“Celebrity Wife Swap” paired up Haggard for one week with Steffanie Sampson, the fiancee of Academy Award-nominated actor Gary Busey, while Gayle spent the week with Busey. Ted Haggard, the former head of the National Association of Evangelicals who resigned five years ago following a gay sex scandal, will be featured in Tuesday’s ABC premier of “Celebrity Wife Swap”.
The two couples make an interesting religious combination. The Haggards are evangelical Christians who currently lead Saint James Church and the Buseys follow New Age philosophies, including reincarnation. Busey and Sampson believe they are married in spirit and are currently in their 32nd lifetime together.
He said he was originally concerned that there would be an “uproar” in the Christian community from people who had never seen the show and thought it somehow involved sex, though it is really about contrasting families and relationships.
He and his wife ultimately decided to participate in the show, in the face of potential criticism, in order “to encourage the discouraged rather than persuade the judgmental.”Haggard didn’t speak much about his wife’s experience with Busey, although he did say that her experience at Busey’s Hollywood Hills home was more adventurous than his own.
Now that the taping of the show is over, Haggard says his family and the Busey family remain friends.
The celebrity swappers include:
• Gary Busey and evangelical pastor Ted Haggard
• ‘Growing Pains’ star Tracey Gold and Wilson Phillips singer Carnie Wilson
• Flavor Flav and Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider
• Pro wrestler Mick Foley and Antonio Sabato Jr.
• Niecy Nash and ‘Family Ties’ actress Tina Yothers