Shannon Tweed takes a break during the filming of a "Republic of Doyle" episode at the Goulds racetrack Monday afternoon. Tweed and her boyfriend Gene Simmons are returning to her hometown this week. Photo by Tara Bradbury/The Telegram
She's blonde, beautiful, and very ... blunt. After performing with KISS for a crowd of 22,000 in the pouring rain in Grand Falls-Windsor last Saturday night, Gene Simmons and his common-law wife, Shannon Tweed, are in St. John's this week.
Tweed, a native of Markland, just beyond Whitbourne, is filming a guest appearance on CBC's "Republic of Doyle," to air when the new season starts in January.
Dressed in black and brandishing a gun, Tweed plays Frances Dormond, a kidnapper with a connection to Rose (played by Linda Boyd).
Chatting with The Telegram between takes, Tweed - who did her own hair and makeup on set, saying, "I'm not good with attention much; I don't like a lot of pampering" - said she got the gig after meeting "Doyle" co-creator, co-producer and co-star Allan Hawco at last year's Genie Awards.
She admitted she's never seen the show, since the United States is one of the few countries where it isn't broadcast, and showed she and Simmons are on the same business-like page when it comes to her reasons for being there.
"They're paying me," she said, then laughed. "What do you want me to say? Love of the art? No. That's why everyone else is here, too. You get an agent, you get parts and you get paid - it's how it works.
"It doesn't really matter," she continued, when asked if she liked her role on the show. "It's either that or flipping burgers, right? You could wait tables, or you could do this. But it's fun, you get to dip your toes back into the world and see what happens."
Tweed left Newfoundland for Saskatchewan with her family when she was 11, and although she still has family and friends here, this is the first time she's been back since 1982.
There were rumours circulating that she and Simmons might film episodes of their A&E reality TV program "Gene Simmons' Family Jewels" while here, but they're not; their kids, Nick, 22, and Sophie, 18, aren't with them.
Nick is home in Los Angeles, Tweed said, while Sophie is on vacation at the family's home in Whistler, B.C.
Tweed is a former model, perhaps best known as Playboy's Playmate of the Year for 1982, and a seasoned actress, having appeared on shows such as "Days of our Lives" and "The Dukes of Hazzard" in the 1980s, as well as more than 60 films.
It's not surprising that she's getting flack from some "Family Jewels" viewers for using her acting skills to fake scenes on the show to increase ratings.
Days before the premiere of the show's latest season, Tweed told interviewers her relationship with Simmons, with whom she's been living common-law since 1985, had "unravelled," and walked off the set of "The Joy Behar Show" after Simmons joked about cheating on her.
"It's over. It's so rude of you to joke about it," she told Simmons, calling him a pig.
"I don't really care what they think," Tweed told The Telegram about viewers who've messaged her on Twitter, accusing her and Simmons of acting out their marital strife as a publicity stunt. "If you don't like it, don't watch. It's hard - it's not an act. I really haven't got the time or patience to defend myself to people. I really can't be bothered.
"You try to keep someone interested for 28 years and see how you'd do, all you f--king complainers. And then try to raise normal kids in Hollywood. I think I've done pretty good."
Tweed said it's not easy going through it all on TV, or reliving it when it airs. The first few episodes of this season of the show, the couple has been seen working with a therapist, together and separately, to address their problems.
Tweed told The Telegram Simmons also agreed to family therapy, although it's not going well.
Simmons is not a talker, Tweed said, and will only discuss what's going on when forced to. Although the show makes it seem like the problems stem from a photo of Simmons with two girls, it's more than that, she said.
"I don't care about pictures, I care about real people," she said. "It's when things become real that it pisses me off. I wish someone had let me know it was an open relationship. If I'd have known, I'd have been doing the same thing, but he didn't let me in on the secret. That's what makes me the angriest."
Tweed said Simmons has stopped cheating since she threatened to leave and has a good sense of why she's upset - but still hasn't admitted he's done anything wrong. Things won't get better until that happens, she said.
"He's still lumping himself into groups, like, 'We men. We're not made that way,'" she said. "Don't say 'we.' I don't want to hear about other men. I don't care what other men do. I'm not interested in going out with a boy. He can't get to, 'I f--ked up and I'm sorry,' and that's when it's going to change."
Simmons, who had been on the "Doyle" set with Tweed earlier in the day, was unavailable for interviews.
He's been reticent when talking about his relationship with Tweed in the media, but has acknowledged things aren't great, blaming his rock 'n' roll lifestyle, the fact that he's surrounded by beautiful women and, "You can be an ugly SOB ... and women will still throw themselves at you."
He's said he wants to work things out with Tweed, although Tweed said she's not holding on much longer.
"I've been trying for a long, long time," she said. "I hope for an epiphany, but good luck."
Tweed was scheduled to wrap up on the "Doyle" set Tuesday, and she and Simmons are headed for her hometown Thursday before leaving the province Friday.
She's open for another appearance in future "Doyle" episodes, she said, and looks forward to visiting again.
"I do miss it (here), the same as anyone would if they were born somewhere and never went back."