Reality Rocks (New)

Bret Michaels & His Long-Time Rock Of Love Call Off Engagement

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

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photo: Mike Moore/Getty Images

Back in December 2010, on the finale of the first and only season of Bret Michaels' family-friendly VH1 reality show, "Life As I Know It," the reformed rocker proposed to his long-suffering on/off girlfriend of 18 years, Kristi Gibson. Viewers were supposed to assume that after years of cavorting with whiskey-guzzling groupies (sometimes on-air, on his arguably more entertaining but much less family-friendly VH1 show, "Rock Of Love"), Bret's many serious health problems had led to some sort of epiphany, and he'd now finally realized that Kristi was his real rock of love all along. But on Monday, Bret's publicist, Joanna Mignano, announced that the couple have called off their engagement. Mignano's statement declared that Bret and Kristi will "remain great friends and are committed to jointly raising" their young daughters, Raine Elizabeth and Jorja Bleu.

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Considering the track record for "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" couples that get engaged on TV, or for reality-TV romances in general (Travis Barker and Shanna Moakler, Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro, Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, Hulk and Linda Hogan), perhaps this breakup news is no huge surprise. But back when Bret gushed about his "awesome" engagement to People a year and a half ago, he insisted that he and Kristi would beat the odds and prove all skeptics wrong. "They swore I was the guy who would never [get married]...[The proposal] was as real and sincere as it gets, and I feel absolutely great. And hopefully it'll work," he said.

While no official reason was given for Bret and Kristi's split, perhaps the writing was on the wall back when "Life As I Know It" was still on the air. Kristi freely admitted on the series' very first episode that she still harbored resentment over Bret's three seasons of booze-fueled sexploits with wild groupie girls on "Rock Of Love," so much so that she regularly used her pent-up aggression against those contestants to fuel her angry boxing workouts.

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And despite Bret's above-mentioned optimistic statement to People, even when he was proposing to Kristi on the air in 2010, it seemed like a coldly made-for-TV event, little more than a no-brainer setup for a second season of "Life As I Know It"--one which would presumably chronicle Bret's cold cowboy-booted feet leading up to his nuptials, then culminate in a two-part, "Scott Baio Is 46 and Pregnant"-style wedding finale, complete with a tearful final scene in which the couple would slow-dance to "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." I'd even wondered if Daisy De La Hoya, that crazy lady Brittany (the one who hoarded sweatsocks on the "Rock Of Love" bus), or Bret's rumored ex-love interest Tish Cyrus (Miley's mom) would bumrush the ceremony at the crucial "speak now or forever your peace" moment (with bouncer Big John intrepidly intervening). That would have been some awesome television, for sure--but sadly, it was not meant to be.

Even more sadly--and obviously more seriously--it is a shame that after almost two decades together, Bret and Kristi could not make their relationship work on- or offscreen, especially since they have a family together. But on the bright side, maybe this means there will soon be a fourth season of VH1's "Rock Of Love." So stay tuned...

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