LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian have been in the public eye for pretty much their entire relationship thus far thanks to paparazzi and tabloids. So the two were not only well-trained for the ups and downs of documenting their daily lives, they actually wanted to do it.
"Everyone's used our lives as entertainment and so we wanted to actually kind of take our life back," Rimes told reporters Friday at VH1's Television Critics Association fall previews.
The end result is LeAnn & Eddie, a new reality series about the everyday lives of the Grammy-winning singer and the CSI: Miami alum. Premiering on Thursday, July 17 at 8/7c on VH1, the series promises to show a different, more honest, side of the couple compared to the duo splashed across tabloid covers and gossip websites. "We definitely hit on the tabloid fodder because that's what surrounded our lives so much in the past five years," Rimes said. "I think we're really kidding ourselves with the illusion of a private life because it's very hard."
Rimes is of course referring to the intense media scrutiny that has followed the two since they first began a romantic relationship in 2009 when they were both married to other people. Both subsequently divorced their respective partners and eventually tied the knot in 2011. Cibrian admits the intense coverage of their relationship was a major motivating factor in wanting to do the show, which they pitched to VH1. "If [the tabloids] want to stop writing about us, then we won't have to set the record straight anymore," he said. "[It] gave us an opportunity to do something fun, work together and at the same time, what's really real about the show is our relationship. You'll see how we interact with one another."
From the executive producers of Duck Dynasty, LeAnn & Eddie will have a similarly light tone, according to its stars. "We've both gone through a lot of private things with the public eyes watching. ... Eddie and I really have coped with it all by laughing," Rimes said. "People think we take ourselves super seriously and we don't."
"Ultimately, this is a comedy. That's kind of how we go about our life as well; we laugh, and it really helps," Cibrian added. "It's a show not about real dysfunction or exploitation. It's a fun show to watch and you laugh and that's kind of the area we wanted to explore."
And those jokes also extend to others within the couple's orbit, such as Cibrian's ex-wife, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Brandi Glanville, who has not shied away from talking about her ex-husband and his wife on the hit Bravo reality series. "We do discuss Eddie's ex-wife when it needed to be discussed," Rimes said. "Any situation, any tabloid fodder that might have come from her ... you can't really do a show without talking about that."
However, Cibrian stressed "we're not taking shots."
As with the Real Housewives, this show will not feature Cibrian's two sons with Glanville. "We keep them out of it as much as possible. My kids are not in my ex-wives' show and they're definitely not going to be in our show and that's that."
Aside from exercising creative control to keep his sons off the air — Rimes and Cibrian serve as executive producers on their show — the couple say that viewers will get an honest and relatively unfiltered representation of them on the show. "We thought we were going to be more protective of the final cut but we kind of let the final product breathe on its own," Cibrian said. "There are some things that are kind of embarrassing that we left on the show because we thought it was funny. We really didn't censor ourselves that much."
But will these moments be loud enough and uproarious enough to cancel out their bad press? Rimes is optimistic. "There's nothing to hide," she said. "There is, I feel, only great things to gain by being who we are and allowing people to see that."
LeAnn & Eddie premieres on Thursday, July 17 at 8/7c on VH1. Watch a sneak peek of the premiere here.