Surprise, Surprise: Another Middle-Aged Man You Don’t Know Isn’t Actually a Great Person

Shouldn’t a husband loving his wife be the bare minimum?


Image credit to The Try Guys YouTube channel

Josie Dent, Contributing Writer

I stared at my phone, trying to comprehend what I was reading. This was a joke, right? Some prank was being pulled on me. It wasn’t real. 

Ned Fulmer from the Try Guys couldn’t have cheated on his wife. 

As I gathered my thoughts, I made my way to the Instagram of his wife, Ariel Fulmer. Like her husband, she had posted a screenshot from her notes app, confirming that Ned “I Love my Wife” Fulmer had cheated on her. 

The comments under each post summed up my thoughts. 

“How could you?” and “We thought you were better than this,” filled Ned’s comment section, while supportive comments were under Ariel’s post. 

As I made my way through the day, the incident followed me. I overheard girls on the quad talking about it in disbelief. I was so riled up I jumped into their conversation before having to explain the entire situation to my poor roommate, who had no idea who Ned was. Another friend of mine texted me in disbelief, just as astounded as I was. 

As I write this, I still can’t quite wrap my head around it. 

Why did this affect me so much? Why am I, and so many other people, in so much disbelief? None of us know Ned. In fact, I haven’t even watched a Try Guys video in years.

So why am I so bothered? Do I even have a right to be mad at a man I don’t know? 

In the comments of every video dissecting the situation is always someone who asks why we care. We don’t know them. This is their personal life, not our business. 

But I disagree. 

Celebrities and influencers benefit from appearing relatable. Their public appearances are meant to reach out and form a connection with an audience, even if they don’t know we exist. Ned, in particular, built a brand on being the man who loved his wife. As a youtuber, he showed us (or appeared to show us) pieces of his personal life.

Ned told us that we knew him. Perhaps we’re naïve for believing we really did, but how can we not take it personally? 

When talking about the connections the general public feels for public figures, the term “parasocial relationship” is tossed around a lot. The term means, “a relationship that a person imagines having with another person whom they do not actually know…This often involves a person feeling as though they have a close, intimate connection with someone whom they have never met due to closely following that person (or character) in media, such as TV shows, videos, podcasts, etc.” 

In other words, it’s a totally common experience. In fact, public figures often benefit from the existence of parasocial relationships. However, this feeling the audience has of truly knowing someone they haven’t met also leaves the public figure open to more criticism if the audience feels betrayed by their actions. 

Enter the “Wife Guys.” 

You know them. They love their wives. So much. In fact, one may say that loving their wives is a key point of their personality. I would say that them loving their wives is a key way to appeal to an audience, particularly a female audience. Ryan Reynolds and John Legend are two other famous men who benefit from loving their wives. Often they treat their wives as an extension of their personality rather than a separate being. 

But when a Wife Guy does something harmful to his wife, it breaks the internet.

Take John Mulaney, for instance. He was a comedian with many of his bits centered around him and his wife. Namely, how much he loved and appreciated his wife. In addition, Mulaney had no problem being vulnerable with his audience. He shared his struggles with drug and alcohol addiction, and how they shaped him. He allowed us to feel as though we knew him. The internet had a similar whiplash reaction when Mulaney and his wife, Anna Marie Tendler, split in early 2022. Rumors of Mulaney cheating began swirling almost immediately after the couple split. 

Adam Levine is another Wife Guy who recently had a cheating scandal after Sumner Stroh, a model, revealed flirtatious Instagram messages between the two of them in which she sent intimate photos. In one of his music videos, Levine featured his wife Behati Prinsloo and one of his children. The cheating scandal occurred while Prinsloo and Levine are currently expecting their third child. 

The entire idea of a Wife Guy is weird, if you think about it. Shouldn’t a husband loving his wife be the bare minimum? Perhaps it’s because we live in a culture where wives are referred to as a “ball and chain,” and are portrayed as nagging annoyances to their husbands. 

 Maybe we shouldn’t be praising these men for being so devoted to their wives. The wife-guy is appealing because we view it as a wholesome oddity, when in reality it should be accepted as the norm.

The entire situation brings up the issues not only regarding how we treat celebrities, but how we treat women as a whole. If being so devoted to their wives makes them an oddity, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate how we treat women in our culture.