Saluting its much-discussed movies’ place in American pop culture, Lifetime’s newest unscripted series My Life Is a Lifetime Movie recounts real-life “truth is stranger than fiction” stories as told by the ladies who lived them.
The show’s most high-profile participants are Hailey Glassman, the then free-spirited coed who found herself at the center of Jon & Kate Plus 8 stars Jon and Kate Gosselin’s very public marital implosion, and Kristin Davis, the former finance executive turned high-end madam who spent four months in Rikers Island for her role in the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal. Both women say they welcomed a chance to tell their side of the tales that made them household names — for better or worse.
“In no way, shape or form was I a victim,” says Davis, who opened Wicked Models as a way to circumvent the glass ceiling she’d reached in her Wall Street career, and to support her family — which she calls her ultimate definition of success. “I was the vice president of a multi-billion-dollar hedge fund. I chose to start an illegal business based on the economics of the sex industry. I made my bed and I take full responsibility for my actions. I wanted to make sure that that was part of the story that they conveyed.”
Glassman says she saw Jon Gosselin not as a TV star but just “this poor guy with 100 kids who was getting a divorce and was sleeping at my parents’ house” when their friendship turned into an ill-fated romance that launched her into a media spotlight she was ill-prepared to handle — especially when the couple split. “Yes, I take responsibility for the things I said in the media, but I got to a point where I didn’t want to go down not swinging,” says Glassman. “It’s all part of the entertainment industry that I couldn’t understand when I was 22 and still in college. I didn’t major in tabloid!”
Both women say that the message of My Life Is a Lifetime Movie is that no matter what your past might hold, your future is up to you.
“I have never given any credence to silly excuses, because I think they’re an attempt to justify what we’ve done,” says Davis, who took up political activism after her imprisonment and the murder of her friend and former employee Julissa Brisman at the hands of “Craigslist Killer” Philip Markoff. “That’s not how I choose to live my life.”
“It’s never too late to prove to yourself and to those around you that you can overcome any situation,” Glassman — who now works in public relations — surmises. “You can overcome what people say.”
My Life Is a Lifetime Movie airs Wednesdays at 10/9CT beginning Oct. 17.