Tough Talk With Steve Ward: Reunited And It Feels So Good

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Master Matchmaker Steve Ward is back for a third season of Tough Love, and this time he’s traveled south to Miami where the heat is definitely on. Steve will be giving us his thoughts on every episode. This week, we look back on the reunion episode and the season overall, and Steve gives his frank assessment of who changed over the course of boot camp, and who reverted back to their old ways.

We discussed the switch from matchmaker to host of the reunion a couple weeks ago, so watching it back, how do you think you did?

I think I did pretty good. I’m my own worst critic and I’m pretty hard on myself, but I think I did alright. How do you think I did?

I think you did great, you moved the show along but you also called the women out when they needed to be called out. Were you able to go off the script in order to address whatever issues came up organically?

Yeah, that’s what I did pretty much the whole time.

Was there anyone who surprised you the most during the filming of it, was there anything unexpected that came up that you weren’t prepared for?

Well, I really thought they resolved their issues with Jane at boot camp, but apparently everyone was still upset about it, so I don’t really know why they weren’t able to resolve everything. And then people were calling out all of them. People doubted Frank’s sincerity, people didn’t believe Leilani and George were actually still in a relationship, so they doubt each other more than they doubt themselves.

I think Michelle‘s face when she saw Christine‘s fake tattoo was hilarious, but she looked so disgusted, too.

Because apparently Frank had said some derogatory things about women and weight issues and he had posted that on his Facebook wall and the rest of the women thought it was inexcusable and they didn’t have any respect for him and they thought Christine was giving up some of her own self-respect by being with him. They were really upset by it.

Did it surprise you that she was willing to give him her ring and make a deeper commitment to him at the reunion?

No. Apparently for the last three months they really worked at strengthening their relationship. They convinced my mom that they were serious. I’m not sure how convinced I am. I mean, she showed up intentionally dressed that way for show and I was like, if this is an act and you’re putting on an outfit at this reunion, which I consider to be pretty serious, then I don’t know how seriously you expect me to take your relationship.

And what do you think of Leilani and George’s sincerity and commitment?

Their relationship is what it is. They don’t have kids, and if they think it works with the distance…you know, I tried to put them both on the spot asking them about that and he said he’s not going to L.A. and she’s not leaving L.A. any time soon, but they still wanted to stay with each other. So, God bless.

What did you think of Brigette‘s reactions about Anthony?

Oh, I was really shocked at the way Brigette handled Anthony. I was dismayed by it, actually. I think when they were on the cruise, she had decided right then and there that she felt that it wasn’t going to work out but I think she made a promise to herself to complete the boot camp and move forward with him despite her reservations, but it fell apart once they went back home. She really didn’t like his communication style and she had a lot of terrible things to say about him. There were boundaries that I think she felt he wasn’t respecting and that’s why it fell apart.

Did you speak to him separately at all? Do you have a more fleshed-out version of his side of things?

I haven’t talked to him separately, the only conversation I had with him was there on Skype, but it just seemed like they both wanted to go their separate ways and he wanted to take the high road and she didn’t and because of that, she showed her true colors. I think she was very immature and I didn’t really approve of it, but to each their own. This show isn’t charm school, I’m not there to make them nicer people, the fact that she was a mess just speaks to her own character and that’s the way she chose to portray herself. I just thought it was inappropriate to handle anybody that way. This was a reunion show that was meant to bring everybody up to speed, it wasn’t meant to be a lesson, my work was done in March, so if they’re going to regress and show these sides of themselves on national TV, they can. For the most part, I think the girls all made progress and learned from the experience but the issues in their love life usually stem from issues that are more pervasive in the rest of their lives.

Overall, if you had more time to work with them, do you think you could have made even more progress?

No. Avonte made it pretty obvious that she didn’t want to change. That came out in the reunion. You’ll see very little change in Avonte. Michelle changed. Leilani, no change. Jane, change. Brigette, change. Christine, no change. Claudia, massive change. Chasity, no change. I think that’s everyone.

Claudia seems so happy.

Yep, she is. I was a little surprised by her boyfriend’s appearance, I mean, I assumed she was attracted to guys that were taller, more traditionally attractive, but she’s attracted to his character more than anything and he’s successful and supportive of her, and I’m very happy for her.

We didn’t see much about Jane and Alan’s status on the reunion, can you tell us what’s going on with them?

Jane returned to the social sphere that she was in, and her friends and his friends didn’t really fit in so they just broke up, they went their separate ways. He seems to be doing great, Jane feels she really learned something from this experience and I think she demonstrates that well, her personality’s not as abrasive as it once was, and I think she really grew from the experience.

We talked about Anthony taking the high road, and it seemed like Avonte’s match, Eric, also took the high road, she said some things about him that weren’t terribly flattering.

He demonstrated class. I admire him for that. It’s one thing to be drawn into a fight, but to not let it get to you is quite impressive, I was proud of the way Eric handled himself.

Do you have any parting words for this season?

Yes, it was an amazing experience for me personally, I really came into my own this season and finally broke the mold in terms of relying on my mom for support, direction and guidance that I need to feel confident. I just feel like this season I finally came into my own, and I’m looking forward to getting back at it next month for another season. The gloves are off. I hope this upcoming season to get to the real heart of the problems.

f you have questions for Steve or just want to keep up to date with him, follow him on Twitter (@stevenbward), like him Facebook, friend him on Google Plus and watch his Love Lab channel on Ustream.

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