The Peloton Husband may be a fictional character, but the guy who played him in that viral commercial is real, and what’s more, he has a real-life girlfriend. Would you like to know what he got this girlfriend for Christmas? Do you want to guess?
Okay, I’ll tell you. He got her a Peloton. A Peloton! What else is there?
“Here’s hoping this goes over better the second time,” model-slash-teacher Sean Hunter, a.k.a. that guy who gave his TV wife a dang exercise bike as a present, captioned an Instagram photo featuring his “actual girlfriend.” In it, she is perched atop the controversial workout instrument and smiling. “Pls don’t leave me,” Hunter added in a parenthetical plea.
Hunter, of course, found himself semi-adjacent to social-media controversy in early December, thanks to his maybe-five-second appearance in Peloton’s “The Gift That Gives Back” ad. The commercial sparked widespread backlash, mostly because its narrative — framed by its female star’s communicative eyebrows — seems to show a woman conscripted into a punishing fitness regimen by her husband. In the immediate aftermath, Hunter worried, in a series of interviews, that his association with this fictional asshole would torpedo his acting prospects and lead people to equate his face “with sexism, with the patriarchy, with abuse.” But at the same time, Hunter changed his Instagram handle to @pelotonhusband, an identity that he seems to have embraced in a bear hug.
When The Ad debuted, Hunter’s Instagram feed pivoted from professional headshots to a steady stream of #PelotonHusband content. And now, as you can see, he’s out there pulling a Peloton Husband for real. What happened? Did someone seize Hunter by the shoulders and remind him that when destiny knocks, it may look a little different than you expected, but you still have to open the door and let it in?? Is this the least surprising heel turn of 2019???
According to Peloton, Hunter is not a brand ambassador for the company — a fact Hunter confirmed to the Cut. “But [I] have to admit, I want to be after buying the bike!” he added, sounding like a brand ambassador. “My girlfriend and I have already had a few spins and it’s an unreal product.” As for his changing feelings about the role, Hunter explained: “I definitely had a few reservations towards being the ‘Peloton Husband’ at first, as I’ve never had this kind of publicity before, but I was realizing through these interviews that I‘m really enjoying the conversations. Talking about the advertisement, my story, the power of social media, and reading the reviews has all been fascinating to me.”
This post has been updated with a statement from the Peloton Husband.