A federal judge barred Blagojevich, who faces federal corruption charges, from being on the NBC show "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here" because it would send him out of the country. But his wife, Patti, accepted an offer from the network to appear instead and went to Los Angeles earlier this week to film a promotional shoot, said Glenn Selig, the Blagojevichs' publicist.
The couple appeared on NBC's "Today" show Thursday to announce the move. Patti Blagojevich said she hopes her appearance on the reality series will help show that she isn't the profanity-spewing person portrayed on federal wiretaps.
"I don't think those characterizations were fair at all," she said.
According to the complaint filed by prosecutors, she was taped on an expletive-laced phone conversation suggesting the Tribune Co. "just fire" newspaper editors who didn't favor her husband.
"I think that people who know me know the truth behind those comments," she said Thursday.
In public, Patti Blagojevich has been generally been reserved, often shielding the couple's two children and avoiding television cameras herself. Now she'll be the one thrust into the spotlight.
Rod Blagojevich said that although he won't be a contestant, he will be involved with the show in some way. In the meantime, he'll stay home to take care of the children.
The former governor "jokes that in a way she will have it easier competing in the jungle," Selig said in a statement. "He knows how hard it is to take care of the kids and to run a home."
Rod Blagojevich is charged with scheming to sell or trade President Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat and using the muscle of the governor's office to squeeze companies with state business for campaign contributions. He has pleaded not guilty.