Carl Radke and Lindsay Hubbard from Bravo’s hit show Summer House won’t be walking down the aisle in a few weeks, after all. Despite a very romantic (and very staged) proposal which unfolded on camera during the show’s last season, Carl made the call to end their engagement which reports say left Lindsay “blindsided”.
Their split, especially the surprise nature of it, was certainly unexpected – to just about everyone except castmate Paige DeSorbo, who predicted them breaking up on last season’s reunion.
Rumour has it that Carl broke up with Lindsay on camera, so fans will get to see exactly how it unfolded on the next season of Summer House. Despite filming being over, the cameras picked back up specifically to capture the fallout from this drama, something we also saw the production team do when Scandoval broke.
Last week I wrote a couple pieces about how couples like Nick and Vanessa Lachey and Kyle Richards and Mauricio Umansky were commodifying love, marriage and divorce for the sake of reality TV ratings and securing their spots on their respective shows. While it was an easy thing to say that Nick and Vanessa were trying to sell their shows, and Kyle and Mauricio were doing all that posting on social media and starring in music videos to pique curiosity ahead of the latest season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, I’m just not sure that Carl deciding to call it off on camera was motivated by those same things, even if it renders the same effect.
If you’ve followed along with Carl’s journey, perhaps you’ve witnessed the same growth and evolution that I have. He spent years being a former bratty-ass frat boy that used alcohol and drugs to have fun, feel more comfortable in social settings and to cope with the lingering feelings surrounding his parents' divorce. But in recent years, he has done a complete 180 – and a huge turning point for him was his brother’s death, something I can relate to personally.
Carl and I both lost our brothers in 2020 from a drug overdose. And he has been very transparent in discussing his coping mechanisms throughout his conversations and confessionals on the show as well as in interviews.
"The way I dealt with the grief and the pain was to continue to drink and party," he once told Insider. "I hit my rock bottom in early January of 2021. And it was just time. I just didn't want to live like that anymore."
Prior to the death of his brother, he experimented with trying to curb his alcoholism through attending AA meetings and succeeded in being sober, but only for a few months at a time. And when he heard about people successfully drinking in moderation, he employed that strategy going into filming season five. But with so much conflict and drama in the house, his initial plans of drinking less evaporated quickly and he told Insider he would often down more than 15 drinks in one night.
When it comes to drinking and filming, Carl also told the outlet that alcohol "kind of amps you up a little bit — it gets you a little more willing to say things or do things and just be more free," he said, making a point that he never felt pressured to drink by the production team.
All of this is relevant because while he and Lindsay began their relationship and as Carl was about to mark one year of sobriety, Lindsay abstained from alcohol during the holidays to stand in solidarity with him. Her housemates noticed an immediate difference, citing how much of a nicer person she was. But she quickly resumed drinking, saying on the show that just because her partner is sober doesn’t mean she needed to be.
That notion is something I questioned in a piece I wrote about Bennifer when JLo launched Lola, her line of alcoholic spritzes, exploring the possibility of what that meant for Ben, who has struggled with sobriety for years.
If Lindsay was a moderate drinker that didn’t turn into the rageful, sloppy person we’ve seen her become on the show, perhaps I would be in agreement with her remarks about them being able to have separate journeys. But I feel like a huge part of the reason Lindsay is on the show is because she provides amazing entertainment and unmatched drama – and most of that is fueled by alcohol.
Even sober, she’s not the kindest or most honest person, which is why Paige suggested they were destined to fail during the reunion, and also why so many of Lindsay’s friendships in the house have collapsed over the years.
“I think they’re pretty fake sometimes,” Paige said during the taping. “I think everything they do is premeditated and planned. I think they just lie, and they spin everything.”
But in terms of whether this was premeditated or planned, it’s tough to say. Lindsay celebrated her bridal shower just a few weeks ago in New York, and Carl showed up to surprise her with flowers. Sources told Us Weekly that his bachelor party had already been paid for and that most of the wedding deposits had been handled. So perhaps the doubt had been there and looming, but it wasn’t strong enough for him to make a move until last week.
Sources also told outlets that Carl’s mom was not a fan of Lindsay, neither was his best friend and former business partner, Kyle, and his wife Amanda. And if you know anything about the relationship Carl shares with his mom, you’d know that her opinion is paramount. It sounds like at his core, Carl just realized that Lindsay is not his forever person – not in a romantic capacity, anyway. The pair had spent years being friends and even attempting to date each other here and there. But for some reason, they couldn’t get it to work.
More than anything, though, I think his sobriety journey has showed him the importance of honesty and accountability. And that’s the reason he’s called it off in such a public way. It’s embarrassing, it’s humiliating, but it’s honest.
I’ve written before about how much women tend to sacrifice in marriage and how it can be an institution that primarily benefits men. But in Lindsay and Carl’s case, I think sobriety is helping him to realize what he truly needs from a partner. And considering he’s already been successful so far in sacrificing his vices and being able to reimagine his coping mechanisms, he’s realizing the strength he has within himself. He’s realizing the strength that he has to go it alone. And I am rooting for him.