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If anything, this past year or so has taught the world one thing: to never trust a wife guy.
By now, most people know that Ned Fulmer, the self-proclaimed dad of the Try Guys and “wife guy,” has cheated on his wife Ariel with an employee. Additionally, the Try Guys have ceased to work with Fulmer. It’s easy to say that the internet is in absolute shambles.
What is a wife guy? The New York Times describes a wife guy as “not just a husband,” but “a man who has risen to prominence online by posting content about his wife.” In more recent cases, a wife guy is a man who has made his wife a part of his career or a part of his brand.
A lot of people, specifically women, take note of these “wife guy” internet personas, like that of Fulmer, and observe how they put their wives on a pedestal. This behavior has attracted many women to view their content.
Everyone knows Ned loves his wife, and he is praised for it. Saying “I love my wife” is the bare minimum – what the “wife guy” does is not special. People don’t call women who love their husbands “husband gals.”
It could be argued that Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds are a couple who publicly, and equally, show their love for each other, but only one of them is praised for it. Reynolds is one of the most well-known “wife guys.” A large part of his public persona is how much he loves Blake, but Blake is just as public about her love for Ryan. Yet, conversation about their relationship is always focused around how much Ryan loves Blake, and never how much Blake loves Ryan.
In other words, Ryan is always called a “wife guy,” but Blake is never called a “husband girl.” Society has always expected women to center their husbands and others in their lives, but it was never an expectation for men to prioritize their wives. When a man publicly, wholesomely, and unabashedly declares how much he loves his wife, it feels rare, and people feel attracted to that concept.
Take the case of comedian John Mulaney. While his routines and career are not fully centered around his wife – now ex wife – Anna Marie Tendler, Tendler has constantly been the subject of many stories in Mulaney’s stand-up routines and specials. Mulaney commonly shouts “I love my wife!” throughout his specials and story-tellings.
Unlike other cases, it was never confirmed that Mulaney cheated on Tendler. However, it seemed that John Mulaney moved on very quickly. Only months after the divorce announcement in May 2021, Mulaney announced that he was dating and having a child with Olivia Munn in September. When both were announced, the internet was in disbelief. How could John Mulaney, the internet’s sweetheart, divorce the wife he claimed to love so much?
Several weeks ago, news broke that singer Adam Levine was cheating on his Victoria’s Secret Angel wife, Behati Prinsloo. It was also reported that Levine wanted to name his unborn child after his mistress, Sumner Stroh. Levine has been incredibly outspoken about how his wife is not only incredible, but “the best person ever,” and in turn, social media praised him for this.
Whenever Prinsloo would walk in a show, without skipping a beat, Levine would be on his feet clapping and cheering for her. His reactions were quite normal, but they still would be all over Twitter, Instagram, and news outlets the next day, with people fawning over his reaction and how much he loves Prinsloo, his fiancée at the time
One of Maroon 5’s biggest hits, “Girls Like You” featured Prinsloo, their daughter, and several other famous women. This again was praised; many calling Adam Levine a great husband, father, man, and champion for women’s rights.
Most recently, the aforementioned Ned Fulmer cheated on his wife with a fellow Buzzfeed employee. Arguably, he has built more of his career off his wife, Ariel, than the other “wife guys” mentioned earlier. Ned goes as far as describing himself in his Instagram bio as “@arielmfulmer’s Husband.”
Ever since the dawn of his career at Buzzfeed, Ned was always known as a “wife guy,” mentioning his wife in various videos. Over the years, Ariel became increasingly involved in Ned’s career. Ariel started appearing in videos, quit her main job as an interior designer and was willing to share her and Ned’s life as a married couple and parents with the internet.
Fulmer was able to monetize and brand himself as “The Wife Guy” by integrating her into his career. Because Ariel was also in the public eye, the news of Ned’s infidelity was more shocking to the internet than the fall of Adam Levine or John Mulaney’s relationships.
The obsession with Ned and Ariel’s relationship, along with that of Adam and Behati and John and Anna, all started because these men were talking about their wives. John including Anna in his routines, Adam letting press outlets know how hot he thinks Behati is and Ned’s continuous mentioning of Ariel in his YouTube videos are all examples of guys who seemingly love their wives.
This love should be the standard. The problem is that long-standing patriarchal beliefs have led people to believe otherwise. Standards have historically been very low for the way men talk about their wives or the women in their lives, so it appears groundbreaking when men make public claims about their love for their wives.
In a way, it is society’s fault for adhering to the patriarchal treatment of wives – making what should be the standard, “couple goals.” At the same time, can we really be blamed for being fooled by their facade of wholesomeness? These men had been considered by the public eye as some of “the good ones,” and their actions have not only demolished their public personas but have also caused their wives and children to endure this very personal issue publicly.