When two scandalous families get together, the potential for friction, craziness, and fascinating entertainment reaches dizzying heights. The episode of Celebrity Wife Swap in which Gary Busey and Ted Haggard swapped wives did not disappoint. Busey's fiancée, Steffanie, went to Colorado Springs, CO, to live with the Haggards, while Gayle Haggard went to Los Angeles to live with Busey and his son. Ted Haggard and Gary Busy on Celebrity Wife Swap may not sound like a match made in heaven, but, trust us, this episode that premiered on January 4, 2012, made for some unforgettably Good Television.
Busey has led a dramatic life in the spotlight. An accomplished character actor, he is more famous nowadays for his offscreen antics: a nearly fatal car crash, a history of erratic behavior, drug addiction, a mouthful of great big teeth, and his trademark crazy eyes. Haggard once led a massive Evangelical church and was the darling of Christian conservatives across the country... until he was discovered boinking a male sex worker and buying crystal meth. Somehow, he and his family survived the scandal and managed to return to the spotlight. The meeting of the Busey and the Haggard worlds was bound to be interesting. And, oh, was it ever.
Read on for some of the best moments from Ted Haggard's Celebrity Wife Swap episode.
Busey Declared Gayle Haggard A Lost Soul - And Hired A Lakota Sioux Person To Perform A Cleansing/Bonding Ceremony
At one point, Busey says Gayle is a "lost soul." To cleanse her, and to bond the two of them, Gary hires a Lakota Sioux person to perform a special ceremony. The healer, whom Gary and Gayle problematically call Indian Bob, attempted to bring the mismatched couple together in a peaceful, drumbeating ritual, but Gayle was resistant. With that pasted-on smile and everything's-fine attitude, she said she'd rather observe than participate, and Indian Bob had her sit on the sidelines. It was not a confrontation by any means, but one gets the feeling this was probably the most Gayle has spoken up and asserted herself in decades.
The Buseys Claimed To Be On Their 32nd Incarnation As A Couple
The Buseys wasted no time making out-there claims about their spiritual beliefs. They were adamant that they had been a couple in 31 previous lifetimes, including one stint as the parents of the Roman emperor Constantine. Busey ran down a list of all the different incarnations he's had, to which Gayle just mostly smiled artificially and nodded her head. Gayle remained open to Busey's assertions - or she said she did, at any rate. But one look at her deer-in-the-headlights expression, which she sported a lot throughout this episode, suggests she was far less open and comfortable than she claimed.
There Is A *Lot* Of Unresolved Stuff In The Haggard Family, And Steffanie Sensed It
From the moment she walked into the Haggard household, Steffanie, who said she could sense energies, knew something wasn't quite right. Christian décor was everywhere, though when she came across the hot tub, Steffanie wondered if the Haggards were "groovy Christians." (Spoiler alert: they're not.)
During her interactions with the four Haggard kids who took part in the show (the fifth was on some Mission from God), Steffanie could see how angry, resentful, and disengaged they were. Whenever she tried to discuss this with Ted, he brushed it off, the pasted-on smile (the same one Gayle sported) never leaving his face for the entire episode. Commendably, Steffanie did attempt to do some good by organizing a family outing and having Ted spend one-on-one time with his eldest child, his only daughter.
Busey Took Gayle To Dinner… And Talked The Entire Time
The whole point of Celebrity Wife Swap is to have two very different families learn a little something about how other families live. But when Gary Busey is the star of an episode, all bets are off. By default, it's going to become The Gary Busey Show, and that's pretty much what happened.
From the moment Gayle walked in the door, Gary was talking nonstop. She was obviously wanting to share something about her life, her story, the trials she'd endured, and what she'd learned. It would have been illuminating to hear; unfortunately, Gary wouldn't shut up. At one point, he took her to one of his favorite restaurants to get to know her. And he talked the entire time.