Mario Lopez: 'I Wasn't in Love' With Ali Landry
Mario Lopez has revealed details of one of the most infamous celebrity breakups in recent years.
In his new memoir, Just Between Us, the former Saved by the Bell star details exactly what went wrong in his relationship with model-actress Ali Landry. In case you forgot, their 2004 marriage lasted less than two weeks (that's five times shorter than Kim Kardashian's ill-fated union with Kris Humphries, for those keeping score at home). And their breakup wasn't only due to the fact that Lopez was caught cheating on Landry during the bachelor party.
At 24, Lopez met Louisiana native Landry, then 25, at the 1998 Miss Teen USA pageant, where he was hosting and she was serving as a commentator. He was immediately smitten and — even though she had a boyfriend — told Landry and her mother that he would marry the former pageant queen. Eventually, the two ended up dating for six years, although they did go through some rough patches along the way.
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"I thought this was the girl," Lopez wrote. "If I wrote down the criteria of what I wanted in a wife and a mother — back then — she seemed to be it. She was a model, so she always had good style, she knew how to dress. And she was Catholic, very driven, ambitious, hardworking — but also charming and innocent at the same time. I could have been looking at a lot of criteria that were more on the surface than not. But that was my bad. Except a short time later I felt that she seemed to be changing. Like many girls who move here from small towns, Hollywood appeared to be taking its toll on her. Deep down I questioned whether she was the same sweet Southern belle that I'd fallen for. The changes were subtle, but her interests sounded more materialistic and she seemed more preoccupied with image rather than substance, things I didn't care about. Our conversations became less based on common interests and more about her pressuring me to be a certain way, dress a certain way, act a certain way."
Landry, he wrote, was the one who wanted to take their romance to the next level.
"When we finally got back together after the last breakup, that's when she gave the ultimatum. Either we would move forward — get married — or she was going to leave me."
Lopez, who was nearly 30 by this time, saw friends and family all around him getting married and having children.
"My instincts screamed that I didn't need to rush while my more critical voice barked that it was a manly choice to commit and begin a family," the Extra host continued.
Though Lopez struggled with whether he was just getting cold feet or if marriage really wasn't the right thing to do, he decided to move forward with the wedding. But first there was the bachelor party. While the groom's cousins had planned an innocent fishing trip, Lopez noted that another friend orchestrated a wild bash with multiple destinations. All the guys were in relationships, so he claims that the group decided — against his wishes — not to tell their other halves.
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"The bachelor party coincided with spring break, so it was a far cry from a fishing trip," Lopez noted. "We started with the hottest spots here in the States — MTV was shooting at many of these locations, so you can only imagine the crowds they drew. Then we jetted off in style to all the Mexican beach resorts.
"It was a five-day nonstop party. Suffice it to say, my good time was a little too good, because I got inebriated and a little too friendly with a young lady on spring break at one of the stops in some university party town. What was I thinking?"
Later, Lopez said he had a realization.
"Once I took responsibility for my feelings, acknowledging how I had so mishandled my decisions, lightning hit me with the truth: I wasn't in love. The thoughts came streaming in, but it was too late. My misgivings reared their ugly heads and I knew I should have broken things off with her before I strayed.
"Everything was suddenly crystal clear. But like an idiot I did what you do when you find out you've dug a hole for yourself: I kept digging. I formally walked down the aisle and said, 'I do.' But in my heart and soul, I was screaming, 'I do not! I can't! What am I doing?'"
Landry revealed on The Wendy Williams Show in March 2012 that she was also having doubts at this time. "I had heard something right before the wedding. [Mario] swore that it was not true, but I had that feeling in my gut. [But] all of my family was flying in — it was a destination wedding — and I really should have put the brakes on it at that point, but I was afraid." Needless to say, they went through with the nuptials anyway.
Lopez had to work out of town after the wedding, but when he returned home, he found his new wife was waiting to confront him.
"She brought me into the bedroom and showed me pictures her sister had found. One of our unplanned stops on our bachelor party tour had been at a Louisiana State University spring break party. Ali's sister had a lot of friends at LSU and one of her sister's friends snapped a picture of me in South Padre Island, Texas. I was caught in a white lie."
Well, not exactly a white lie...
"Understandably, she was humiliated — though she sounded more worried about how it would make her look than about our relationship and working things out. She asked me to leave, so I did."
Still, the two hadn't ended things for good just yet.
"Then I had an epiphany. I didn't want to save our marriage," he wrote. "The foundation wasn't there. I finally got the balls to say, 'I'm sorry. I can't be in that marriage. It's not right for either of us.'"
Landry told a slightly different version of their breakup story during her interview with Williams, saying a girlfriend showed her how to tap a phone to prove Lopez cheated.
"I was like, 'I don't want to tap a phone! I can't believe I'm doing this.' [But] she did, and right after the honeymoon I started getting phone calls from these girls," Landry revealed. "I confronted him and he still — to this day — denied it and never apologized. It was horrible."
She continued, "'I was so side-swiped by the whole thing... I never really got angry. I discovered a lot about myself and I'm a better woman because of it."
Eventually, Landry said she became more religious because of the experience, and she met the man who eventually became her second husband and the father of her three children — director Alejandro Monteverde — at a theology class. The couple abstained from sex until they were married because of the Lopez incident.
Lopez, of course, married Broadway dancer Courtney Mazza in December 2012 and they have a 4-year-old daughter, Gia, and a son, Dominic, 1.
Although Lopez has said he's friendly with most of his exes, he admits that he's not friendly with Landry.