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Reality TV divorces are nastier than any other celebrity relationship ending because it plays out in real-time for the world to consume. Love & Marriage: Huntsville stars Martell Holt and Melody Shari (formerly Holt) are prime examples of their drama making for a captivating storyline. Despite their bitter split and not being in a good space with one another today, executive producer Carlos King says there would be no Melody without Martell.

Melody and Martell Holt smile together on the red carpet
Melody and Martell Holt | Moses Robinson/Getty Images for Bounce Trumpet Awards

Carlos King says Martell Holt was instrumental in helping Melody become a star

Fans of the show know the Holts’ backstory. They were both teachers who retired in their mid-20s to start their home renovation and real estate business. Within a few years, they were millionaires. 

Source: YouTube

Melody has been open about both of them sacrificing their 20s to be successful. She credits Martell with giving her the push to believe in herself enough to start the business with him, and also says that after discussing her dreams of being on television, he was the force behind them landing the show. King agrees.

“Martell, to me, was OK with being somebody that looked at this powerhouse [Melody] and said, ‘I am going to pour all of my broad into making you a star. And if I’m a star because of it, then great,’” King told Dustin Ross during their recap of part 3 of the Season 4 reunion special. “Think about it, he drove her to audition for American Idol. We met because he drove from Huntsville to Atlanta to meet with me [about the show]. And in that meeting, true tea, Martell didn’t say two words to me. Melody did all the talking. And I said, ‘Melody, low key, I’m sold after 20 seconds.’ But we met for two hours. And the entire time, Martell looked at Mel like this [smiling]. He loved that [about her].”

He previously revealed he was shocked by Martell’s infidelity because of how dedicated he was to Melody

King says the connection between Martell and Melody was clear from the start, and he was sold on having the Holts as the central force on a reality show. But weeks before shooting the pilot episode, he learned that not only had Martell been unfaithful, but was continuing with his affair.

Source: YouTube

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“I had no idea when I first met them that they had any marital problems, zero,” King told Ross in a conversation, per The Insider. “When I say to you, Martell was so enamored with Melody, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, she got this man whipped right here.’”

But he says he was hopeful they could make it through the cheating scandal. “At one point in time, he truly tried to make things right,” King insists. “I think what everyone is witnessing is what happens when a man continuously makes a mistake and his wife is just fed up…I hope a lot of husbands and boyfriends watch what he has experienced, and they check themselves and say, ‘Maybe I need to do right by my wife and my situation so that I won’t end up like this.’”

The Holts are now struggling to co-parent

After nearly a seven-year affair, Melody had enough and filed for divorce. Their divorce was finalized in 2020, with them sharing joint legal and physical custody of their two children. Ross and King agree that Melody never wanted to divorce Martell but instead felt forced to do so because of his continued cheating. Now, they struggle as co-parents.

Martell is seeking full custody of their children, citing Melody having too many babysitters due to her busy schedule and not giving him the first right to care for them in her absence. She says Martell simply wants to control her.