The first year of marriage is never easy, especially when you're sharing all of its ups and downs with the entire country. As one of the couples featured on this season of Newlyweds: The First Year, Craig Ramsay and Brandon Liberati know that all too well.
But a honeymoon from Hell, fertility issues, and even Craig's messiness couldn't break these spouses apart. The couple is still together and as strong as ever, even sneaking in a few kisses in between answers when Bravotv.com caught up with the pair in New York last week. Craig and Brandon spilled on why filming Newlyweds was like therapy, what they would do over during their first year of marriage, and which of their fellow couples they think is having the hardest time.
With Brandon spending a lot of time in other cities for his job, how do you make that long distance work in your relationship?
Brandon Liberati: I think a lot of FaceTime. We talk all the time, even throughout the day, we're texting all day. I always feel like he's right there.
Craig Ramsay: It's necessary. Like, if it wasn't necessary, and we were choosing to do that career-wise, that could make us definitely drift apart, but our goals are the exact same.
Brandon: And when we're together, we're together.
Craig: That's why we created Fit and Phab, our business, so that we have these opportunities that we can be together.
Brandon: And lots of road trips. We love road trips. It's like forced time alone in the car singing Broadway tunes.
Craig: Yeah, we're going on tour together. It's totally non-Equity, but we're going on tour.
What has been the most difficult for you as a couple: living together, working together, or being on TV together?
Craig: For me, definitely working together, because it's similar to training your partner, and that can never happen. You fall into these authoritative positions, so marrying your co-worker is difficult.
Brandon: I have a very easy time separating things and treating him like a business partner and then five minutes later, walking out the door and him being my husband. Craig, not so much. Craig holds onto a grudge. He can't let a work decision or discussion, he can't leave it for work. It always affects him personally into our marriage, so that's the hardest part about it is trying to leave work stuff, Fit and Phab stuff, with Fit and Phab and not have it affect our house.
Craig: We're in the middle of intimacy, and I will bring up a work-related issue that has to be cleared up before we continue.
Brandon: It's highly annoying, because I have the kind of job where you do hair. You cut their hair, and you leave, you go home. It's done. Your stuff is done.
Craig: With fitness, you need to get the emotional stuff out first before you even step on that treadmill. What is the baggage that's holding you back?
During the Watch What Happens Live After Show you appeared on last week, you mentioned how filming Newlyweds was like therapy for your relationship. Why is that?
Brandon: When things are so focused on your life, it actually forces you to have discussions. This is why they say it's really hard being on a show and being married, like the people that actually survive that, you don't have great odds. So I think that what it does is things that would come up in the course of seven, eight years, they're brought up right away. Because the situation of filming is bringing a lot of stuff out, you have to talk about it, even interviews. So interviews are forcing you to talk about how you feel.
Craig: You get to know your husband, spouse awfully quick. And get to know yourself. It forces you to look at yourself, and there's a lot of things that we're not proud of that we really wish we could do over if we had the opportunity with our marriage.
Brandon: When you see the dual interviews, you see that there's a lot of things we'll talk about and I'm like, "What are you talking about? That's not how I feel." So it forces you to talk about a lot of things. So it is therapy.
Craig: Like Cristal [Coombe]. I had no idea Brandon was holding on to resentment about my relationship with my best friend. And I was quite hurt with the fact that there was judgment about me feeling like she was my sister, and I didn't feel like I had that support from Brandon. I don't think we would've learned that if we weren't filming.
Brandon: Because when we saw her, I respect the fact that he does love her. So yeah, I think that's why it's like therapy. It brings stuff up.
What did Cristal have to say about what Brandon said about her before she came to visit earlier this season?
Brandon: I think that she was surprised. I don't think she was surprised at me, or she didn't take what I had to say personally. Cristal's really smart, and she is an amazing person, which everybody got to see. And the fact that she could watch that, and she knows that's an issue between me and him, that it has nothing to do with her personally. Somebody asked Craig a question, and they said, "What would you change with you and Cristal's relationship to make Brandon more comfortable?" And he goes, "I wouldn't change mine and Cristal's relationship. I need to help change Brandon and Cristal's relationship."
Is there anything you wish you could have done differently on the show?
Craig: There's lots of things that I would want to do-over of our marriage. Definitely our honeymoon. We need to do that properly, and I take full blame for that nonsense. I would definitely want to do that. And there's lots of things about our wedding. I actually would want to make it more personal. I would dance for you, not sing for you [in New York].
Brandon: I've learned to not be as parental, so I think if I had something to do over, it would be the moments that I talked down to him.
