The former reality star also recently moved back to Los Angeles to re-immerse herself in the entertainment industry after relocating to the Bay Area and trying her hand at real estate and party planning. And, perhaps most significantly newsworthy to her loyal fan base, her highly-publicized marriage to Sada Bettencourt is now over, so she’s back to looking for love.
In this GO exclusive, we dish with Whitney on changes, the pressures of a televised relationship, and why she’s choosing to “come out” about her breakup now—on her own terms.
It’s been six years since Showtime premiered “The Real L Word,” introducing viewers to a group of “real” lesbians living and loving in Los Angeles. The reality show spin-off to the network’s iconic soap series “The L Word” delivered just as much drama and sex as its predecessor, and also some recognizable queer women now frequently referred to (for better or for worse) as “celesbians.” While “The L Word” served up mostly straight actresses portraying gay women, “The Real L Word” depicted real-life, out and proud lesbians unabashedly pursuing careers, relationships and sex in the public eye. These women served as national examples of the fact that somewhere in the world, living out loud was possible—a symbol of hope clung to by many viewers in small towns and unsafe situations.
Whitney Mixter arguably became the most recognizable “Real L Word” cast member: a Lothario (the Shane, if you will) who could (and would) charm any woman (gay, straight or questioning), and juggled several different love interests while also maintaining a strict sense of independence—at least in Season 1. By the end of the show’s final third season run, viewers watched an all-white clad Whitney marry Sada (formerly Sara) Bettencourt, a go-go dancer and hair stylist to whom Whitney fully committed after abandoning her carefully cultivated Casanova lifestyle.
Since “The Real L Word” ended in 2012, most of the cast members have continued to boast individual followings, hosting events and parties at lesbian spots around the country. In 2014, Whitney and Sada returned to television for a season of Vh1’s “Couple’s Therapy,” opening up about their relationship struggles (jealousy, fighting, familiar issues) and dedicating themselves to working through their issues. Fans cheered them on, leaving hopeful social media comments and taking selfies with the couple when they saw them in the flesh.
Of all of the show’s stars, Whitney and Sada were the ones who maintained the highest level of visibility. They hosted regular events in San Francisco and Los Angeles and collaborated on a spring break party in Palm Springs during Dinah Shore weekend. They came as a package, a duo that promoters brought in to encourage the community to come out. And out they came.
But not so long ago, fans started to notice the couple’s photos and social posts were devoid of one another—that they were living separate lives without comment or responses to inevitable questions. What used to be messages of “You guys give me and my fiancée so much hope! Thank you for inspiring me thru a lot of my life!” turned into curiosity and concern: “What happened? I hope we can see a comeback…”
The couple who had one of the first real lesbian weddings on TV seemed to be breaking apart, but no one could confirm it—until now.
Marriage can be stressful enough without the added pressures of publicity. Whitney and Sada stayed together for six and a half years, and at least four of those were televised.
“I think after ‘Couple’s Therapy,’ we tried to utilize the tools we learned in the show, and it was really working for a while,” Whitney told GO while sipping a latte in a North Hollywood coffee shop. “But life happens, and stress happens, and I think the cameras shut off and things really got real.”