Is Couples Therapy on TV real or are they actors? Annie and Mau et al explained

24 Jan 2022, 20:02
24 Jan 2022, 18:51

Couples Therapy

Couples Therapy continues on BBC Two tonight (Monday, January 24) and it’s been called “powerful, sumptuous TV”.

It literally does what it says on the tin.

Couples go to therapy in a bid to save their relationships, under the guidance of Dr Orna Guralnik.

And we see every step of their confessions, their tears and their honesty.

But there’s one thing that lots of people are asking: are the couples real or are they actors?

Dr Guralnik on Couples Therapy (Credit: BBC)

Is Couples Therapy on TV real or are they actors?

Very much so.

The US series was first shown on American cable network, Showtime, in 2019 and became an unlikely hit.

In it, it shows four couples who have different problems going into therapy sessions and baring their soul to psychoanalyst Dr Orna Guralnik.

Read more: Josie Gibson had therapy for TV appearance after being triggered by childhood experience

And even though these couples – married for different amounts of time – do open up and talk about complex issues, people still want to know if they’re real or if they’re actors.

Dr Orna told From The Grapvine that all participants were some of her own clients.

She said of the the producers and their approach: “They were super respectful of the participants, non-sensational, only wanting the truth, not wanting anything that is fabricated

“I feel like in this day and age, it’s a very important piece of work.

“It really goes against this whole intense polarization and demonization that this culture is afflicted by.”

What isn’t real in Couples Therapy?

The only thing that isn’t real in the series is the office.

Dr Orna explains that what’s featured in the show is an “upgraded” version of her own office because it was too small to fit in all the equipment.

Instead, everything was filmed through a 360-degree mirror and that couples “wouldn’t know” the crew was there.

Annie and Mau on Couples Therapy (Credit: BBC)

Couples Therapy couples: Annie and Mau

Annie and Mau are from Philadelphia and have been married for 23 years, but Mau believes that he and his wife are sexually incompatible.

Their problems began when Annie booked a sex party for his birthday, but he cancelled it.

Because it was too well planned.

Mau just wants uncomplicated sex that he doesn’t have to “work” for and says that he views sex “like eating, like sleeping”.

“I have to do it every day. So the idea that you had sex yesterday is sort of like saying you ate yesterday.

“I appreciate that – I’m glad you ate yesterday. But today is today.”

However, when Annie opens up to past sexual trauma, the sessions take a different turn.

DeSean and Elaine (Credit: BBC)

Elaine and DeSean

Elaine says that she and her husband of 11 years are polar opposites.

She says that their relationship was fantastic in the beginning because DeSean “calmed my noise and I woke him up”.

However, Elaine calls DeSean up to 20 times a day when he’s at work and he’s not happy.

As their journey evolves, we find out the effects of racism on his life and Elaine struggles to face her own past, after growing up with addict parents and being abused by exes.

Sarah and Lauren have deep-seated issues (Credit: BBC)

Sarah and Lauren

Also in this series, same-sex couple Sarah and Lauren speak about their differences.

Sarah wants a baby but Lauren wants to hold fire – because she has recently transitioned to being a woman.

Lauren, from Los Angeles, says she was dealing with her own identity and wanted to focus on that first.

However, Sarah says that she was “devastated” when her wife of two years put having a child on hold.

Especially when she explains that she was entering depression and she saw having a baby as a way to heal herself.

Evelyn and Alan (Credit: BBC)

Evelyn and Alan

Alan, who’s been married to Evelyn for six years, feels like their relationship is too far gone.

Evelyn is concerned that he says one thing and does another.

And when he goes AWOL for hours on end, her trust in him begins to really dissolve. Especially when Alan admits to staying in contact with everyone he meets and doesn’t see a problem in it.

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Couples Therapy season one – where are the couples now? *SPOILERS*

Sarah and Lauren announced that they were divorcing in June 2021.

Lauren said on Instagram: “A bit of a life update.

“Sam [the name Sarah now wants to be known as] and I are getting divorced.

“We’ve had so many joyous adventures, experienced love in so many ways and have been through an incredible amount of difficult life-changing things together.

“It’s time for us to fly solo now though and see where the wind takes each of us.

“I’m excited to see what comes next for us both and at the same time am filled with grief and loss. Divorce is complicated, hard, painful but on the other side can be freeing and beautiful.”

The other couples are harder to track down, but things didn’t look good for Annie and Mau – they quit the show early.

How many seasons of Couples Therapy are there?

As we mentioned, season one of the show aired in 2019 in the US and is now being shown in the UK – thanks to BBC Two – for the first time.

A second series was shown in the US in April 2021, which once again contained nine episodes and is also – like season one – available to watch right now on iPlayer.

Read more: Denise Van Outen and partner Eddie Boxshall to undergo therapy before getting married

And there’s more good news for fans – a third, extended series has been commissioned by Showtime.

New sets of couples will feature, and the third series will be split up into two parts.

Creators Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg and Eli Despres said in a statement: “We are in awe of the bravery of these couples and deeply grateful for the continued opportunity to capture and share their struggles with the world.”

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