the house that is palatable by an adult, chances are the child feels it, too,” explains SheKnows Parenting Expert Lori Pace. “So if Kendra and her mother can mend fences and present a loving, non-tense relationship in front of the children, I would encourage them to let the loving grandmother in. If not, however, the cons are too great paired with the stress of the marriage lately.”
After having a little pep talk with baby Alijah, Wilkinson bites the bullet and gives Patti a call, who doesn’t pick up. Emotionally vulnerable from the courage it took to even make the call, Wilkinson looks over lovingly at baby Alijah and promises she will always love her… and never judge her.
That much, despite a season (and life!) full of twists and turns, is certain says the EP. “When we aren’t filming, Kendra and Hank work hard not to let their problems show when Little Hank or Alijah are around. Their kids mean everything to them.”