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Former Odessan starring in Bravo reality series

Blair Late and his husband are featured couple on "Newlyweds: The First Year."

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Posted: Monday, May 13, 2013 10:10 am

Blair Late is probably the busiest newlywed around.

When he’s not running to Pilates, cooking dinner for his husband or working on his clothing line, the former Odessan is promoting the new Bravo reality show “Newlyweds: The First Year,” which premiered May 6.

“Everyone is extremely supportive and excited,” Late said. “We filmed for an entire year so everyone, including my friends and family, had a year to watch the process unfold, accept and prepare for the situation. Everyone is just anxious to see it on TV.”

The show chronicles the first year of marriage of four couples, including Late and his husband, Jeff Pedersen, 46, from December, 2011 through February, 2013.

The entertainment business is nothing new for Late, who was in the popular boy band “B3," touring the world with multiple hit singles and albums. He is also a successful entertainment and television host for various networks in Los Angeles and Australia.

But it all started in Odessa.

“I was raised in a very conservative church-going, Bush-voting family,” Late, 31, said. “I certainly stuck out, but I barely can even remember, maybe just a couple of times, I ever felt bullied or threatened. For the most part everyone in Odessa accepted me from a very young age with open arms and the community of mentors I had in Odessa I will be forever grateful for. I literally had the best training anyone could ever ask for.”

Tammie Locklar, owner of Tammie Locklar’s Dance Studio, was Late’s dance teacher in Odessa for about 10 years, through high school graduation, and the two are still friends.

“He has an absolutely adorable personality,” Locklar said. “He’s so much fun to be around and has a wonderful personality and charm. He’s an all-around great, talented kid. He’s the same fun-loving entertainer he’s always been.”

Late still visits Texas every year to see his mom and stepfather, who now live in Midland, and his father, prominent businessman Steve Late, who now lives in Austin.

His mother, Melissa O’Kelley, held a party for the premiere with about 15 girlfriends in Midland Monday.

O’Kelley said she had reservations about the show at first because she didn’t want to see her son judged, but the show’s producers alleviated her fears.

“As a parent obviously you don’t want your child to be exploited,” O’Kelley said. “On the other hand, Blair has always been very outspoken and proud of who he is and where he came from.”

While it wasn’t O’Kelley’s first choice to be on camera, she said she felt it was her duty as a parent to support Blair and hopefully encourage other parents to be supportive of their children.

“I’m happy for them,” she said. “It’s my role as a supportive, loving parent. I know a lot of parents aren’t supportive of their children. I thought maybe I could show we were a normal family and I love my children unconditionally. Whatever they pursue I’m going to be supportive, loving and hopefully raise them to be responsible adults.”

Late graduated from Permian High School in 2000, where he was named “most likely to succeed.” He was even part of a team to win the school’s first district one act play competition, he said.

“Coming from a school known for football, it was fairly an honor to finally win something for theater,” he said.

Late went on to study drama at the University of California, Los Angeles and took a short musical break to focus on his hosting and reporting career the last five years.

Unbeknownst to Late, a friend volunteered him and Pedersen for the reality show.

“When I fell in love with Jeff, a producer friend of ours thought we were really hysterical together and heard Bravo was looking to follow four couples,” he said. “We had just gotten engaged so he secretly sent our information to the network and we got a phone call out of the blue one day.”

While many people would cringe at the idea of having their first year of marriage documented for the world to see, Late didn’t hesitate.

“We learned that we would be the only gay couple,” he said. “We jumped at the opportunity to be able to be a reality docu-series gay couple as opposed to a sitcom, fictionalized gay couple that a lot of America has grown to love. This was a huge opportunity for the world of reality television. We knew we had a responsibility, especially as a gay couple, to show the world that we’re just like everyone else so we didn’t really think twice or ever look back.”

A huge fan of the network, Late was especially thrilled to be on Bravo.

“I have followed and loved pretty much all the major Bravo stand-out series for years,” he said. “Bravo has been groundbreaking at portraying a myriad of gay characters. I think that’s been exceptional for the gay community and then of course who doesn’t love to watch ‘The Real Housewives?’ Growing up in Odessa and Midland, being a part of our community and loving all my mother’s friends dearly, watching sometimes reminds me of home.”

Late’s favorite "Real Housewives" franchise?

“New York City,” he said. “I used to live in New York and I really connected with those women. My favorite currently would be Atlanta. It’s just nice to see people successful and I only hope that Jeff and I have even just a smidgen of that success.”

And Late isn’t the only Bravo fan in the family — his mother also cites it as a favorite.

As if his career and promoting the show don’t keep Late busy enough, he is also working on a line, which should launch by the holidays and is available now online.

He also hasn’t strayed from his musical talents, recording a love song for his husband for the wedding and turning it into a radio single.

“Love Calling (You Are There For Me)” will be available Tuesday.

“I’m very excited to see what happens with it because Bravo has been known to have previous talent on their shows who launched successful songs,” he said.

While no one knows what the future holds, one thing is certain — Late will never forget where he came from.

“I’m very appreciative and always will be of the people that I learned from in West Texas and at the Permian Playhouse, the Globe Theatre, Permian High School and First Baptist Church,” he said. “They were all fantastic.”

“Newlyweds: The First Year” airs at 9 p.m. CST Mondays on Bravo.

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