'Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars' recap: Juelia Kinney recalls day of husband's suicide, Peter Gunz reveals childhood sexual abuse
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/04/2017
Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars' featured the Season 9 couples opening up about traumatic moments in their past, including how Juelia Kinney's late husband had committed suicide, during Friday night's episode on WE TV.
This season of Marriage Boot Camp documents the following couples attempting to work through their issues: Bachelor in Paradise stars Juelia and JJ Lane, Teen Mom 2 star Kailyn Lowry and estranged husband Javi Marroquin, Bad Girls Club star Mehgan James and boyfriend DeAndre Perry, Shahs of Sunset stars Asifa Mirza and Bobby Panahi, and Love & Hip Hop: New York stars Amina Buddafly and Peter Gunz.
All of the couples try to overcome their scandals, dark secrets, and emotional or physical cheating under the guidance and with the help of therapists Dr. Venus Nicolino and Dr. Ish Major.
The episode began with Bobby leaving the house after an argument with Asifa late at night, and he said he was not going to come back.
"I just need out of this. This is embarrassing. I'm done. Forget the relationship; I've made my decision. I'm furious," Bobby vented.
"The minute he's in an uncomfortable situation, he's out. At this point, if he doesn't come back, the relationship is over," Asifa said.
While Bobby was gone, Marriage Boot Camp shut down for all the couples for one day, because Venus and Ish believed he probably would've benefited the most from the next exercise.
It took a lot of convincing by Ish and Asifa for Bobby to come back, but he ultimately agreed to give Marriage Boot Camp another shot. Juelia made it known she was upset and disappointed in Bobby for running away from the process to begin with because his actions affected everyone.
Upon his return, Bobby warned Asifa that if the pattern of their problems continued in the same manner, they would self-destruct and eventually need to cut ties completely in order to maintain their sanity.
Asifa was glad Bobby gave her another chance, but at the same time, she wished she had the strength to just let him go whenever he walked away from her and their relationship.
Meanwhile, Amina and Peter were talking out their issues after a dispute in which Peter had called his ex, Tara, while Amina was in the bathroom. Amina told her man that she didn't appreciate his secretive behavior and lying about contacting Tara -- not so much the act of actually reaching out to Tara on the phone.
For the next Marriage Boot Camp exercise, each participant was required to recall a moment of personal trauma from his or her life and reveal the situation to the group.
Each person told his or her story, and Ish and Venus hoped the participants would forgive the people who had hurt or wronged them in order to forgive and move forward. The doctors wanted the couples to release anger and frustration that may be negatively affecting their current relationships.
Javi shared how he caught his father with another woman when he was in high school, and that experience made him fear that Kailyn would cheat on him. Javi had trouble trusting Kailyn because of his past.
"I was maybe six, and the cops came for my mom. They just took her away and I didn't understand why," Kailyn shared. "I didn't know why she was being taken from me... Addiction can to horrible things to people. I [think] her not being there influenced me to have a child young."
Peter revealed that he had been sexually molested at a young age.
"I was six, seven or eight years old. There was an older woman who used to watch us. She used to do some really inappropriate things to me. She would put her mouth in inappropriate places," Peter said.
"She made me scared to tell. When I got older, like 14, the girlfriends I had, I would pressure them into having sex. So I feel the abuse that I got, I put it on other people, and I will always regret that. I was abused and I abused other people."
Amina admitted her father had cheated on her mother, and DeAndre revealed he had been abandoned by his dad. Mehgan explained her mother had given her up to her grandmother, and Bobby said his relationship with his father is strained. Asifa also confessed she's not the daughter his father always hoped for.
JJ told the group that he has hemophilia and, after receiving a life-threatening blow to the head as a child, his father put him to work the next day instead of giving him any sympathy or emotional support. JJ said his father was angry about his disease, which resulted in medical bills that nearly bankrupted his family multiple times.
And then Juelia opened up about the father of her daughter Ireland who had committed suicide before she appeared on The Bachelor.
"I was getting off our exit and he sent me a text message that I'm sorry, and then I see a firetruck pull in front of me. And I'm just praying that's it's [not going down] my street. And of course, it freaking pulls on my street," Juelia recalled in tears.
"More than anything, I'm worried about my daughter. The thing that terrifies me the most is someone being in her life and then it not working out."
In order for the group to understand how trapped they've been by trauma in their past, Ish and Venus forced them all to wear shackles on their wrists and ankles for the rest of the day. The shackles were meant to show how restrictive holding on to pain and resentment can be, and how that has weighed down on their everyday lives.
Later that night, each participant was asked to role play with either Venus or Ish in order to go over the situations that haunt them and forgive their assailants or enemies.
The doctors no longer wanted the cast members to act like they are victims, and they believed this was a way to metaphorically remove the shackles that bind them.
The therapy session worked well for everyone except for Kailyn, who wasn't ready to release all of her anger at her mother, and Mehgan, who refused to take her sunglasses off to do the drill because she had pink eye. Ish, however, felt Mehgan was just hiding and disengaged from the process.
When it became Juelia's turn, she told Ish that her late husband's suicide "ruined" her life.
"You died at my house. I had to leave, where our baby was born, and I had to figure everything out by myself. And I don't think that's fair. I have days when I want to give up, but I don't, because our daughter depends on me whether you are here or not," Juelia said before breaking down into tears.
Ish hoped that Juelia and everyone else earned some control back in their lives that day and that past trauma was stripped of its power.
"There are things that I'd like to say to him but I can't, because he's not here. It was healing. I was able to let things go," Juelia told the cameras.
The episode concluded with Kailyn and Mehgan sitting in the prison cell outdoors because they failed to complete the drill.