Being Gene Simmons‘ partner for 28 years hasn’t been easy for actress Shannon Tweed, who famously tore off her microphone during an interview with Joy Behar this month, and stormed off the set after Gene made jokes about the number of women he’s slept with.
But in an exclusive interview with HollywoodLife.com, the star of A&E’s “Gene Simmons Family Jewels” says re-watching such segments—they had a similarly tension-filled interview on The Today Show—and his show helps him realize he has work to do on the relationship front. “Watching these clips helps me be more effective, like ‘Gee, I really did come off like an asshole there. How come I didn’t see that?'”
Gene says he was taken off-guard by Shannon’s exit, and that making jokes about his sexual conquests on-air was in poor taste. “Oh, yes I was surprised,” he says. “I think you can safely say that—and rightfully so. Joy Behar is a comedian. And she asked a question, I thought ‘OK, it’s time to be funny.’ Well, maybe not funny for Shannon.”
Despite the roller-coaster nature of their relationship, Shannon remains devoted to Gene, and she in fact, was one of the masterminds of their recent trip to Israel (their son Nick also came along)—featured on Tuesday night’s episode of “Gene Simmons Family Jewels”—during which Israeli-born Gene meets his half-siblings, fathered by a dad who left him at young age. (See below for a preview of Tuesday’s episode)
“Shannon, the sneaky Newfie (a term for a native of Newfoundland, Canada) that she is, set all kinds of surprises up,” Gene tells HollywoodLife.com. “I didn’t know my father very well, he left us when I was six or seven. I found out that he was married at least six times, maybe more, and had any number of wives, lovers and other children. I thought I was the only child, and I met my half-brother [Kobi] and half-sisters [Sharon, Eugenia and Drora]. Two of them are twins—both over six-feet-tall!
Gene adds of the trip to Israel, “Shannon didn’t tell me anything. The whole premise was that [my children] Nick and Sophie had already seen where Shannon came from in Canada, so they should see where I come from. Sophie was busy in school, so Nick came with us. We went to the Sea of Galilee, Masada, and where I was born [Haifa].
Gene says the visit was life-changing. “I’ve already flown them out to L.A.,” he says.
During tomorrow night’s episode, filmed in Israel, Shannon says it’s obvious to her Gene has commitment issues like his dad did—which Gene agrees with to a certain degree. He admits to HollywoodLife.com, “All men have commitment issues. I’ve had loads of women. I’m not a dentist or plumber. Wherever I go, women throw themselves at me. It’s like trying to be on a diet, and you know carbs aren’t good for you, and you’re living in a bakery or you’re a baker. It’s really hard not to taste the goods.”
While Gene may have commitment issues like his dad—and like he says, most men—he didn’t inherit his lack of parenting skills. “I didn’t want to turn into my dad,” he says. “I didn’t want to abandon my kids—and I did not.”
And while Gene and Shannon may spar with each other, their union is as tight as ever, thanks to a—relatively—understanding Shannon. “Most other women wouldn’t put up with it,” he says. So why does she tolerate him? “You can uses words like ‘love,’ but you can also use a phrase like ‘destined to be together.'”
And when asked if he showers Shannon with lavish gifts, he says, laughing, “I do, I would say too much! Mostly diamonds. She’s a diamond girl!”
As for what Gene loves about Shannon, he says, “She’s an alpha-female. She’s six-feet-tall and comes from a family of seven, and it that way, she has a greater wisdom. You need somebody near you who’s good for you, and she’s good for me.”
— David Caplan
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