Craig: To who?
Brandon: To you.
Craig: Say it again.
Brandon: Listen the first time. [Laughs.]
Craig: There you go again.
Brandon: So I think I would change that. I would definitely be more direct in a way that wasn't condescending.
Craig, how would you make your wedding more personal?
Craig: Well, for starters, you don't know what to do with the wedding if it's your first one. There's always mistakes made. And there's certain things that I would've loved to have done apart from Brandon. I don't think that it was necessary for us both to be there at almost every moment together. I would have liked to have taken my time with my family alone because you're changing who you are, how they know you, especially us getting married as two gay men, our families completely look at us in a different way now. I guess I would've made it into more of a three-day experience with all my loved ones. It was rushed.
Brandon: Yeah, I get to see you plenty now. I would've spent more time with my family, too.
Which of the other Newlyweds couples do you think is having the hardest time on the show?
Brandon: I am so interested in everybody else's stories, so I'm really excited to see how things turn out because we have no clue, even though we hang out with Rob [Radcliffe] and Tara [Radcliffe]. We've talked to the other couples, too. We have no idea how their stories turn out.
Craig: I think they're all going through a very difficult time in very different ways.
Brandon: The family thing [for Tara and Rob] because we're so family-oriented, I don't know how I would deal with that in my family if my spouse did not like my parents or vice versa.
Craig: There's always two sides to every story, too. This show is only an hour long, 10 episodes that you share with four different couples, and it's not like Housewives or Shahs where you're all friends and then it's cohesive and brings out more of our story. So I think that Tara and Rob are very lonely in this experience. I don't think they have a lot of outside support, and I'm really proud of them for navigating what their relationship is and being proud of that, despite all the pressure that's coming from viewers and from family, they still know what they want in their marriage, and they're sticking to it.
Brandon: Being around them, they're really strong together.
Craig: And they're good for each other. They complement each other very, very well.
Brandon: Adonis [Gladney] and Erica [Gladney], I think being a married couple dealing with infidelity in your marriage before it even starts, I think that they have the hardest story to me. If I had to pick a couple with the hardest story, I would say Adonis and Erica, because that's a lot to deal with. I know just putting my boobs out there in the public was hard, so I can't imagine sharing something that big.
Craig: And reliving it. Fourteen in Brazil. How many times can we see previews for that and reruns? I'm sure she goes to bed just nightly with these nightmares of 14 in Brazil. So my heart goes out to them. I think that they're handling it really, really well. I personally would've liked to have seen more behind the scenes. I think that when you have a camera there, I can see that they're aware of it in their relationship, and it kind of holds them back because there had to have been more development in their relationship for them to stay together because I'm kind of shocked that they are because I haven't seen yet what is keeping them together. And that must be something personal to them, and more power to them if they're able to balance something so personal and still holding it together. But as a viewer, myself without having any insight, I'm surprised. And Rob [Brann] and Ro [Brann], I know that they are probably watching this back and they're seeing how they deal with conflict and hopefully learning more mature ways of dealing with that, but you can tell that there's love there.
Brandon: It's kind of fun though to see a Millennial couple, because that's something that's not where I'm at, so I also like having that perspective, like, oh wow. This is a new marriage. That generation's marriage.
Which Bravo couple do you admire most outside of Newlyweds?
Craig: I would say Scheana [Shay] and [Mike] Shay because they're obviously going through it too as a newlywed couple. Putting that all out there is tough.
Brandon: I'm gonna say Ken [Todd] and Lisa [Vanderpump]. I love Ken.
Craig: You know, what I love about [Lisa and Ken] is that they're inseparable like us. If they can be together, they're gonna be together.
Brandon, are you doing anyone's hair for the Oscars?
Brandon: I always work the Oscars, so yeah, I'm sure.
Craig, given your background in musical theater, if you were to name a musical that describes your first year of marriage, what would it be and why?
Craig: Magic Mike. It was hot. It was sexy. Actually, my first Broadway show was Fiddler on the Roof, and Tevye marries off three daughters, and each one is challenging tradition, and I really can relate to that story. When we got married, Alfred Molina, who played Tevye, and a lot of the cast were there. It really made me emotional, especially the Chava and Fyedka relationship where it just couldn't be. At one time, not so long ago, gay marriage just couldn't be. To know how far we've come and to what we're able to do and how America is Anatevka, and it's changed. And we're very grateful for it because we would've done it anyway, and that's what gays have done since the beginning of time. They still have their commitments to each other. But it's different now that we have the support from loved ones and community. We're all things Fiddler on the Roof.