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Imlay grad's in on 'Wife Swap'


Tony LaBrie and wife Corrie appear on national television show tonight


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Corrie and Tony LaBrie trade in their rock ’n roll lifestyle and embrace more rural values in tonight’s episode of ‘Wife Swap’ on ABC.

February 06, 2008
IMLAY CITY — Fellow 1992 grads may remember Tony LaBrie as a rock n' roll sort of guy.

Tony, whose parents Dick and Sharon LaBrie still live in Imlay City, found himself drawn to the edgy beat of rock bands and the world of entertainment—still is today at age 34.

"I used to play in bands in the Flint area—practice at my parents' house when I was growing up," Tony recalls. "After I realized I wasn't any good, I decided to stay in music and entertainment and got into radio."

Getting into radio has netted Tony a 13 year career —his current stint is Assistant Program Director and on-air DJ with Banana 101.5 in Flint.

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The rock 'n roll life also snared Tony and his family a national television appearance on 'Wife Swap.'

The ABC reality show airs on Wednesday nights from 8-9 p.m. Each week, the show features two families with divergent lifestyles and values whose wives change places with each other for two weeks.

"...These two families exchange husbands, children and lives (but not bedrooms) to discover just what it's like to live another woman's life," an ABC TV Network press release states.

Tonight's show features Tony, his wife Corrie and older daughters Tuesday, 15, and Hunter, 9—a rock 'n roll family swapping places with the Zarings, who make their home in rural Indiana. The swap took place last October.

"The wife of a competitive truck puller who pays more attention to his vehicles than to her swaps lives with a stylish, high maintenance wife who's waited on hand and foot by her adoring husband on Wife Swap," reads the show's synopsis.

According to Tony, that sums it up pretty well.

"Corrie came away from the experience feeling that she's got a great husband," Tony grins. "The guy she had to live with was terrible. He was mean and nasty. She cried every night she was there."

Tony didn't learn about his wife's tears until later. During the two week experiment, neither families are allowed to contact each other. During the first week, the swapped wife has to adapt to the exchanged family's lifestyle. In week two, the family has to go by the new wife's rules, how she normally lives her life.

"At first I was kind of expecting somebody really extreme," Tony says. "But the woman came in and stayed and she was pretty nice until the kids had to live by her rules."

Same with Corrie. Once she had to juggle housekeeping, errands, two jobs and the lunch delivery program, it wasn't long before she and her new husband were at loggerheads. As for Mrs. Zaring, she decided that Corrie and Tony weren't focused enough on their kids, so she made some major adjustments.

All in all, it was a good experience, Tony says. After reviewing the show—which boiled down two weeks of sunup to sundown filming to 44 minutes—he says he's proud of the outcome.

"I'm glad I got to see the episode because it was a big concern not to be completely embarrassed," he says. "For the most part I'm pretty happy. I'm really proud of our daughter Tuesday—she's a typical 15-year-old girl and they made her do a lot. It was a cool experience and it brought us closer together."

It also brought the LaBrie clan $20,000, which they'll receive after the show airs.

"At first my wife was pretty bitter," Tony says. "She kept saying it wasn't worth the money, it wasn't worth the money. It took her a couple of months to cool down."

Once she did, the LaBries agreed that they're better for the experience.

"We found out at the end of the day that our family is solid," Tony says. "We're good parents and the experience brought me closer to Tuesday, which was a problem we needed to work on and it worked."

The LaBries, who live in Grand Blanc, were chosen out of 3,000 families who expressed an interest in appearing on the show.

"It was such a cool experience," Tony says. It's pretty rare to be on national television and it's strange with cameras around the house all the time.

"But basically it's just about families learning about themselves and at the end something good comes out of it," he concludes.

Along with Tuesday and Hunter, Tony and Corrie are the proud parents of two-and-a-half-year-old baby Aiden.

'Wife Swap' featuring the LaBrie/Zaring episode airs tonight from 8-9 p.m. on ABC.

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