Tempesstt Bledsoe is best remembered for her role as Vanessa Huxtable on "The Cosby Show," while her boyfriend of 16 years, Darryl M. Bell, for his role as college student Ron Johnson, Jr. on "A Different World." Now the acting couple is joining the cast of FOX Reality Channel's "Househusbands of Hollywood" and they talk to ET about life since "Cosby."
ET: You two have been together 16 years. What is it that makes your relationship work?
Tempestt Bledsoe: I think we are very compatible. I think that is really the heart of it. People ask us what it is. I think a lot of couples find themselves together and find out that they are not really a good match. And laughter is also very important.
Darryl M. Bell: I think it is that it is really important that we are able to make each other laugh. Have you noticed that some of the ugliest stand-up comedians have some of the cutest girlfriends. If you can make a woman laugh, you will find your way into her heart. Aside from that, because our professional lives have been so similar, we understand each other, our needs, and what our life is like as an actor. That has helped keep us strong. We have so many people who are common in our lives and so many experiences, too.
ET: Do you not believe in marriage, is that why you haven't taken the step, or is it, if it ain't broke, don't fix it?
Tempestt Bledsoe: More of the latter, I think, if that is something you want to do. The stability of it is very attractive and works for a lot of people. It is just nothing I want to do right now.
Darryl M. Bell: I believe in the institution, too. I always say you never know what is going to happen 20 minutes from now, but, at the moment, we are happy and we have been happy, so we will see what the future brings.
ET: As actors, how did you wind up on a reality show?
Tempestt Bledsoe: Marilyn Wilson, the executive producer of "Househusbands," was the executive producer of a talk show I did right out of college, so that is why.
Darryl M. Bell: We have actually worked on projects with Marilyn Wilson, we have gone out to pitch projects, so when they came to us with this … Marilyn is probably the only person in the world who could have got us to do a reality show.
ET: Since you two don't fit the mold of this show -- you both work, you aren't married and you don't have kids -- why do you think FOX Reality wanted you to be on?
Tempestt Bledsoe: They saw the test reel that we did…
Darryl M. Bell: And we were funny…
Tempestt Bledsoe: It is hard for me to say that because it sounds pretentious. But people honestly do say that to us all the time.
Darryl M. Bell: When we are at dinner parties and we don't try to be funny, our natural back and forth, people think is cute.
ET: So what will we find out about you that we don't know?
Tempestt Bledsoe: We are a very private couple, so there is so much stuff we never talked about before.
Darryl M. Bell: Wow! Most people say, 'I didn't know you were a couple.' That has been an interesting response because we go to premieres; we have been out in public. It is not as if we kept it a secret. We just haven't talked about it in terms of publicity.
Tempestt Bledsoe: I think the thing that most people will be surprised about is that we are on the show. Not only do we not talk about our private life, we don't do this type of show. We don't fit into the mold of show, so I constantly get that question. I hope people will get past the title and see what these men are doing: pursuing their careers, taking care of their children, I have nothing but respect for that.
Darryl M. Bell: I hope the one thing the show will do is change the perception that title is pejorative. The fact that there are men who are raising their children should ennoble stay at home dads. Hopefully, we are looking at it from the humorous point of view and everyone enjoys that and enjoys the dynamic between all of the guys.
ET What has life been like for you since you left "Cosby"?
Tempestt Bledsoe: Mainly, being clear on the type of career that I want and the projects that I wanted to work on. After I finished the show, a lot of people only saw me as very collegiate, clean-cut and I was very lucky after that to do a lot of roles that weren't into that stereotypical box and show some range, from roles on "The Practice" to some independent films. And also finishing business school, which I finished two years after the show was over, and now we come back on the 25th anniversary. It is amazing. The time has flown by.
Darryl M. Bell: One of the things I can piggyback on that, not only with "Cosby" but with "Different World," as well, because it has been in syndication so long, a new generation discovers the show every year. So when I see people who were in school when "Cosby" was on, now their children are discovering it on Nickelodeon, so a whole new generation is discovering it. That has been terrific.
"Househusbands of Hollywood" premieres August 15 at 9 p.m. on Fox Reality Channel.