Victoria and Jonathan: Tony Esparza
Gary Susman
December 22, 2004 AT 12:00 PM EST

Jonathan Baker isn’t a reality-competition villain. He just plays one on TV. So claims the Amazing Race contestant, who insists he’s not the abusive husband he seems to be on the reality program. Though the show’s creators have been unusually vocal about his harsh on-air treatment of wife Victoria Fuller, Baker insists that the drama is all manufactured for the cameras — or at least that he’s not to blame for it.

Last week’s episode saw Baker shove and yell at Fuller, blaming her for the couple’s second-place finish in a challenge. Host Phil Keoghan admonished Baker on camera to ”go talk to your wife.” Off-camera, Baker got a talking to from executive producer Bertram van Munster. ”I told him you’ve got to tone it down, you have to stop this kind of stuff, it’s not cool,” van Munster told the New York Post. ”Until then, I’d never given advice to a reality show player before to chill out.”

Baker, however, said that Keoghan’s scolding was a matter of theatrics. ”We went in being the villains,” Baker told TV’s Access Hollywood. ”We went in playing it over the top, and CBS kind of helped it along with their storyline. I’ve had to do a lot of apologizing to a lot of people because they actually think it’s real. And yeah, some of it’s real. But you know at the end of the day we really wanted to play it campy, over the top, you know. But we do love each other.”

Some of those apologies have run on the couple’s website, where Baker wrote, ”All of us have our faults. Unfortunately for me, millions of viewers are getting to see mine each week. I do not abuse Victoria, what you see is a heightened version of stress and obsession mixed with medication for a sickness called Sarcoidosis.” For her part, Fuller told Access Hollywood that she has no regrets about her Amazing Race experience and ”would do it again in a heartbeat.”

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