Darva Conger and Rick Rockwell reunited for the first time since their ill-fated marriage on TV's Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire.
To the TV viewer, the reunion on CNN's Larry King Live might have seemed more like a late-night phone call that ex lovers often make to see how it all went wrong and what went wrong.
Conger, a 35-year-old former ER nurse, married Rockwell, a 44-year-old comedian and entrepreneur, on the Fox television show in February 2000. Within weeks, she had the union annulled and said repeatedly in TV interviews that she wanted her privacy back. Then she took off her clothes for Playboy magazine.
Anger Still Surrounds Couple
Rockwell still appeared angered and hurt by Conger's reasons for taking the marriage vows with him.
"I don't understand how somebody could go on a show like that …there is nothing ambiguous about the title of the show," he said.
Conger said that when she became a Millionaire contestant, she thought the network had already arranged for another contestant to marry Rockwell.
"It was a dumb thing to do," Conger said.
Conger, claimed she was speaking to someone else when delivering her soliloquy about wanting to marry Rockwell. She also denied Rockwell's accusations that she lifted parts of the soliloquy from another contestant. "I was talking from my heart to someone else," she said.
Rockwell and King put Conger on the spot many times about her appearances on talk shows and her vilification of Rockwell once the media frenzy began.
Throwing More Heat on Their Fire
Both were still vying for media attention, while lamenting the media frenzy that surrounded them when they returned from their honeymoon last year. Conger was hocking her new Web site, Darvahouse.com, and Rockwell was publicizing his new book, What Was I Thinking?
Both Conger and Rockwell said they have "moved on" but still displayed moments of bitterness.
"I don't blame him [Rockwell] or hold him responsible for what I went through," Conger said. "I put myself in that position and I was less kind than I should have been. I should never have married you and I am so sorry I put myself in that position."
"Is this an apology?" King asked.
"Yes," Darva said.
One of the things Rockwell said he learned was that, "You can't possibly know about anyone in two hours doing a television show."
Their now annulled marriage sparked a sparked a national outcry. Women's organizations protested and Conger and Rockwell were both vilified in the press. Both of them also ran to the talk shows and tried to tell their story and, admittedly, spin it in their favor.
Conger posed for Playboy because she says she could not get another job.
As for Rockwell, he toured the country on a comedy tour he called "The Annulment Tour." "I expected only good things from the marriage," Rockwell said. "Now that I have some perspective on this I can empathize with Darva. It was a whirlwind. I used the pinata analogy. You are like a pinata and the media is at the birthday party and you are the pinata and they whack you with this stick and the next reporter has to hit you harder or they get nothing."