The Tragic History Behind The Blended Bunch's Erica And Spencer's Late Spouses

TLC is debuting a new series called The Blended Bunch, which follows the lives of the Shemwell family. The series will feature Erica and Spencer and their eleven children: Landon, Emma, Lily, Sophie, Tanner, Amelia, Caleb, Brayden, Harper, Avery, and Bexley (via People). The Utah couple are both widows, with Erica having lost her first husband to cancer and Spencer's first wife having died in a car crash. To help them cope with their loss, they both joined a widower support group and that's where they met. 


In the trailer for the series, the pair open up about how their first spouse's deaths impacted them. Erica says, "My husband, Tony, passed away from brain cancer three years ago — I feel like my heart was ripped out of my chest."  While Spencer recalls the moment he had to tell his children their mother had died. "I said, 'Mommy passed away.' I thought there was no way that I could ever love anyone like Aimee." 

Erica and Spencer honor their first spouses but also each other

Since they both lost partners in devastating ways, Spencer and Erica bonded in a way that's pretty unique. This has made blending their family of 11 kids a project they're willing to tackle, but challenging at times. Luckily, they seem to have a strong foundation — and a sense of humor. In a teaser for the show Erica explains, "I think we're like the modern-day Brady Bunch" and Spencer adds, "Except we have no Alice. We need an Alice" (via In Touch Weekly).


Of course, that doesn't mean that it's all really easy. At one point in the trailer, Erica openly muses that perhaps her husband wishes his first wife was still with him, and not her. While speaking to a friend, she says, "Sometimes I really just wonder if there are moments when Spencer wishes that Aimee was here instead of me." The show premieres on TLC Tuesday, March 16 at 9 p.m. (EST).