You may know Samantha and Laura Leigh Abby as the lesbian couple on Bravo’s Newlyweds: The First Year. You may also know them from Sam’s web series, The Curious Cook, or Laura’s articles in Cosmopolitan. A producer and writer living in NYC, Sam and Laura have been married for over a year, and have been together for nearly a decade.
The Abbys have a unique perspective on long-term relationships, because their LTR is on public display. As a couple on reality TV, Sam and Laura are regularly interviewed about each other by strangers, and they know that any conversations can be cut and edited beyond their control. It would take a lot of trust and good communication to expose your relationship to the world on television.
I wanted to ask Sam and Laura about how they keep their marriage strong in such a stressful setting. We chatted about the show, their relationship, and their exciting upcoming projects, including Laura’s book and lesbian bridal website, 2Brides2be.
AfterEllen: Was it a difficult decision to become so public about your relationship?
Sam Abby: There were a lot of conversations before deciding to do the show. Could this hurt anyone? Could this help our careers? We love the ability to speak freely about our relationship as a same sex couple, and we also wanted to show that we are kind of boring, just like everyone else.
Laura Leigh Abby: We asked ourselves, what is the worst-case scenario? And could that ruin our relationship with each other or with our families? The answer was no. You don’t have to be perfect and have your shit figured out to find your partner and get married. No couple is perfect.
AE: Has being on the show affected your marriage?
SA: No. When I’m doing the solo interviews, I think, “Oh I know exactly what Laura is going to say for that question.” There was never a moment I was worried about what she would hear.
LA: Right. The worst things that we could say about each other, we’ve already said.
AE: How has it affected your family?
LA: I think our families were a little more sensitive than we thought they were going to be. We told them, “Hey, this is how TV works, they edit, they change things. Are you on board?” They said, “We’re all good.” But then when they see the show, they ask, “Why did they say that? That isn’t true.”
SA: I’ve worked in reality TV. When we signed on to do this, I knew exactly how this would be created.
AE: What kind of response have you gotten from fans of the show?
SA: We have gotten a really positive response. Occasionally when we are out we get noticed, and we’re never prepared, or we look terrible, but I’m never going to be putting piles of makeup on to go anywhere—it’s not me. We love the fans who watch the show every week and tweet at us.
LA: I wrote an article for (the March issue of) Cosmopolitan about having a wife. I have heard from so many women, people who can relate or who want to share their story. I can’t help myself, I end up writing them back long emails.
AE: What is it like to watch yourselves on TV?
LA: It’s pretty realistic.
SA: I look so much cooler on TV than I am in real life.
AE: What was your goal when you signed up for the show?
LA: I had two goals. As a writer, I am so often pitching essays about my life, and primarily my relationship. This show broadens my audience of people who might be interested. It could also impact people who don’t think they support gay rights and who have never met a lesbian. Maybe they can relate to us and their opinions evolve. My second goal is to get the word out about the launch of my lesbian wedding website, 2Brides2be.