show don't tell

What Is With All These "Wife Guys" Cheating?

Famous husbands like Adam Levine and Ned Fulmer who claim true devotion to their wives are acting not so devoted.

Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs onstage during the Simon Wiesenthal Center National Tribute Dinner ...
Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

It seems like every other day in the news cycle there is another breaking story about a popular male celebrity caught with his pants down (or in an Instagram model’s DMs). To add insult to injury, as of late, these famous men who are having to use the infamous Notes app to write an apology to their fans, friends, and wives (Usually the wife gets mentioned last — what is that about?) after being caught are all well-known former “wife guys.”

So, what is a wife guy? The New York Times coined the phrase in 2019 when deep diving into this new phenomenon. “A ‘wife guy’ is not just a husband,” NYT journalist Amanda Hess wrote, “He is a man who has risen to prominence online by posting content about his wife.”

Women swoon, “Oh what a good man!” while scrolling a wife guy’s social media, dreaming that their own flawed (or introverted or shy) husband would speak of them this way. These wife guys talk about their wives, post pictures of them alongside sappy Instagram captions, or include them in their music videos.

But is it really that simple? Is this the bare minimum needed for the public to idolize a man? Some could argue that, yes, many of these “wife guys” get their fame and notoriety from just how much they “love” their wife — more or less making it their entire personality. Let’s look at some men who recently found themselves in the midst of a sh-tstorm because of their philandering ways.

First, you had John Mulaney, who didn’t necessarily step out on his wife, but also is rumored to not have handled his separation from ex, Anna Marie Tendler, with much grace. The comedian often used stories about Tendler in his stand-up routine and the dog they shared together.

Though he joked about his family on stage, he made it clear that he loved his wife. The two announced their divorce in May 2021 and by September 2021, Mulaney broke the news that he was expecting a child with actress Olivia Munn. That’s a tight timeline.

On an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Mulaney explained,Since last September...I went to rehab in September, OK? I got out in October, I move out of my home from my ex-wife,” he explained. “Then, in the spring, I went to Los Angeles and met and started to date a wonderful woman named Olivia. I got into this relationship that's been really beautiful with someone incredible. And we're having a baby together.”


Speaking to Harper's Bazaar about the divorce, Tendler said, “Everything that has transpired has been totally shocking and I think surreal.”

Moving on to Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, whose tattoos look like a Chipotle bag, as one astute observer pointed out. He was recently exposed for sliding into several women’s DMs on social media, even allegedly asking one of them if he could name his unborn child after her. Big yikes!

Levine, who has publicly spoken about how much he loves his stunningly beautiful seemingly great supermodel wife, Behati Prinsloo, several times over the course of their marriage. The two wed in 2019 — and Levine said was the perfect move for him. Levine told People, “I definitely feel like I’m sitting in the chair I’m supposed to be sitting in right now ... It all feels very natural.”

Guess he got out of that chair.

Another shocking revelation came just this week when seemingly squeaky clean “wife guy” Ned Fulmer of Try Guys fame was caught cheating on his wife, Ariel. Fulmer has since been kicked out of the viral YouTube comedy troupe, admitting to “a consensual workplace relationship” after photos that seemed to show him kissing a woman who was not Ariel were leaked on Reddit. Another fan claims she saw Fulmer with the same colleague at a Harry Styles concert.

Not taking your wife with you to that concert in and of itself is a crime against marriage.

After Fulmer, who often referred to himself as just “the husband” to his wife, released an apology, stating how he “lost focus” for a moment. “Family should have always been my priority...,” Fulmer, who built his role in the Try Guys around being a family man, wrote.

Fulmer’s betrayal seems extra icky considering his wife was not just a supporter of his career, but a huge part of it. She even let the Try Guys film her first mammogram for God’s sake. The couple has also given a house tour (with over 4 million views) as well as published a cookbook together filled with simple “night-in” recipes as well stories from their relationship. *cringe*

So if so many men who project so openly about their love for their wives are actually secret cheaters, is anyone trustworthy? I guess that’s up to each individual relationship. This does however further support the theory that social media is just every person’s “highlight reel” and that reel might be fabricated — or even outright deceptive.

Maybe the best partners and husbands are the people who don’t feel the need to go full “wife guy” out in public all the time, because they are real wife guys on the inside. Let’s take Ryan Reynolds, who famously trolls his wife, Blake Lively, on the internet, and who openly talks about both the joys and the challenges of family life. Who knows what their marriage is really like, but there is much more of a sense there that he shows much more than he tells when it comes to honoring his relationship.

For example, when shouting out Blake on her birthday, Reynolds took the opportunity to post all of the unflattering pictures of his wife he could find in a super rude but hilarious moment.

At the same time, though, you can see how he looks at her — and he doesn’t have to say a word out loud about the way he feels. Exhibit 1: how he looked at her at last year’s Met Gala.

Reynolds keeps it real and doesn’t present his marriage to Lively as sunshine and roses all the time, giving a more real depiction of how marriage works than always defaulting to “I’m just the dopey husband and my wife is amazing.

A person can talk about how much they adore their spouse all they want and post to social media, telling the world how phenomenal their partner is and how they love being a family man, but at the end of the day, it’s what is done in private that matters. The overcompensation, especially after all these public husband blunders, is more suspicious than ever.

The phrase actions speak louder than words is timeless for a reason.