Why Roseanne Barr And Tom Arnold's Split Got So Messy

Roseanne Barr rose to prominence in the late '80s as her self-titled sitcom "Roseanne" became a juggernaut into the early '90s. During the show's most successful run, the television star had a well-publicized tumultuous relationship with Tom Arnold. The future married couple originally met during a comedy show when Arnold opened for Barr in 1983. There was an instant connection between the two, and they would go on party and food binges together whenever they met up. "We'd party for a weekend ... and then we'd be just like best buddies," Barr told Vanity Fair during a controversial cover story in 1990.

Although the duo had an undeniable attraction to each other they kept their relationship platonic for years. Barr was married to her first husband, Bill Pentland, and Arnold was often dating other women. "We never hugged for six years," Arnold told Vanity Fair. In 1989 after attending a Grateful Dead concert, the pair expressed romantic feelings for one another. Not long after, Barr filed for divorce from her first husband, and the whirlwind romance with Arnold was in full swing as they wasted no time getting married. This was only the beginning of their drama. 

Tom Arnold took over control of Roseanne Barr's career

In January 1990, Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold were married although the "Roseanne" star had wanted to delay the ceremony due to personal turmoil. "I was kind of psycho," she told Vanity Fair. "I thought we should maybe wait a little longer to get married." As a precursor to the mayhem that would follow, at the reception Arnold said (via Entertainment Weekly): "We're America's worst nightmare: white trash with money!"

Shortly after their marriage, Arnold went from an occasional guest star on Barr's hit TV show to an executive producer, per EW. At the time, Barr had misgivings about her management team. Arnold convinced her to trust her gut and fire her management reps, and hire him as their replacement.

By 1993, the ornery couple became disenchanted with show business and looked to start a life away from the hectic lifestyle of being in a city. They bought property in rural Iowa with the intention of building a 25,000-square-foot mansion on the premises, per K92.3. Barr and Arnold even opened a loose-meat diner (which was based on the diner featured on her show) in a nearby town. Both the diner and their marriage would not last much longer.

Tom and Roseanne's epic on-set fight

Rumors began to circulate in 1994 that Tom Arnold was cheating on Roseanne Barr with his assistant, Kim Silva, per the Los Angeles Times. At one point, the couple announced to the media that they were both marrying the assistant. One tabloid offered Silva $250,000 to give details about the alleged tryst, via The Washington Post. The rumored affair proved to be a breaking point for the marriage.

In April 1994, Barr and Arnold had a massive blow up on the set of "Roseanne" which led to the TV star firing her husband from the show, per the Chicago Tribune. She had security bar him from the studio, and cut up his credit cards. Soon after, Barr filed for both a divorce and a restraining order against Arnold. "I now realize that I have been a classic battered and abused wife," she wrote on the petition for a restraining order. "Throughout our marriage the respondent hit me, struck me, has thrown objects at me, pinched me and verbally abused me." Barr had also moved to deny paying any alimony to Arnold.

The couple's working relationship made the breakup especially messy as they worked as producers together for the shows "Tom" on ABC and "Cherry St. South of Main" on ABC. Only a few days after the on-set melee, Barr would change her mind about the divorce. 

The movie about Tom and Roseanne's marriage

Three days after filing for divorce, Roseanne Barr recanted her abuse allegations against Tom Arnold and withdrew the divorce, per the Los Angeles Times. That was only a short reprieve for their marriage, however, as Barr re-filed for divorce weeks later. In the aftermath of the divorce, and perhaps to appease their network star, NBC rushed out a biopic about the mercurial relationship called "Roseanne and Tom: Behind the Scenes," per Variety.

Amidst the divorce, Arnold appeared in the blockbuster film "True Lies" starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and directed by James Cameron. On the set, Arnold had complained to the director about his ex-wife's behavior during their split. "The ice cube trays are out of the freezer. What kind of a sick b***h takes the ice cube trays out of the freezer?" Arnold said. According to The Washington Times, Cameron wound up adding the anecdote to the movie and had the comedian's character use that line.

Years later, while filming an episode of the reality show "I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here," Arnold spoke about his chaotic marriage to Barr. "We had a lot in common but it got crazy," Arnold said (via News.com.au). "She had issues she has been very open about, she's got multiple personality disorder. It is a fact that she had 27 different personalities." Their marriage may not have stood the test of time, but their drama certainly did.