Image Source: Arianna Garcia
Adrienne Bailon is back with a new reality TV series like nothing you've ever seen before. "Love For the Ages" explores how far married couples will go to keep their unions intact. Bailon puts them to the test by giving them the ultimate hall pass when the couples are asked to remove their rings and date younger partners. The show is a powerful social and psychological experiment sparked by the current trend of age-gap couples, something Bailon can personally relate to.
"I was really attracted to this project because I am also in a relationship where my husband and I are 12 years apart and I do think it's interesting to see if that dynamic works or doesn't work or why it works or doesn't work in different situations."
"'Love For the Ages' is such a wild concept," Bailon says. "I was really attracted to this project because I am also in a relationship where my husband and I are 12 years apart and I do think it's interesting to see if that dynamic works or doesn't work or why it works or doesn't work in different situations." The show's first four episodes premiered on Peacock on Dec. 15, and the remaining four episodes premiere on Dec. 22.
The series kicks off with three middle-aged LA-tino couples, who are all at a personal and emotional crossroads in their marriages. Silvia, 47, and Sebastian, 46, have been married for 10 years and are struggling to see eye to eye on many things. Maria, 39, and Michael, 41, who met as teenagers, have been married for 19 years. Their troubles began when one of them became much more introverted than the other and the need for major compromises set in, causing tension. Marioxi, 39, and Richard, 43, have been married for nine years, and the skeletons in their closet are quickly revealed.
The couples are granted the wish of a lifetime to turn back the hands of time and swap their current spouses for much younger partners for a month. It will all come down to whether the couples opt to remain together, for better or worse, or dare to embark on a new life alone or with a sexy new partner.
"They are realizing if this is something they really want," Bailon explains. "They're at a crossroads in their marriage. Do they want to move forward, or would they like to see what it would be like to now have some fun with someone younger?" This social and psychological experiment surprised Bailon when friends and family began theorizing about what the couples would do even before seeing any of the episodes. She gathered with her loved ones to watch the first four episodes on Dec. 15, but the assumptions about the outcome began when they learned about the premise of the show.
Image Source: Peacock
"They were like 'This is insane. Why would someone sign up for this? Why would you ever give your significant other a hall pass to cheat on you? Why? Why? Why?'" Bailon recalls. "All of them were like, 'Duh! The men are going to go with the younger women.' Everyone thought that that's how it would end." Bailon knew it wasn't that cut-and-dry. After all, she had already filmed the series and knew there was much more to these couples' stories.
"I think it gives you an interesting perspective on the way men think. And it's not the way we assume."
"I think it gives you an interesting perspective on the way men think. And it's not the way we assume," she adds. Bailon admits how she didn't expect to relate to their stories, but surprisingly she did.
"I feel like the biggest takeaway I got from the show was, one, it was wildly entertaining and super bingeable. It was so much fun to be a part of, but the biggest thing I got was just how relatable and transparent these people are when they sign up for a romantic experiment like this," she says. "I didn't realize how relatable it would be [to me]. I thought I'd be like, 'These people are wild, can't relate.' But there are teachable moments, and I learned a lot from watching it. It shifted my perspective on a lot of things."
Bailon saw how the couples struggled to figure out if their marriages were worth fighting for or if it was truly time to walk away. Some of them had been together for a long time and were now empty nesters, which tested the strength of their love as a pair. Although Bailon is a new mommy of a 4-month-old baby boy, these dynamics made her consider her own journey through motherhood and marriage.
"I have to remember that my relationship with my husband is so important because once my son is grown and out of the house it's going to be just the two of us, and I still want that to be a fulfilling, loving experience," she says. "And how do you keep that alive? How do you make that work? So, seeing these couples that have been together for such a long time really made me learn a lot about how to keep that fresh."
Bailon connected on a personal level with many of the contestants, but she shares how deeply Marioxi's story touched her because she knows how it feels to be cheated on by a partner. Bailon becomes visibly emotional in a scene where they discuss the pain around infidelity.
"In her marriage, she shared that there was some infidelity, and I had experienced that in previous relationships, and I know how that can affect a woman's or just anyone's self-esteem," Bailon shares. "I think so many women beat ourselves up when we're cheated on. We ask ourselves those questions like, 'What could I have done differently? Am I not enough? Am I pretty enough? Is my body good enough?' There's so much that we beat ourselves up about when it comes to infidelity and why someone would cheat on us, and so I had a really tender moment with her about that."
In fact, Bailon tells viewers that although some may wonder why couples would subject themselves and their marriage to a show like this, when they really get to know the couples' stories, they'll understand that these are real people going through real things. More importantly, marriage is hard work, but at what cost?
For Bailon, she jokingly shares how, as a happily married woman with a baby, her biggest takeaway was, "How to never end up on 'Love For the Ages.'"