Ned Fulmer Controversy: Marriages On Public Display Aren’t Always Perfect

ariel fulmer, ned fulmer
YouTube star Ned Fulmer, one of the four founders of The Try Guys is facing personal, professional and public consequences after the news came out that he had cheated on his wife. The social media star had made being a family guy a big part of his online identity. He used to be what the Internet refers to as the “wife guy”, a man who constantly praises or fusses over his wife on social media. This makes us wonder, are marriages on public display even half as perfect as they are made out to be?

The rumours about Fulmer’s affair and resultant exit from The Try Guys have been doing rounds on Reddit for some time now. Users of the platform have been pointing out at his absence from the channel’s recent videos. Eventually, the news about Fulmer’s exit was confirmed by The Try Guys on September 27 via a tweet which read, “Ned Fulmer is no longer working with The Try Guys. As a result of a thorough internal review, we do not see a path forward together.” The team then went on to thank its followers for their support as they navigated this change.

Almost an hour or so later, Fulmer admitted to the affair in a statement that he shared on Twitter. He wrote, “Family should have always been my priority, but I lost focus and had a consensual workplace relationship,” Fulmer then went on to apologise for any pain that his actions may have caused to his team and the fans, but most of all to his wife Ariel. “The only thing that matters right now is my marriage and my children, and that’s where I’m going to focus my attention.”

Fulmer is the second male celebrity to face repercussions of transgressing from their marital vows this month. Just weeks ago, Maroon 5’s front man Adam Levine was accused by multiple women of sliding into their DMs and leaving comments that do not suit a married man. Levine and Fulmer have another thing common though – they are the peak “wife guys”. While Levine has crooned mushy songs like “Girl Like You” (whose music video featured his wife Behati Prinsloo), one of the many things that established his family man image, Fulmer is notorious for his “my wife” references during videos. But was all their on-camera dedication to matrimony performative?

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It is as if commitment have been commodified for internet fame and monetary gains. As one social media user pointed out, “The hypocrisy of the Ned Fulmer cheating scandal isn’t just that he made “my wife” his whole personality but that he tried to turn his family into a lifestyle brand: the cookbook, the Target partnership, the DIY decorating stuff. Making $$ off his marriage while cheating.”

However, hyping up your marriage and life-partner and making a brand out of one’s “prefect” relationship isn’t a phenomenon limited to the wife guys. We see diluted versions of this commodification daily on Insta Reels, YouTube vlogs and shorts etc. Those perfect travel blogs where two people can’t stop holding hands, the sun-kissed backyard photos with happy kids playing in the pool, or that slow-motion walk, dressed in finery, that conveniently glosses over the cracks that come naturally to a marriage. Haven’t we seen all this and more. There was a time when films and television soaps shaped our idea of a perfect marriage, but at least we knew what was unfolding in front of us was a work of fiction. This knowledge helped us manage our expectations.

But with social media, this line between reality and fiction gets blurred. These are real people and real marriages that we see unfolding on our smartphone screens. Buying a house, first trip abroad, the birth of a child, and even tragedy- components in social media marriage are fitted with such care that viewers are left struggling with both awe and jealousy. If they can, why can’t we? A perfect marriage is possible, if you find a husband/wife who will be your biggest cheerleader online.

The news about Fulmer and Levine straying has broken this mirage now. Hopefully, people will now consume Instagram feeds of “perfect” couples with a pinch of salt and see their posts on their marriage for what they often are- performances orchestrated to gain our likes and shares.

The views expressed are the author’s own.