The Real World's Julie Gentry Shares the Sweet Way Her Husband Supported Her Reality TV Return

Since her appearance on the first season of The Real World at age 19 in 1992, Julie (Oliver) Gentry has remained largely out of the public eye. So returning to the New York City loft and televisions around the world for six episodes of The Real World Homecoming: New York on Paramount+ wasn't exactly easy — for her or her family.

The former aspiring dancer, now 48, married restaurant owner Joshua Gentry in 1998 and has two children, a daughter, 17, and a son, 19. But in January 2021, she headed to New York for a week to move back in with former roommates Heather B. Gardner, Eric Nies, Kevin Powell, Andre Comeau, Norman Korpi and Rebecca Blasband and have their lives taped.

"My husband has really just been so supportive and so great," Julie tells PEOPLE of her return to reality TV. "He got me a case of all these cool, different champagnes and sparkling wines and said, 'This way, every Thursday, you can celebrate. You don't know what each episode is going to look like, but just let it be a celebration.' "

So, each morning for six weeks, as new episodes were released, they would send their daughter to school (their son is in college) and watch together.

"He gets really nervous," Julie says. "He says, 'I feel so vulnerable to how you're going to come off and what's going to happen.' He's just really sweet and really supportive. And then we pop that champagne!"

As for her teenagers, Julie says they weren't expecting anyone to care about the show.

"They have been hilarious," she says. "They really were surprised that anybody was interested in it. And then they quickly realized, okay, people are really interested in this and what does that mean? At first they were uncomfortable watching it, but now they're good."

Looking back on the reunion experience, Julie, much like her castmate and friend Gardner, feels a bit of sadness, especially because Nies could only participate virtually after contracting the COVID virus and Blasband left midway through following an explosive argument on race.

"I wish that we had all crossed that finish line together," Julie says. "I take this as another kind of reminder that everything's not always sunny and perfect, and it's hard for everyone to really see eye to eye."

All six episodes of The Real World Homecoming: New York are available for streaming now on Paramount+.


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