During their time on VH1's reality dating show Rock of Love, Heather Chadwell and Lacey Sculls went from co-conspirators in the hair metal mansion to mortal enemies. The two babes ruthlessly battled 23 other hard-drinking rocker chicks for the love of bandanna-rockin' Poison frontman Bret Michaels, culminating in a massive falling-out involving claims that Sculls performed oral sex on Michaels (screamed at her in front of her dad) and derogatory slams about Chadwell's work as a stripper. That whole ugly, mesmerizingly messy fight was 13 years ago. Today, Chadwell and Sculls are close friends and now the co-hosts of the new podcast "Talk of Love."
Currently available on YouTube and Spotify, "Talk of Love" premiered on February 3, and has been viewed over 3,700 times. They plan on spilling dirt from their time on Rock of Love, Charm School, and other shows from the mid-to-late 00's VH1 "celebreality" canon (which are all available uncensored on Amazon Prime), bringing on former castmates to chat. But nothing is off the table, whether it's relationship advice, politics, social justice, or stories about their own triumphs and mistakes that helped them grow.
"I thought about doing this a couple years ago. It's been in the back of my mind I wanted to catch up with everybody, and thought about what would be a good way to do it and who would be great to team up with, and Lacey came up," Chadwell told VICE from Sculls's Las Vegas home.
"We did have some really big blowouts, but we're both strong, fiery, passionate women. That happens in relationships sometimes," added Sculls, sharing the phone with Chadwell. "At the end of the day, I really like and respect Heather and who she is. I enjoy my time with her."
"I'm here for Bret'' became a standard declaration made by women in the house, though they also regularly called each other "slut" and "whore," sometimes viciously, or sometimes casually. In one particularly colorful talking head interview, Chadwell said, "Lacey is the biggest fucking bitch. How dare she talk shit about me? She's the biggest skank, slut, whorebag in this whole house, and has been since day one!" When it came to claiming Bret, the women worked hard, scheming and sneaking their way to the top by targeting the weaknesses of their competition and showing Bret they were down to live the rock star life. But both women express regret over the misogynistic trash talking that was a hallmark of the show.
"Heather and I are both all about female empowerment, and you wouldn't know that from watching this show. When you're placed in a position where you have to compete with other people and it's alcohol-fueled, it just got nasty," said Sculls, who also hugely regrets yanking her nemesis Raven Masterson's (a Black woman) hair. "It's incredibly disrespectful," she admitted.
Chadwell, who was constantly targeted for her work as a stripper, is glad to see greater social acceptance of dancers thanks to artists like Cardi B and Jennifer Lopez's performance in
Times have changed, which is nice. Because it's like, who gives a shit [if someone is a dancer]," she said.
Chadwell called her time on reality TV "petty shit" done out of boredom in a house with "nothing but vodka"—the perils of competing against other women while conniving producers puppeteered drama and wild behavior. Among the claims, Chadwell says producers told her to show one of her breasts during the initial photoshoot where contestants meet Bret for the first time, while Sculls claimed they manipulated a recording of her band to sound terrible.
"The producers were the real villains of the show," joked Sculls. Reps for VH1 did not respond to VICE's request for comment.
Chadwell, who is no longer on speaking terms with Michaels and got a tattoo of his name on her neck covered up, is now a successful real estate agent in Laguna Beach. The woman who once smashed a guitar while topless and wasted has been sober for three years, and she's selling the sexy outfits she wore on the show on Poshmark and hoping to get cast in Bravo's Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles or The Real Housewives of Orange County. Sculls, a longtime touring musician, is married and still working in the music industry, though currently taking a break from recording to focus on advocacy work in music. It's that advocacy that led her to expose an alleged sexual predator in the industrial metal scene.
As Billboard reported last month, Sinhue "Sin" Quirin, guitarist for the band Ministry, has been accused by two women of engaging in sexual relationships with them while they were minors—one accuser was 15 while the other was 16 when the alleged relationships began. Billboard said Quirin denied these claims through his lawyer. Quirin did not respond to VICE's questions about the allegations.
Sculls dated Quirin in 2010 while they were both touring in the band Lords of Acid, and she says she ended their relationship when she heard rumors about his relationships with underage girls. She called out Quirin on her Facebook page, and when she received messages from other women claiming to have been victimized by Quirin, Sculls "knew it was up to me to expose him," so she told her story to SPIN. Sculls says she also worked with the San Antonio Police Department on the matter, and is included in a report filed on January 6, 2017, according to Billboard.
"My goal for 2020 is to demand that the music industry hold itself accountable for this type of vile behavior," she said. "I have been singing in touring in bands for two decades now, and I have heard far too many stories of adult male musicians using their power manipulate underage fans into sex, or engaging in and glorifying the sexual humiliation of female fans. This is not acceptable, it is not cool, it is not funny, and it has to stop," Sculls told VICE.
It's both women's hope that the podcast serves as a platform to make a difference. They're no longer here for Bret, but rather here for each other and others who can learn from two former reality bad girls trying to make the world a little less terrible.
Alex Zaragoza is a senior staff writer at VICE and has seen every season of Rock of Love more times than she can recall.