Fame is to blame. Relationship expert Dr. Darcy Sterling, who stars on E!’s new reality series, Famously Single, tells The Knot in an exclusive interview that she gets why her fellow cast members have publicly struggled with finding love.
In the new series, Sterling will help eight stars — Bachelorette season 10 winner Josh Murray, Danity Kane singer Aubrey O’Day, Jersey Shore alum DJ Pauly D, London playboy Calum Best, model Jessica White, former NFL player Willis McGahee, Love and Hip-Hop’s Somaya Reece and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Brandi Glanville — properly navigate relationships.
“I think that the greatest common denominator was they are too armored up and afraid of being vulnerable,” she says. “As celebrities, they don’t have to approach people. I mean, they go out and people come to them, but only certain people come to them. And what they have found is that people were coming to them for all the wrong reasons. If you’re not going to be proactive and take responsibility for who you meet, and just passively receive, then you’re going to be in a situation where you don’t have control over who comes to you. Whereas if you can be more active in the process, which is [to be] vulnerable — and vulnerability is courageous, but it’s really hard.”
Sterling, a licensed therapist who’s practiced in NYC for over 20 years, encouraged the cast to embrace vulnerability and devised numerous challenges to help them overcome their issues. Little did she realize that she would soon be facing some challenges of her own.
“It wasn’t easy,” she tells The Knot. “I had to earn their trust and that wasn’t pleasant sometimes. They definitely challenged me and made me work for it. But ultimately, I earned it and got them to lean into the process. But it wasn’t like I walked into these passive personalities. They’re strong-spirited individuals.”
Murray confirmed to The Knot in a separate interview that it was difficult to open up at first. “The one thing I don’t like doing — especially with cameras around — is I’m not a kisser and teller,” he says. “So when you dig deep into a past relationship I like to keep private, I wasn’t able to let everything out by any means. But I did want to be as open as possible with [Dr. Darcy] because she’s great, and I went on there to get help for myself and to learn more about what I needed to do in a relationship: my flaws, what to do better, and how to go out there and date, and put myself out there.”
“The thing about celebrities is they have the same issues as the rest of us. Just super-sized,” Dr. Darcy adds to The Knot. “They’re very relatable challenges that they contended with.”
The entire cast lived together for a month, which resulted in some drama. “Any time you bring eight strangers together and put them under one roof and take their phones away, you’re going to have an element of adjustment,” Dr. Darcy teased. “We gave them their phones once a day. Some of them are parents, so we had to. It was an immersive experience, it was a social experiment.”
While certain moments were rough, the cast eventually formed a tight-knit bond. “It was amazing. I feel like I just saw all of my camp buddies,” Sterling said. “I think everybody made progress in their own way. If you’re only going to measure it by who’s in a relationship then obviously, Aubrey and Pauly. But I think there are multiple ways to measure progress and for some of them, it’s that they’re in therapy now. For others, it’s the risks they’ve taken. I actually want to go downstairs and ask them that question.”
Tune in to the series premiere of Famously Single on Tuesday, June 14, at 9 p.m. ET on E!