Patti Blagojevich to join show husband couldn't

May 21, 2009 5:53:26 PM PDT
Ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich wasn't allowed to appear in a network TV reality show in Costa Rica, so his wife will appear instead. A federal judge barred Blagojevich, who faces federal corruption charges, from being on the NBC show "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here" because it would send him out of the country. But his wife Patti accepted an offer from the network to and went to Los Angeles earlier this week to film a promotional shoot, said Glenn Selig, the Blagojevichs' publicist.

"I didn't seek this out. And if it wasn't for our financial situation I probably wouldn't consider it. You do what you have to do when you're, you know, a mother of two," Blagojevich told The Associated Press in a Thursday telephone interview. Both she and her husband are unemployed.

The couple appeared on NBC's "Today" show Thursday to announce the move. Patti Blagojevich said she hopes her appearance on the reality series will help show that she isn't the profanity-spewing person portrayed on federal wiretaps.

"What people say in their own homes, when they assume that no one's listening, in a moment of anger is not necessarily representative of who and what they are," Blagojevich told the AP.

According to the complaint filed by prosecutors, she was taped during an expletive-laced phone conversation suggesting the Tribune Co. "just fire" newspaper editors who didn't favor her husband. She has not been charged with wrongdoing.

She isn't worried about how she'll come off on the show. She said the couple's oldest daughter, who turns 13 this summer, is in favor of her being on the show. "I've been able to comport myself in public in a dignified way in the past, so I don't see why this should be any different," she said.

In public, Patti Blagojevich generally has been reserved, often shielding the couple's two children and avoiding television cameras herself.

She joins a roster of often seen TV faces, including actor Stephen Baldwin ("The Usual Suspects"), actor Lou Diamond Phillips, 2007 "American Idol" contestant Sanjaya Malakar, MTV star Heidi Montag and professional wrestler Torrie Wilson.

Viewers will decide which participants stay from week to week. If she's the last one standing, the former first lady of Illinois will be dubbed Queen of the Jungle.

Rod Blagojevich said that although he won't be a contestant, he will be involved with the show in some way. In the meantime, he'll stay home to take care of the children.

The family has assets - an apartment in Washington and a home in Chicago. But his attorneys say they have to tap his $2.3 million campaign fund to put on a defense and expect to deplete it. Blagojevich has been writing a book to bring in money since lawmakers threw him out of office in January.

"My husband's been a public servant for a very long number of years so we don't have any Swiss bank accounts or giant summer homes that we can sell off," Patti Blagojevich said.

Rod Blagojevich is charged with scheming to sell or trade President Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat and using the muscle of the governor's office to squeeze companies with state business for campaign contributions. He has pleaded not guilty. She declined to talk about her husband's corruption case.

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