Fulmer has since confirmed on Twitter that he had a “consensual relationship in the workplace”, adding, “I’m sorry for any pain my actions may have caused the guys and the fans, but especially Ariel.” The remaining guys released a statement earlier today, announcing that Fulmer would no longer be working with them: “Following a thorough internal review, we do not see a way forward together.” Ariel Fulmer released a statement at the same time. “Nothing is more important to me and Ned than our family,” she wrote, “and all we ask at this time is that you respect our privacy for the sake of our children. “
Udoka’s alleged affair seems like a whole different beast – she’s not a woman, or at least not Again — but what Levine and Fulmer have in common is the fact that they were (and are, for now at least) notorious Wife Guys. If you’re not familiar with a wife, you live a blessed life and I’m jealous.
A Wife Guy is a man whose fame or brand image is largely based on the fact that he is in love with the woman he married. There have been several Wife Guys in history: Ina Garten’s husband, Jeffrey, John Legend, Ryan Reynolds, Curvy Wife Guy, John Mulaney (before, well, you know). Wife Guys aren’t just married men, they’re men who don’t hide how married they are. Their wives are not mere mortals, they are goddesses who grant their husbands a vague tolerance for their mediocre failures and inadequacies. Men-women are so grateful to have women – have always being the key word.
Wife Guys write Instagram captions on their birthdays about “another ride around the sun with this one.” Their Twitter bio lists them as husbands and fathers and nothing else. (Fulmer’s Instagram bio indeed still describes him as “@arielmfulmer’s husband.”) Wife Guys wives, meanwhile, cease to have the identities of their own postnuptials; in a quick order, they are referred to almost exclusively as “my wife”. To be a married guy is to put your wife on such a ridiculously high pedestal that she completely ceases to be a person.
Anecdotally, it always seems to be the worst Wife Guys who go astray. That’s a bit too much lady protest, isn’t it? Adam Levine put his wife and child in the music video for Maroon 5’s ‘Girls Like You’ in 2018. Now he’s accused of asking the woman he allegedly cheated with if he could name her to her unborn child.
Fulmer is an exemplary Wife Guy because he monetized it so well. The Try Guys created their own production company, 2nd Try LLC. And as their audience grew, so did the guys. In the first videos, they wore labor pain simulators and tried acrylic nails for a day. Now they are married and have children of their own, which eventually spawned the Try wives. Ariel Fulmer is not just Ned Fulmer’s wife, but part of the business. Last year, the couple posted The Date Night Cookbook, lots of pictures of them feeding on croutons. (The chocolate cake decorated with “I’m sorry” certainly seems appropriate now, Ned. Let me know if it works.)
Ariel is an interior designer, but her income and public persona are inextricably linked to her husband. And what is her husband without his wife? What’s a Wife Guy when he ruins his relationship with the woman in question?