Amy Robach, T.J. Holmes and the ‘GMA’ affair mess: Why we’re hooked
Aside from the World Cup, there’s one event playing out on live TV that has us hooked: The “Good Morning America” drama.
It began when “GMA3” co-hosts Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes, both married, were photographed holding hands and cozying up. Yesterday, they were swiftly sidelined – pulled off the air because their rumored romance had “become an internal and an external distraction.”
Our cultural appetite for scandal is nothing new, but there’s something about this particular situation that is eye-catching. The unpredictability of the “GMA3” affair is what makes it “good gossip.” It involves two seemingly wholesome public figures, a multitude of incriminating photos, and victims, or in this case, family members who are impacted by the rumored affair.
“We’re interested in relationships but more importantly, we’re interested in the failure of relationships — especially when we watch it evolve and unfold on television right before our very eyes,” says Donna Rockwell, clinical psychologist and founder of Already Famous.
Since rumors circulated last week, #gmaaffair has over 250K views on TikTok. Eagle-eyed spectators have scoured the pair’s old social media posts (before their accounts were deactivated), with many questioning the most intimate details of their reported affair as well as the status of their current marriages.
“We are gluttons for train wrecks and car crashes. Gossip is one of humanity’s favorite past times, and this one is a perfect invitation for that,” Rockwell continues. “And when the car crash has appeared on television, we become more invested.”
Amy Robach, T.J. Holmes:pulled from ‘GMA3’ for reported affair ‘distraction’.
Our connection to Amy Robach, T.J. Holmes
On-camera, Robach and Holmes appeared to have a heartwarming yet professionally platonic relationship. They’ve co-hosted the family-friendly program since 2020, even training together for a half-marathon.
“For the viewer who tunes in on a regular basis, ‘GMA’ fulfills a social role that used to be fulfilled in a face-to-face way, with the morning coffee hour with friends or the back-fence gossip session,” saysGayle Stever, professor of psychology at the Empire State College/SUNY. “The casual format of this talk show encourages the illusion of intimacy, that we’re all sitting around the table chatting about events of the day (with them).”
However, even those who are not avid fans of “Good Morning America” or it’s early afternoon iteration, “GMA3,” are becoming aware of it. One user tweeted, “idk who these people are but this seems like a fun christmastime scandal.”
“never seen a single minute of gma but very invested in this cheating scandal,” another user added.
Some people, Rockwell says, feel entitled to knowing every detail about a public figure’s professional and personal life. Others indulge in celebrity gossip to feel better about their own lives.
In addition, unanswered questions may play a role in this public fascination. According to Stever, people are wondering, “‘Are these people leaving ‘GMA?’ ‘Should they expect to leave ‘GMA?” “Did they violate a morality clause in their contracts?”
She adds, “It all becomes very murky.”
‘We don’t care about GMA, but we love mess’
On the surface, the “GMA” drama is considered comedic fodder for millions on social media. Countless jokes and memes have poked fun at the disgraced pair, with one user tweeting, “We don’t care about #GMA, but we love MESS!”
However, our obsession with scandals, our entertainment derived from gossip, shows more about us than it does Robach and Holmes, experts say.
“It’s sad,” Rockwell says. “We live in a social media age where all the details are coming out, more layers keep getting added to the story… drawing people in with little regard for the real-life families and children involved.”
Even when it comes to celebrities or TV personalities, our attitudes about gossip need to change. Otherwise, we’re normalizing a culture of judgement, rather than “compassion, empathy and respect for one’s privacy,” Rockwell says.