Dr. Contessa Metcalfe remembers when her marriage was on life support.
In June 2021, the Married to Medicine star and her husband Dr. Scott Metcalfe faced difficult questions from their co-stars about the state of their relationship. In fact, the reunion show left the reality star in tears when she debated filing for divorce. "I have three kids," she said backstage at the revealing taping. "The stakes are so high!"
"We've made some big strides," she exclusively shared with E! News. "We went through a lot of growing pains as people saw. We had a seven-year itch. We had a 10-year and 15-year itch and I'm hoping we're done scratching. Hopefully, none of that will ever come to the surface like it did last year again."
For many months, Dr. Contessa said she and her husband were "half in and half out," which led to tense discussions about divorce. Plus, they had millions of viewers chiming in on social media week after week with their opinions.
At one point, the bond became so distant between the pair that Contessa put a for sale sign outside the family's Atlanta home as a symbol it was time to move out and move on. But after Scott pulled into the driveway, he pushed down the sign and agreed to participate in therapy—a longtime request from his wife.
Both parties spoke to professionals and learned that their own divorced parents were having an effect on their current relationship.
"When he started going to therapy, it was good because he was able to become more aware of the things that he was only doing because it was what he was taught," Contessa explained. "Neither one of us, to be honest, saw a good example of marriage growing up. We were just winging it and then trying to listen to 10 different people tell you 10 different ways to do the same thing. It just was not effective."
And for Contessa, she was specifically taught that when marriage get tough, it's time to "rollout." But as a mother of three kids, Contessa knew there had to be another way.
"Whatever things that we're doing, we're making it normal for the kids and they're gonna grow up and do the same thing because we're mimicking some of the things that we saw," she said. "When that became real, I think our whole home shifted."
While 2021 was difficult to relive on the small screen, Contessa now sees the season as "cathartic" and an opportunity to reset.
Moving forward, she hopes viewers will see an authentic couple who worked hard to make a marriage stronger and healthier.
"Actually being honest about what you authentically are going through and how you guys are doing can lead to positive change," she said. "There's no right way or wrong way to do it. Just get help. Just be honest because help is waiting for you."
Married to Medicine airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on Bravo. Catch up on previous seasons now on Peacock.
(E!, Peacock and Bravo are part of the NBCUniversal family)