Like any good reality show that has a drama-filled reveal, “Couples Therapy” kept teasing Dick Donato’s “big secret” throughout the entire hour of Wednesday’s (Oct. 1) episode. In a normal week for any show, this is annoying.

However, news broke earlier today that Donato’s secret is not some trumped-up reality show BS — it’s that he’s HIV positive. He found out during his routine medical examination during “Big Brother 13” and that’s why he abruptly left the show just days after the houseguests had moved into the house, before even the live feeds turned on.

So with that knowledge, it’s considerably more sobering to watch this hour of “Couples Therapy” play out. Near the top of the hour, the watchword is communication and Donato says in a talking-head interview, “After my meeting with Dr. Jenn, I was literally s***ting myself because I’ve been carrying an enormous secret. I don’t know if I should tell anyone. This is a big decision that will affect the rest of my life, so this was the most uncomfortable situation for me since I’ve been here.”

His better half on the show, girlfriend Stephanie, had some concerns. It wasn’t that she was reticent to tell the therapist or the fellow contestants on the show, but she was nervous about telling them in front of the cameras, meaning that in a few months’ time, everyone in the world would know about his HIV diagnosis and she’s not sure if they’re ready for this.

But Donato is insistent that he tell, so he comes clean to Dr. Jenn about why he left “BB13,” which is that his blood test came back positive for HIV. In the interview, Donato also reveals that he and Stephanie haven’t had sex since his diagnosis.

It’s interesting that Donato is acting like he and Stephanie were together back in 2011 when he left the show, which we know is not true. His girlfriend/fiancee back then was Amy Benallo. It lends some credence to the rumor that’s been going around online that Stephanie isn’t his girlfriend at all, but is in fact a friend of a friend who came on the show with him because they needed the money and the show wanted a “Big Brother” couple. Hmm. That would also explain why they haven’t had sex since his diagnosis — since they might not actually be a couple.

Either way, it’s still sad that Evel Dick has HIV, though as he said in his interview with People, HIV isn’t the death sentence it once was and he’ll probably die of something completely different at an old age.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."