Here is the final article from the Hattiesburg Newspaper about Lake and Michelle. They interviewed them. These peeps are in major denial!It's all in editing, rueful Garners say
By Steven Godfrey
He cursed, he complained and he argued with his wife - all on national television - but "The Amazing Race" contestant Lake Garner promises he's no villain.
"Looking back, I see that I was too naive to realize I got cast in that part," the Hattiesburg dentist said Thursday morning, just hours after appearing on a nationally televised morning talk show with his wife and teammate Michelle.
The couple were eliminated Wednesday night as contestants on the ninth season of the CBS reality adventure series. Just hours after their elimination episode aired, the pair started a press junket in New York City to talk about their experience as the "Bad Guy" couple.
"I think they [the press] were surprised," Lake said after "The Early Show" taping. "We kind of played it low key. They were probably expecting us to be more excitable."
That "excitable" nature has garnered the Garners more attention for their marriage than for their chance to compete for $1 million in "a race around the world" on national television.
"We thought we were getting along good during the show. I think in retrospect that after the second or third episode (Michelle) was wanting me to take the lead. After the first two or three legs I like to think I was listening to her sometimes," Lake said.
Michelle said the couple tried out because they wanted to play the game, not deal with the subsequent attention from the media and viewers. But a week before the season premiere on Feb. 28, Michelle read an article in Entertainment Weekly labeling Lake a "villain" character for the season. Before the show debuted, Lake was described as "highly competitive" on the "Amazing Race" Web site at www.cbs.com
"I didn't expect (the attention) at all. I did the 'Race' because I wanted to; there was no other motive. I wasn't prepared for as many people to talk about it and know about us," Michelle said.
Once the show debuted, the Garners got a chance to see what footage "Race" producers had decided to air. In the seven episodes the pair appeared in, each installment had at least one scene where the couple had heated arguments. A constant point of contention was navigation, as teams are responsible for finding their way though various foreign countries to complete different tasks.
During Wednesday night's episode, the Garners were shown having a fight over directions while driving through rural Greece. Lake cursed at his wife, but Michelle then was seen calming down an "overstressed" Lake on the side of the road.
"They could have tried to show a softer side a little bit because it was there. But you get in the heat of the 'Race' and that competitive spirit can take over, and Lake is very competitive," Michelle said.
That spirit drew the attention of fans and Hattiesburg residents alike. Lake was a constant subject of scrutiny in online forums on "Amazing Race" fan forums, and the Garners' behavior became the subject of several letters to the editor at the Hattiesburg American. Lake said that the response he's received from friends and family has been overwhelmingly positive.
The Garners' immediate family have remained supportive of the pair throughout the experience. Michelle's mother, Pam Poston, and Lake's mother, Diane Garner, helped look after the couple's three children while the Garners were on the five-week shoot.
After their elimination, the couple was sequestered at an undisclosed resort for nine days. On the final episode, the pair will appear with all 11 teams at the finish line.
"My reaction (last night) was that it's over. The suspense was killing me," Poston said.
Poston said she thought the show's producers created stock characters with their portrayal of the couple,
"I think that they did something typical of a TV show. They had to give personalities to different couples. Unfortunately (Lake and Michelle) got the 'Bickering Couple,'" Poston said.
"Even though I knew it was a show I didn't like seeing anything that hurt my daughter and her family. It hurt me when they did (argue) because I knew there'd be a backlash on that."
Still, Poston stands by her son-in-law and daughter, who have been married for 15 years.
"Lake is very energetic, he tends to leap before he thinks, but in real life they are a close couple with their ups and downs and they always seem to get over them. Michelle is very sure of herself, too," Poston said.
"We enjoyed doing this," Michelle said. "(People) would be surprised that we have a great relationship, that we get along in everyday life as much as we do."
And Poston backs up her daughter's quiet reaction to her husband's on-air arguing.
"Michelle was always aware there was a camera on, so she was very gracious," Poston said.
"Trust me, at home she would've put a stop to all that pretty quickly."
Originally published April 14, 2006