Former evangelical leader Ted Haggard may have skipped the first scheduled taping of ABC’s “Celebrity Wife Swap,” in which he will star alongside reality show king Gary Busey.
The show’s producers confirmed to People magazine Wednesday that on the celebrity version of the show, Haggard will swap his wife, Gayle, for Busey’s girlfriend and mother of his child, Steffanie Sampson.
Taping for the ABC reality show was supposed to be held Thursday at the GLBT Pride Center in Colorado Springs.
But neither Haggard nor Busey showed up at the taping.
Charles Irwin, executive director of GLBT Pride Center, wouldn’t comment directly on the “Celebrity Wife Swap” to The Christian Post but did allude to “special guests” that were scheduled to arrive at the center on Thursday for a volunteer event.
“We’re creating and packing up care packages for deployed gay soldiers and we were supposed to have ‘special volunteers.’ They did not show up,” Irwin told CP on Thursday.
“It would have been a nice opportunity to speak with folks who may not have been exposed to this element of the gay pride community. I would love to have bridged that relationship,” said Irwin.
The Christian Post contacted Haggard for comment on “Celebrity Wife Swap,” but he said that “all questions must be forwarded to ABC.”
ABC did not return calls seeking comment on the show.
In “Celebrity Wife Swap,” participating wives live in their swapped houses under the rules of the residential wife. The next week, they are allowed to make their own rules in the house, and the swapped husband must follow them.
Both Haggard and Busey are no strangers to the media spotlight.
The former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Haggard has already survived his own real life reality show. In 2006, he was accused of soliciting sex and meth from a male masseuse, and also having drug-fueled homosexual relations with a male prostitute.
The scandal led to his resignation as pastor of New Life Church, which at the time had 14,000 followers.
Haggard confessed to sexual immorality but denied having sex with the prostitute. He also admitted to buying methamphetamine and while he initially denied using it, he admitted to GQ magazine earlier this year that he did use the drug.
His wife, Gayle, chose not to divorce him, but rather argued that after counseling her husband was “cured” of “unwanted” sexual tendencies.
Busey, a reality show starlet in his own right with shows like “Celebrity Apprentice” and “I’m with Busey,” is an ordained minister for the born-again conservative Christian group, Promise Keepers. He has been divorced twice and currently has an infant son with girlfriend Steffanie Sampson.