Adrienne Bailon-Houghton reunited with her "Love for the Ages" subjects. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Love for the Ages host Adrienne Bailon-Houghton said she was surprised the show's reunion episode, premiering Thursday on Peacock, was so contentious.
The reality show separated three married couples and had each spouse socialize with single men or women to test their existing relationships. In the end, two couples stayed together and one separated for good.
"I thought I left these people at a peaceful, happy place," Bailon-Houghton, 39, told UPI in a recent Zoom interview. "I thought I was just coming here to follow up and find out how it's been going. That is not how the reunion went."
Michael and Maria, and Sebastian and Silvia remained together. Marioxi decided to leave Richard.
Even though Michael and Maria didn't split up, single contestant Valentina reignited some old conflict on the reunion special.
"Just the return of Valentina itself was so explosive," Bailon-Houghton said. "I wasn't ready for that."
As host, Bailon-Houghton said it was often her job on Love for the Ages to de-escalate the tension. For example, the show held the couples' wedding rings for the duration of production, but Maria demanded her ring back in one episode.
"I think it was important for me to step in and just remind her why she'd signed up for this show, why was she there, how important it was for her to take this experiment seriously," Bailon-Houghton said.
Although Bailon-Houghton was guiding the couples through the show, the host said she grew to like each of the three couples. So, when Bailon-Houghton empathized with the couples, she said, that was genuine.
Richard had cheated on Marioxi years before they appeared on Love for the Ages. Bailon-Houghton said that even in the reunion, she observed it was challenging for Richard to accept how his actions changed Marioxi as a person.
"I think it's really hard to hold yourself accountable for why she isn't the girl you want her to be, why she's not happy-go-lucky," Bailon-Houghton said. "You caused pain that made her become this way, and I think that has been really hard for them to move on from."
Bailon-Houghton confronted the other couples regarding some of their sauciest moments during the reunion. Although they went home together, the Love for the Ages reunion asked Michael and Maria to explain a fight they had on camera.
Love for the Ages sent Michael and Maria on a double date to a bowling alley, Michael with a different woman and Maria with a different man who were accompanying them. After drinking too much, Maria shouted at Michael to end the date.
"I watched how he stood up for himself," Bailon-Houghton said. "I was impressed and I said it on the reunion."
Sebastian and Silvia had to answer for two moments in which they snuck off together while they were supposed to be separated. Once they went to the bathroom together for 10 minutes, and were still evasive about their bathroom activity in the reunion.
Bailon-Houghton confirmed that Sebastian and Silvia had "a type of sex that they definitely insinuated and explained in a roundabout way."
The bigger issue came when Sebastian and Silvia saw each other during a day off of production. Unlike Maria, whom Bailon-Houghton was able to convince to stay on the show, the host could not convince Sebastian and Silva to continue.
"I can try to convince you all day that this is what you signed up for, and you've got to go full throttle into this experiment," Bailon-Houghton said. "But that was really hard."
Before hosting talk shows and reality shows, Bailon-Houghton was a singer and actor. Her time in the girl group 3LW overlapped with acting roles in the Disney Channel Cheetah Girls movies and appearances on That's So Raven and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.
In 2013, the opportunity to co-host The Real opened Bailon-Houghton up to a third career. While Love for the Ages was airing, Bailon-Houghton joined the E! News team as the nightly co-host with Justin Sylvester.
As an actor, Bailon-Houghton said, hosting was a big adjustment at first. Now, Bailon-Houghton said, she has embraced being herself on camera.
"There's something really awesome about being able to just be authentically you," Bailon-Houghton said. "I'm really proud of that."
Having been an actor and a singer, Bailon-Houghton said she often has personal experience with the sorts of stories she's reporting on E!. Bailon-Houghton said she aims to present confirmed news as opposed to rumors.
"A blog can say anything about me and I'm like, 'This is not accurate,'" Bailon-Houghton said. "No one goes back to see if there's an update to that story and I think that can be really damaging to people's careers and their reputations."
Bailon-Houghton would also be open to hosting a second season of Love for the Ages. The host said couples who watched the first season may have an advantage in a second season.
"I think they'll be more open to the idea of what they're about to experience and be more prepared for it," Bailon-Houghton said. "I think that would make it that much crazier."
Love for the Ages Season 1 is now streaming on Peacock. E! News airs weeknights at 11 p.m. EST.