I just finished binging Selling Sunset and I have thoughts! First up is Justin Hartley. Did anyone have more of an impact on this season than Justin? Pretty impressive for someone who didn’t even appear on the show. (Oh, excuse me – docusoap.)
Who is Justin? Formerly married to Selling Sunset’s sweetheart, Chrishell Stause, Justin has been knocking around TV and low budget movies forever. (I was a fan of his when he was romancing Jes Macallan’s character, Jocelyn, on Mistresses. Speaking of: my god, did a show ever go more sideways than Mistresses? What was up with kicking the shit out of Jocelyn and turning her into a prize fighter? Why couldn’t she and her former brother-in-law just bone in peace? Mistresses turned from fluff to a straight-up horror fest and I will never understand it.) Most of you might know Justin from the NBC hit, This Is Us. This is Justin’s big break. And he is feeling himself.
Feeling himself so much that he might be shopping for a new wife? Looks like that’s the case: Justin blindsided wife Chrishell, announcing his intention to divorce her via text just hours before filing and releasing info to the press. (The “press” in this case being a leaked missive to TMZ.) Um, excuse me sir – have you checked the Jennifer Aniston Bad Husband Store? Maybe she can help you find a replacement for your missing sensitivity chip!
My thought: Justin’s been scrambling up this ladder for a long time. He finally got a decent foothold with This Is Us. He’s now the established star he’s been longing to be – on the small screen and in the relationship. Then Chrishell gets her break, a threat that is twofold:
1. It calls attention to their marriage, highlighting the fact that Justin, now finally positioned as a “serious” actor after years in the low-budget trenches is married to – gasp – a reality TV personality. Perhaps not the image he wants to curate?
2. Chrishell continues to rise as the central focus/gal to root for on Selling Sunset, threatening to equal (if not eclipse?) her husband’s popularity.
Is Justin feeling… threatened? Actors are known for having big egos (you read it here first, haha) and perhaps he needs someone a little “less than” to feel comfortable. Case in point: he’s plunged back into the dating pool (err… allegedly before he was even separated), rebounding with a soap opera actress. Soap operas are a perfectly valid artform – give me that paycheck and access to that wardrobe closet any day, honey! – but, in the pantheon of acting, it’s fair to say that it’s not considered top shelf. Nor is reality TV, as we’ve established.
But here’s the difference: Chrishell now has a massive platform, whereas the rebound/mistress soap opera actress does not. If Justin stayed with Chrishell, the focus would become pulled between the two of them, and his name would soon become synonymous with hers instead of the other way around. By stepping away from his marriage and moving on with an actress with a smaller presence, he maintains his star status as the alpha in the relationship. (Seem farfetched? His current tactic has been to brand Chrishell as “crazy” and “jealous,” while his friends are claiming they’re thrilled he’s finally freed himself from Stause, so that he can live a “classy” life. Okurr.)
At any rate, many thanks to Justin! He’s just handed us Selling Sunset’s season 4 storyline on a silver platter, cemented his former spouse’s relevancy, and left the gorgeous Chrishell single & ready to mingle. He overplayed his hand and now fans of the highly addictive Netflix series will reap the benefits. Woot!