You’re only as good as the woman you feel, and I love feeling her,” quips former four-time Gov. Edwin Edwards only minutes into A&E Network’s premiere of “The Governor’s Wife.”
The new reality show, which premiered Sunday night, follows the always-glib Edwards, 86, and his wife, Trina, 35, as they attempt to bring a new addition to their family, described by A&E as “Edwin’s daughters Anna, a 63-year-old, four-time divorcée, and Victoria, a seen-it-all former performer who is never far from her electronic cigarette,” and Trina Edwards’ sons from a previous marriage, Logan, 16, and Trevor, 14.
The show has been in the works for about two years and aired back-to-back episodes Sunday.
Trina Edwards said she was approached by producer friend Shaun Sanghani about doing a reality show shortly after she and Edwin Edwards married on July 30, 2011.
The former governor was not long out of federal prison, where he served 8½-years for bribery and extortion.
“This is a national TV show. It’s an opportunity most people don’t get,” Trina Edwards said. “When it arose, I felt the need to take advantage of it. I quickly realized people would have talked about us no matter what.”
Some of the family members were enthralled by the TV experience. Others, including the former governor, not so much.
“I hated it!” Edwin Edwards said. “It’s very time consuming and unnecessarily repetitive, but I did all I could to cooperate and help to make it a success.”
His wife, who is 51 years younger, convinced him to do it.
“Edwin pretty much goes along with whatever I want,” Trina Edwards said. “He didn’t enjoy the actual filming, and I don’t think he really believed it was going to air until the commercials started.”
On the other hand, Victoria Edwards reveled in the spotlight, even though she comes off rather snarky in the show
“She’s dramatic at heart,” Trina Edwards said. “She was all about it.”
She said her son Trevor, who’s always wanted to be on TV, also relished his camera time, but the same can’t be said for big brother Logan.
“He didn’t care for it,” Trina Edwards said, with a laugh.
Original plans called for 12 episodes, but when Trina Edwards became pregnant with baby Eli, who was born July 31, things got “complicated.”
The show’s premiere deals with Trina Edwards’ discovery that her new husband had once frozen his sperm, and that leads to the possibility of expanding their family.
The episode also features Trina Edwards’ participation in “Dancing for Cause” benefiting The Arc of East Ascension, Edwin Edwards’ 85th birthday and sharing their plans to have a baby with Anna and Victoria, both regulars on the show.
Trina Edwards said filming the reality show was not at all what she expected.
“It was 12 hours a day, six days a week,” she said. “They don’t really follow you around everywhere with a camera, but they’re here when you wake up in the morning and sometimes when you go to bed — they’re breaking down equipment. You wake up in the morning and walk into your kitchen and there are 12 people in there.”
Being “The Governor’s Wife,” whether on the reality show or in real life, has meant developing a thick skin to the negative comments that come her way, Trina Edwards said.
“You have to be OK with being criticized. Some friends didn’t want to participate in the show for that reason,” Trina Edwards said.
“A lot of reality shows can be embarrassing, but I’m comfortable our show is not like that. I think it correctly portrays our personalities.”
Trina Edwards said she had trouble at first dealing with the rude comments and accusations that flew when she and the former governor married.
More “nasty” comments were made when she got pregnant and when they announced plans to film the show.
“One episode deals with me dealing with that,” she said.
Trina Edwards says she’s not yet sure if there will be a second season of “The Governor’s Wife.”
“I’d really like to just take a little time (to enjoy marriage and motherhood)” she said. “That’s if we’re even offered a second season.”
The former governor, while not a fan of the process, said he’d continue with the show, “depending on the setup and what the financial arrangements are.”
“I think it’s very interesting that so many networks are interested in the people and events of Louisiana.
“You go from alligator hunters to ‘Swamp People’ to ‘The Governor’s Wife’ to the most successful of them all, ‘Duck Dynasty,’ ” Edwin Edwards said. “We have a distinct culture … a mystique about Louisiana and that’s uplifting for our state.”