Kendra Wilkinson Baskett is game for pretty much anything, but when the former Playmate and reality star learned who she was swapping with on the Season 2 premiere of ABC’s “Celebrity Wife Swap,” she panicked.
“I wanted to run,” Kendra told Xfinity Friday of when she discovered she was trading places for a week with former TLC reality star Kate Gosselin. “I ended up in freaking Pennsylvania and the nearest airport is hours away from her house, so I couldn’t do anything about it,” she laughs.
“Oh my God, it was a roller coaster ride I’ll never forget,” the married mother of one says of taking over for the single mother of eight. “It took me until the last day to even figure out who was who,” she admitted.
Kendra Plus Eight equaled a lot of anxiety for Wilkinson, who’s used to her more laid-back California girl lifestyle.
“It was a whirlwind for me, I was spinning, running around with my head cut off,” Kendra said of being thrown into the lion’s den with Gosselin’s set of sextuplets, Joel, Collin, Aaden, Leah, Alexis and Hannah (ages 8), and twins Cara and Madelyn (ages 12). “I had a lot of anxiety, I didn’t know how to take care of eight kids or what to do or where to go.”
But it turns out Gosselin’s full house isn’t a zoo. In fact, the “super mom’s” little soldiers are used to structure and operating under a precise routine that runs like clock work.
And that’s what became the main source of contention on Kendra’s “intense” side of the swap — her rule change threw the kids for a loop.
“My rule was no rules and they were so mad!” Kendra laughs. “These kids are structured, they are on time, they are used to order. And I said, ‘You’re free, Go!’, and that was the most drama I got from then, when I said you have no rules,” Kendra marvels.
While it was a chaotic adventure, Kendra wasn’t flying completely solo — “[Kate’s] best friend came from New York and helped me out” — and she reports that there weren’t any major incidents. Well, except maybe one.
“I forgot to feed them one morning,” Kendra says, “you know, there’s so much that happened … you’ll get a kick out of it when you see.”
On the flip side, Kendra’s husband, former NFL player Hank Baskett, and their four-year-old son Hank, Jr., had a tougher time with the tough-as-nail Kate Gosselin.
“They had the more dramatic side of things,” Kendra revealed. “Hank and Kate were more like the fighting side.”
While Kendra didn’t want to speak too much about her counterpart’s scenario since she wasn’t there, she did say that Mama Gosselin is used to ruling the roost, and isn’t used to being pampered.
“What I do know is that Kate is totally thrown off when she finds out the man of our house is the domestic one, he’s the one that does the cooking, he takes care of his woman,” Kendra says of her relationship with her husband. “After taking care of little Hank, I pretty much have the freedom to go out and do whatever I want — I work hard and I play hard.”
So, basically, it sounds like Kate got a week off from her massive brood and a chance to relax a bit and have a man do the housework … and she didn’t like it?
“Yes, just like her kids,” Kendra replied.
“I think she had a little anxiety … they’re very structured people. They live their life by the book and we don’t,” Kendra said.
So how did Kate Gosselin feel about the prospect of a former Playboy Playmate caring for her children for a week?
“We ate lunch with her after the show and Kate admitted, ‘I was really worried’.”
“But everything ended up such a great experience because I am a real person, I am a real mother, I am a real wife, and I truly am a good person, I have a great heart,” Kendra says. “We ended up knowing that about each other and understanding both sides and appreciating the experience. It was the best, perfect experiment for TV, hands down.”
“I’m very happy I came out alive and don’t need therapy,” she added.
The second-season premiere of “Celebrity Wife Swap” airs Tuesday, February 26 at 8/7c on ABC. Learn more about the show at ABC.com.
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