Why Gina Neely Was So Unhappy Filming Down Home With The Neelys

For Food Network star Gina Neely, life has been a rollercoaster. According to People, one of her most notable career milestones was landing a show in 2008 alongside her then-husband, "Down Home with the Neelys." It followed Neely and her husband Pat's lives as they prepared new recipes together. However, somewhere along the way, things got a bit too much for Neely and she needed to get away from it all. Meanwhile, for Pat Neely, the television gig was a dream come true.

Gina Neely reflected on those times and said, "It's part of my life I never seemed to move past ... I never aspired to be a chef. My ex and I worked together at a family restaurant BBQ business. I thought it would be one show, we'd go back to our regular lives," she revealed in an episode of Bravo's "To Rome for Love," per People. She definitely didn't anticipate that the Food Network show would become a major hit and put her relationship under immense pressure.

Gina Neely was overwhelmed by life as a TV chef

Gina Neely spoke about how harrowing it was for her to be a part of "Down Home with the Neelys" in a segment on Bravo's show, "To Rome For Love." According to People, everyone around her was thrilled when the couple landed the Food Network show, but she was unhappy. Neely felt stuck in a situation that she never asked for. Prior to getting their show, the Neelys had been running Neely's Bar-B-Que in Tennessee. What was most upsetting was that the show took over everything else in her life. Neely recollected, "The TV show became bigger than the marriage. He became more my business partner than my husband ... I needed my husband."

Also, she wasn't her real self on camera. While she was struggling with her emotions and would often cry by herself, her onscreen persona made it look like her life was sorted which wasn't the case. "Probably was edited more than you realize," Neely told OWN in 2016. She didn't reveal how she actually felt for a long time in a bid to protect her kids. Gina and Pat Neely finally decided to call it quits in 2014. Many women contacted her after the announcement and wondered how she found the courage to leave. Neely said, "...I applaud myself because I didn't think I would have the courage to do it. And I did."

Gina and Pat Neely had differences

Gina and Pat Neely had been a married couple for 20 years before they decided to part ways. According to Cheatsheet, they started dating in high school and fell in love. Things looked perfect on the outside, but unfortunately, the reality was nowhere close to that image. They were already struggling while working on "Down Home with the Neelys." 

Their differences became too difficult to overlook as they realized that they were approaching the relationship differently. While Pat Neely wanted to devote even more to the marriage, Gina wanted space and felt suffocated in the relationship, as she revealed to "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" (via HuffPost). She decided to submit an application for divorce in 2014. What many don't know is that the Neelys were separated for two years before they filed for a divorce.

As HuffPost reported at the time, the former couple mentioned their collective brand in their official divorce statement. They said, "Together we have built a strong brand as The Neely's. Moving forward our focus will be on our individual brands and we are optimistic about our respective futures." The official reason cited for their separation was "irreconcilable differences."

Gina Neely has moved on

While her past experiences on television were emotionally complicated, Gina Neely didn't give up on the idea completely. In 2018, she decided to star in Bravo's docuseries show, "To Rome For Love." As per Bravo TV, she was blown away by her experiences in Italy and couldn't stop talking about the adventure that gave her so much. She said, "My experience going to Rome was just amazing. It literally took my breath away when I got off the plane."

The food was a big plus of filming for her, and she tried everything she could find in the city including pastries. She said, "Everything I ate was good. I'm not even a big pastry eater — I ate pastries like a crazy woman."

"To Rome for Love" is a TV show that focuses on five African American women who set off on an unforgettable journey for love with a relationship expert, Diann Valentine (via IMDb.) Neely may not have found the love of her life on the show, but she definitely couldn't stop herself from falling for Italy's charms. It's safe to say it was a much happier filming experience.