Salahis Turn to Speidi's Strategy for Extra 30 Seconds of Fame

After a "kidnapping," a "divorce," we're waiting for the reunion

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Infamous fame-hungry White House gatecrashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi, seeing their already-limited starpower dimming with the cancellation of Real Housewives of D.C., have turned to another tabloid monster couple for inspiration: Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag. After the fake "kidnapping" of Michaele Wednesday -- Just kidding everybody! She really ran off with Neal Schon, guitarist for Journey! -- TMZ's headline quotes Tareq saying, "I'm divorcing that bitch!" The (at least semi-fictional) plot continues.

In August, The New York Times' Austin Considine wrote that despite the demise of their reality show, the Salahis are "determined to extend their fame beyond its proverbial 15 minutes." But it looks like the frenzy of activities Considine described -- the Victory Cup polo match, a state legislator's fundraiser, a movie screening in Nashville, a dance single, an upcoming Playboy spread  -- were not enough to keep the fame alive. That explains why the Salahis are now taking a page from the reality show horror story of Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, who moved from having camera crew film the most important events of their lives to planning the most important events of their lives for the camera. Montag and Pratt -- called Speidi by the tabloids -- had two weddings (double the wedding photos to sell) in 2008 and 2009, and then filed for divorce in July 2010. Three months later, they reconciled, admitting the divorce was a stunt to help Montag's career. They later renewed their wedding vows.

Pratt explained
"The divorce was real -- just the idea behind it was different than most people. Divorcing was the only way to keep Heidi's career going because everyone hated me so much. Look at Sandra Bullock -- her divorce from Jesse James was the best thing to happen to her image."
A comparison of Speidi and Salahi headlines shows it's working out pretty well so far:
March 30, 2010: Extra: "Like, OMG! Heidi and Spencer Split?!"
April 2, 2010: Us Weekly: "Exclusive Video: Heidi Montag Was 'Tricked' Into Saying She's Divorcing Spencer Pratt"
June 1, 2010: Celebuzz: "Heidi Montag Not Ready To Divorce Spencer Pratt"
June 8, 2010: Celebuzz: "Heidi Montag Files For Legal Separation"
September 14, 2011: TMZ: "Tareq Salahi to Police: My Wife'd Been Kidnapped"
September 14, 2011: TMZ: "Cops to Tareq: 'Michaele Salahi WAS NOT Kidnapped'"
July 18, 2010: People: "Spencer Pratt: I Chose Fame over Heidi"
August 6, 2010: MTV: "Heidi Montag 'Heartbroken' Over Spencer Split"
September 8, 2010: People: "Spencer Pratt to Heidi Montag: 'I Failed Spectacularly'"
September 15, 2011: TMZ: "Tareq Salahi: 'Devastated' by Wife's Liaison With Journey Guitarist"
September 16, 2011: TMZ: "Tareq Comforted by Micahel Lohan: 'I've Been Betrayed!'"
August 18, 2010: TMZ: "Heidi to Spencer: Happy Valentine's Day, Sucker"
August 21, 2010: TMZ: "Spencer: The Heidi Sex Tape Asking Price Is ..."
September 15, 2011: TMZ: "Michaele Salahi: 'Wild Sex' Claims with Journey Guitarist"
September 15, 2011: TMZ: "Michaele Salahi: Secretly Promised to Ditch Hubby & Spend Life with Rock Star"
September 16, 2011: TMZ: "Tareq Salahi: FILMS Rock Star Kiss His Wife Ultimate Humiliation"
August 22, 2010: Us Weekly: "Heidi Montag, Spencer Pratt Cuss Each Other Out Over Sex Tape"
September 16, 2011: TMZ: "Tareq Salahi: I'm Divorcing that Bitch!"
On Friday, TMZ reported, "We've learned Tareq is telling friends he can never trust Michaele again and will never take her back, even though he believes she'll eventually tire of Neal and try to come back to him." But in reality, this is what we'll have to look forward to:
September 13, 2010: Associated Press: "Spencer: Gun Detainment Brings Him, Heidi Together"
September 16, 2010: Allie Is Wired: "Heidi Montag & Spencer Pratt Spotted Kissing -- Photo"
September 30, 2010: Wonderwall: "Montag Files for Divorce Dismissal"
October 1, 2010: Us Weekly: "PIC: Heidi Montag, Spencer Pratt Burn Divorce Papers"
November 16, 2010: The Hollywood Gossip: "Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt Renew Wedding Vows, World Groans"
In romance novels, the plot follows a strict formula: the couple meet, are divided by an obstacle, then eventually come together in a moment of "emotional justice." That doesn't seem like the kind of justice the Salahis deserve.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.