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'Tough Love Couples' on VH1 features local Pennsylvania Couple


With their relationship at stake, Larry Aiello and Heather Bintliff found themselves at a crossroads, where they weren’t sure if it was healthy to try Steve and JoAnn Ward of 'VH1'a Tough Love: Couples.' and make their relationship work or if it was time to call it quits. “We were together on and off for a year and a half,” explains Larry, a home improvement contractor from Bensalem, Pennsylvania. “We had some kinks we needed to work out in our relationship.”

Heather, an accounting manager from Langhorne, Pennsylvania says their issues started out small but eventually, took a toll on the pair and became a big problem. “We have a hard time communicating, like just getting along, not infidelity, not mistrust, nothing like that—it’s just that we fight a lot and it’s stupid!”

Knowing something must be done, Heather applied for VH1’s Tough Love: Couples, a boot camp from Philadelphia’s own Steve and JoAnn Ward. The brand new show features the mother-son duo counseling couples in crisis. “We’re working with six couples that have all been in long-term relationships,” Steve Ward said at the show’s premiere party at Del Frisco’s. “They say that they love each other but they have serious issues that are preventing them from taking it to the next step, so we’re going to help them figure out whether they can get over those issues and move on to their next phase and get engaged or if they need to move on and go their separate ways.”

For Larry and Heather, this was the perfect solution. The cast of "Tough Love: Couples."“They picked us and we were like should we do this? Should we not? What do we do? We needed to work on our relationship and we just went for it,” Heather recalls. "It was an adventure Larry and Heather never imagined they would embark on. “We lived in a $40 million mansion in Bel Air for a month and it was an experience that you can’t even realize what you’re going into," Aiello said of his time in California with the other couples and the Wards.”

The series takes viewers into the lives of the six couples who are all on the verge of breaking up or getting engaged. JoAnn Ward says her role is familiar territory, as she supports the cast and Steve. “Just being here to support Steve with his views and his experience in matching couples and working with couples and you know he’s really great at it, he’s awesome! He really didn’t need much of my help, “I’m the Den Mother!,” she said smiling.

While fans are accustomed to seeing Steve and JoAnn counsel only women on TV, they actually help both men and women with their Philadelphia-based business, Master Matchmakers. “I think my mom and I both played a very impartial role in the male-female aspect of the show,” Steve explained. “There are certain times where one of the guys may have been more at fault and then there were certain times where their counterpart had been more at fault, so mom and I were very fair and balanced.”With their relationship at stake, Larry Aiello and Heather Bintliff found themselves at a crossroads, where they weren’t sure if it was healthy to try and make their relationship work or if it was time to call it quits. Photo courtesy of VH1.

Desperate to know if they are currently with their perfect match, the couples partake in all the silly and serious challenges the Wards have in-store for them at boot camp. “This season mom and I are both executive producers,” Steve shared. “So we’re much more involved in the complete process, from pre-production and selecting the cast and creating challenges that are going to be used on the show.” The Ward’s have given each of the couples a nickname. Larry and Heather are known as, The Second Chances. “There was a lot of drama, a lot of emotions and it was hard for a lot of people,” explains Heather. “We had a rough time but we made it.”

The real premise of the show was to help the couples figure out whether or not they should get engaged and take the next step or if they should break-up and move on. As fans watch to see which couples are successful and which ones fail, Steve and JoAnn had their own challenges. During the course of the season, the mother-son duo saw a need that they wanted filled. “My mom and I both became ordained ministers in a non-denominational church because there may be a wedding in the non-so-distant-future.”

According to Larry, the show had a big impact on his relationship with Heather, “Tough Love Boot Camp definitely helped us so much.” Thanks to the experience, Larry says wedding bells could possibly be in the future for the couple, who revealed they’re now engaged.

“We’re thinking May of next year or September, it depends on certain circumstances,” Larry said.

So, could the couple from Pennsylvania truly be the first success of Tough Love: Couples? Guess we’ll all have to tune in to VH1 Mondays at 9PM EST to watch their journey of love!

Veronica Dudo can be contacted at vdudo@philly2philly.com