By Lori Acken
She’s a pretty, soft-spoken school psychologist and Army wife. He’s a ruggedly handsome divorced dad of three — and one of Tennessee’s top comics. And like plenty of men and women, their years-long friendship began when Peter Depp and Kristin Sabata went on a date and realized they were better off as friends. In fact, fabulous as friends. The best.
And their bond only deepened when Peter finally felt free to come out of the closet as a gay man — and when Kristin fell in love with and married a soldier who has spent much of their marriage in Afghanistan.
Beginning tomorrow, these ironclad confidantes will bring their story to TV on Season 2 of the Sundance Channel docu-series Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys.
The new season of the critically-acclaimed GWLBWLB moves the series from New York City to Nashville — home of country music and a profound devotion to America and God — to add a down-home twist to the intertwined tales of four duos experiencing happiness and heartbreak through the eyes of, and with the support of, their opposite-sex, opposite-orientation BFFs.
“Each of these couples is determined to live life on their own terms,” says Michael Klein, Sundance Channel’s senior vice president of original programming and development. “Shooting this series in what can be considered smack in the middle of the Bible Belt provides these couples with an interesting set of challenges, but in the end, we see how these relationships flourish and grow even stronger. It demonstrates that the life-long bonds between a straight woman and a gay man can flourish and thrive all over the country.”
Channel Guide spoke to Peter and Kristin about the charm and challenges of being best buds and brand-new TV stars.
CGM: How did you guys become part of the series? Did one have to do more convincing of the other?
Peter Depp: I’m a comic — I do stand-up comedy — and one of my fellow comics sent me the casting call. Kristin didn’t believe that we would actually be on the show, so she just went along with it.
Kristen: I did it for him. I didn’t have much of an interest in being on TV, to be honest, so I did it for Pete thinking that there was no chance that we were going to make it because there were so many people trying out. But we made it [laughs].
CGM: Were you surprised — and pleased — to see the series relocate from New York City to Nashville?
PD: I’m definitely glad that they took the backdrop and put it in the South … and tried to highlight homosexuality in the South. Because it’s a completely different ballgame.
CGM: Kristin, can you give me the evolution of your relationship with and marriage to Roman as your friendship with Peter progressed?
KS: I was good friends with Pete before I even met Roman, so from the beginning, Roman knew that I had a best friend who was gay. So right off the bat with Roman — I think it was our second date — I brought him out to one of Pete’s comedy shows and he met Pete and all his comic friends. So he knew I had a male best friend.
CGM: I know we see Roman deploying to Afghanistan — but do we get a chance throughout the course of the season to see the three of you together?
KS: You don’t have the chance to see the three of us, unfortunately! You just see me saying goodbye to him. I talk to him on the phone a few times, but he was deployed the whole time we were filming. Roman is a man of few words, but I know he appreciates that I have someone here looking out for me. Especially a guy, since Pete is so protective of me and takes care of me.
CGM: Pete, you’ve had an enormous amount of adapting to do — getting divorced and coming out of the closet while educating your kids about what that means to you, to them and to your family. How does Kristin figure into that process for you?
PD: Coming out has been crazy. I was in the closet for 28 years and I had a marriage and I tried to hide it. But once I was out, it feels a lot better, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. And now I want to make sure my kids are ok with it psychologically — especially in the South. I want them to know that it is normal and it’s OK and that I’m there for them. And Kristin has been there every step of the way. She’s a really great best friend. She goes with me to Rainbow Family functions and she’s always there helping me out.
CGM: Pete, do we get to meet your children’s mother during the series — is she still a part of your story?
PD: She’s very supportive! We have split custody, so we have the kids every other day. You don’t get to see it that much on the show, but she loves Kristen and she’s very supportive of my homosexuality. She’s been my backbone on that, really. She helped me come out of the closet and was very OK with it. In Tennessee, I wouldn’t have had any custody of my kids during the divorce proceedings if she said I was gay. She would have gotten full custody. She was very supportive of my having split custody. I appreciate her. If we get a second season, she might appear on the second season.
CGM: And Kristin, you get to serve as a sort of “bonus mom” to Peter’s kids, which he and the children clearly appreciate …
KS: I love it! I work with kids all day, and because Pete and I are so close and I’ve known the kids pretty much from the beginning, I feel very, very close to them. I’ve always wanted kids of my own and I’m actually pregnant now, so it’s great.
CGM: Peter, the promos and premiere episode cast you as the family-guy figure of series — but your web site describes you as “Nashville’s token gay comic, very aggressive, very gay, and very filthy.” Do we see both sides of Peter Depp during the series?
PD: They do tape some of the stand-up — and it is pretty filthy and it is pretty aggressive. I noticed when I first came out as gay as a comic, you can’t just be in the middle. You have to be aggressive or people will just walk all over you. So it is pretty X-rated.
KS [laughing]: ” … to say the least!
PD: There’s no nudity in the show. I just illustrate it very well.
CGM: Peter, your vocation necessarily involves nightlife — and in the premiere, we do see partying become problematic for at least two of the other couples on the show. Does this factor into your own story line to any degree?
PD: I only drink when I’m doing comedy. It’s kind of a crutch. I use alcohol as courage to do stand-up. But during the week, I don’t drink at all. I don’t even want to drink.
CGM: Did any — or all — the cast members know each other before the series and do you interact as a unit throughout the season?
PD: We met each other during the series, but we were all connected in certain ways. Olivia publishes a magazine and before I even met Olivia, I was featured as a comic in her magazine. And I think Brent knew Jared and Shane. But we all met for the first time at one of the parties.
CGM: Kristin, you are settling down as you, Peter, are beginning to “sow your oats” as a single man — do we see the two of you struggle with that or is it all honest discussion?
PD: I’m very open with her and I tell her everything and I do appreciate her telling me how she feels about stuff. We never really fight. We’ll have disagreements, but we’ll never really fight about it. We don’t get ugly with each other. I’ll laugh at her. I’ll crack a joke or call her my mom.
KS: We talk very openly and honestly, but you will see me on the show disagree with some of Pete’s life choices — and you can watch to find out [how that works out.] There are certain things that I don’t agree with. But I’m very open about that with him. I feel like I can tell it like it is. He thinks that I mother him … and I guess I do in a way. His mom is in Florida, so I play the mother role a little bit.
Season 2 of Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys premieres Nov. 18 at 9pm. Find out more about Kristin and Peter and their costars and stream full episodes of the series at sundancechannel.com
Photos and video: Sundance Channel/AMC Networks