Before appearing on ABC’s “Wife Swap,” Terrell and Jarius Joseph already considered themselves modern dads.
Not only the pair of millennials a same-sex couple, with two kids, but they also are social media influencers who run a popular YouTube channel centered around their unconventional family.
With over 32,000 subscribers on their channel, the Atlanta-based couple showcases their family, allowing the world a peek into their everyday lives.
“Our channel is really about letting people into our lives and breaking the stereotype that comes along with being gay in general, and especially having two kids,” Terrell said. “We were just filming a lot, reaching different people, and sharing our experience of being two dads.”
While Terrell works as a talent acquisitions specialist and human resources professional, Jarius has dedicated himself to being a full-time content creator; helping to further their roles as social media influencers.
Prior to starting the channel, the Louisana-natives relocated to Atlanta after graduating from college to build their life together.
“Atlanta is where we came to start our family and our adult lives after college,” Jarius said.
Approximately, six months after they created their channel started filming the revamped version of ABC’s “Wife Swap.”
“A casting producer reached out to us,” Jarius said. “They had reviewed our Instagram profile and YouTube profile, and thought that we would be a good fit for the show.”
“We thought this would be perfect to reach more people.”
“Wife Swap” originally ran from 2004 to 2010 on ABC but was picked up by CMT back in 2018 for a comeback. The new version made its debut in April of this year.
“They were actually trying to revamp it and be a little more diverse and more modern, so they were looking for very diverse families,” Terrell said.
On April 25, viewers were introduced to the Joseph family as the first African American same-sex couple to appear on the show.
“We didn’t know if there were any other same-sex couples at the time, but we thought that having that representation for our community, on TV, where they get a glimpse of our lives as two dads, would be really amazing for us to have an opportunity to show the world who we are,” Jarius said.
In the episode, the Joseph family swapped with a religious Caucasian couple who had eight kids.
Watching the episode, it was obvious that their sexuality was a point of contention, but the two couples faced other issues pertaining to child-rearing, cleanliness, and religion.
“I knew they hit the nail on the head with swapping us with a super religious family, as well as a house that wasn’t clean,” Terrell said.
“We could have either gotten lucky and they would swap us with a millionaire, and I would be in a mansion, or I would be on a farm somewhere. We knew that based on how we carried ourselves that it would be closer to the farm.”
Terrell says that while he offered up himself as the new “wife,” Jarius got to stay at their home with the kids and the new mom.
“We knew Jarius wasn’t going to swap,” Terrell said. “He’s too picky, so I volunteered as tribute.”
Terrell also added that while most people think that the show is scripted, nothing was further from the truth.
“A lot of people will blame it on editing, or production, but their actual reaction coming in was their actual reaction to seeing me,” Terrell said. “When the family walked in the dad told me, ‘I didn’t know who you were. I just thought you were a member of production that I haven’t met.’”
“ I don’t think I’ve ever been more nervous before.”
According to Terrell, his biggest challenge when it came to the family was bonding with his new “husband.” He says that the kids actually took to him pretty well, especially after he implemented the rule change.
Meanwhile, Jarius also had his hands full with his new wife
“I think the first reaction we did have was when we met and I introduced the kids to her, and (our nanny) Lena, the first thing she said was ‘I’m so bad about kissing other people kids and pinching their cheeks,’” Jarius said.
“What a lot of people didn’t really understand was our kids weren’t even one yet. Ashton had just made one and Aria wasn’t one yet so it was still really new.”
The Joseph’s took a lot of heat for their overprotective parenting style and quasi-germaphobic tendencies when it came to their kids.
“A lot of people focused on some of the stuff we did and said rather than them,” Terrell said. “Surprisingly, a lot of people defended them and felt like it wasn’t that bad, or that we were kind of judgy.”
“We got a lot of comments saying, ‘Well why would you do this experience if you won’t let her touch your kids.”
However, what people didn’t know was that they had traveled a hard, long road to get to where they are today in terms of conceiving children. The couple had made two attempts at having children through surrogacy.
“We actually have three kids,” Terrell said. “Our first daughter, we lost through a miscarriage.”
They lost daughter Aubrey five months into the pregnancy. Fortunately, their second attempt at surrogacy brought them Ashton and Aria.
While the kids were a big issue for Jarius and his swapped spouse, the two clashed over a lot more than kissing children.
One of the more shocking scenes was when Jarius made the new mom clean up dog poop as a punishment for making a bad analogy for how she felt regarding homosexuality.
Surprisingly, Jarius says that he and she actually got along well, which wasn’t show on television.
(She) and I really connected over a couple of different issues that she was passionate about,” Jarius said. “She was really sweet when I met her. We set around and joked about us having two kids versus her having eight.”
“Looking back on it, I kind of wish I did swap. Her kids were a lot older and I feel like because they were closer in age to me it would an easier interaction.”
And even though the Joseph family says that they don’t think they’ll be utilizing any aspect of their swapped families lifestyle, they do acknowledge that the experience made them appreciate what they already have even more.
“I learned that I am very blunt and I am proud of the way that our family operates,” Terrell said.
“Being a two-dad household it’s a lot of testosterone in one house, so our disagreements and conversations can completely go left with two personalities, but I think we do a good job of leveling each other out.”
Jarius added, “I appreciate the fact that we have a relationship where we can come together and talk things through.”
“Terrell and I make a really good team. In everything we do we balance each other out. It just confirmed to us that what we were doing worked for us and it was already well done.”