Fulmer has since confirmed on Twitter that he had a “consensual workplace relationship,” adding, “I’m sorry for any pain that my actions might have caused to the guys and the fans but most of all Ariel.” The remaining Guys released a statement earlier in the day announcing that Fulmer would no longer be working with them: “As a result of a thorough internal review, we do not see a path 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 request right now is that you respect our privacy for the sake of our kids.”
The alleged Udoka affair seems like a different beast altogether — he’s not a Wife Guy, or at least not yet — 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 unfamiliar with a Wife Guy, you’re living a blessed life and I am jealous.
A Wife Guy is a man whose fame or branding is largely predicated on the fact that he’s 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 men who are married, they’re men who won’t shut up about how married they are. Their wives aren’t mere mortals, they’re goddesses who grace their husbands with vague tolerance of their middling failures and insufficiency. Wife Guys are so grateful to have wives — have always being the operative word.
Wife Guys write Instagram captions on their anniversaries about “another tour around the sun with this one.” Their Twitter bios list them as husbands and fathers and nothing much else. (Fulmer’s Instagram bio indeed still describes him as “@arielmfulmer’s husband.”) The wives of Wife Guys, meanwhile, stop having identities of their own postnuptials; in quick order, they are referred to almost exclusively as “my wife.” To be a Wife Guy is to put your wife on a pedestal so preposterously high that she stops being a person altogether.
Anecdotally, it seems to always be the worst Wife Guys who stray. It’s all a little lady-doth-protest-too-much, isn’t it? Adam Levine famously put his wife and child in the music video for Maroon 5’s 2018 song “Girls Like You.” Now he’s been accused of asking the woman he allegedly cheated with if he could name his unborn child after her.
Fulmer is an exemplary Wife Guy because he monetized it so well. The Try Guys started their own production company, 2nd Try LLC. And as their audience has grown up, so have the guys. In early videos, they wore labor pain simulators and tried out acrylic nails for a day. Now they’re married and having children of their own, which eventually begat the Try Wives. Ariel Fulmer isn’t just Ned Fulmer’s wife but a part of the business. Last year, the couple published The Date Night Cookbook, full of photos of them feeding each other croutons. (The chocolate cake decorated with “I’m sorry” certainly seems apt now, Ned. Let me know if it works.)
Ariel is an interior designer, but her income and public persona are inextricably tied to her husband. And what is her husband without his wife? What is a Wife Guy when he ruins his relationship with the wife in question?