Reality shows seem to be the gateway to fame these days, especially if the public seems to like you. Looks like the way to enter into the world of celebrity in today’s world is to sign up for a reality show, make sure you’re interesting to watch, then show the world that you’ve actually got other talents besides being dramatic and crying in the confessional booth. Hey, it’s worked for some people. For example, Snooki and JWoww are now trusted advisers when it comes to relationships and parenting, and occasionally appear on comedian and author Steve Harvey’s talk show. The Braxton family’s reality show has brought more attention to all of the Braxton sisters (not just Toni) and served as a launching pad for Tamar, the youngest of the siblings, to revamp her music career.
While there can be long-term benefits to being a reality star long after the show is over, there are also people who sign up for these shows because they are trying to run from their past. Some figure that if they can gain the approval of the public, no one will find out just how dark and terrible they really are. However, this is also the age of extensively researching celebrities, and it’s usually only a matter of time before the dirt is exposed. Here are 12 reality television stars who have very trouble pasts.
12 Brad Womack
Brad Womack is best known as one of the former cast members of the hit ABC reality show, The Bachelor. He admitted that he’s had a shady past, but tries to make it seem less severe by stating that everyone has made mistakes. Womack said he had “a couple of missteps” during his teenage years, “some 20 odd years ago.” He also says that some of the accusations against him have been exaggerated, but he has taken full responsibility for his actions and “took immediate measures to remedy the situation.” He says that life is about learning experiences, which you grow from and move on. Looks like his publicist did a pretty good job. Brad Womack has a past of fraud, forgery and public intoxication, allegedly stemming from his “daddy issues.” It’s safe to assume that Emily Maynard broke up with him because she didn’t want to deal with the drama.
11 Morgan Wilson
Morgan Wilson was a finalist on Top Chef: Just Desserts. However, he’s more than just a chef, unfortunately. Wilson has been charged with felony child pornography. He also shared the disgusting films via Limewire. The films included video and audio footage of children, some toddler-age, participating in sexual acts. This is beyond unsettling. Aside from Wilson being able to achieve the type of fame that some mentally sound people dream of, he has a young son himself. Morgan Wilson made matters even worse when he was photographed wearing a Snuggie in his mugshot. This is likely an indication that he’s really not sorry for what he’s done. Godiva once offered chocolates created by Wilson, but we’re guessing they’re regretting that decision now.
10 Ryan Jenkins
The late Ryan Jenkins appeared on the VH1 reality show Megan Wants a Millionaire. Apparently the show’s production team didn’t do a very thorough background check on him, because two years before his audition, Jenkins was arrested on assault charge. Once the show was over, he became a suspect in the murder of his wife, a woman he’d met shortly after Megan Wants a Millionaire ended. After he became a murder suspect, he went on the run, and was found dead in Vancouver. Obviously, Jenkins should have been part of the cast of America’s Most Wanted instead of appearing on a dating show.
9 Danielle Staub
The ladies of the Real Housewives franchise certainly have interesting pasts in their own rights. Danielle Staub joined the cast of The Real Housewives of New Jersey in 2009, and became one of the popular ladies on the show. That is, until a book “surfaced” stating that Staub was a prostitute when she was younger. If you’re a fan of the reality show, you may remember Teresa Giudice calling Danielle a “prostitution wh**e.” In 2011, Danielle Staub signed a contract with Scores Gentlemen’s Club, agreeing to be a fully nude stripper and appear on the company’s online content. A few days after she made the deal, she stated that she was getting psychological treatment and help with her addictions. Looks like she didn’t officially work for the company, but she was definitely close to it.
8 Rozlyn Papa
Rozlyn Papa will probably always be known for the having “an affair” with one of the staff members of The Bachelor. Reports have stated that Papa is a known narcissist, so she may have thought that this “breaking” story would bring more attention on her, and provide the platform she wanted to become a celebrity. She got the attention, but it wasn’t exactly positive. This tryst of hers motivated people to find out more about her, and it was uncovered that Rozlyn was found guilty of petty theft charges in 1999. So, not only does she not have a very honorable “social” reputation, but she’s also got a record. Wife material, indeed.
7 Monica Leon
Remember that girl with the tiger face tattoo who was a cast member on the VH1 reality show, For the Love of Ray J? Her name is Monica Leon, and it’s not hard to tell that she may have some “issues.” Leon admitted that she used to be a prostitute, and even bragged about the fact that she made “ten grand for it.” She was also brought back to the show for a season two guest appearance, where it was revealed that she was pregnant. Of course, everyone assumed the baby was Ray J’s, but he has always denied this, even though Leon insists that he is the father. There have also been reports that she was once engaged to Nick Cannon’s brother. Not only does she have a past, but she’s obviously willing to do a lot just to stay (somewhat) relevant.
Memphis native Trenyce, wowed the judges of American Idol with her voice, but she also had a secret that she didn’t want to get out. Trenyce, whose full name is Lashundra Trenyce Cobbins, was arrested in 1999 for felony theft. Maybe the staff at American Idol didn’t mind that this secret was leaked to the media, since it boosted the ratings of the show. Everyone was interested to see if Trenyce had changed her ways, and wondered whether she’d try to steal something from the American Idol set. Oh yeah, and they also tuned in to watch her sing, since that’s actually what the show is about.
5 Justin Sebik
Justin Sebik was a cast member of the show Big Brother, which often gets criticized for casting some of the most terrible people on the planet. Then again, that is kind of the premise of the show. When Sebik was seen holding a knife to the throat of a female contestant, the Big Brother staff finally decided that enough with enough, and Justin was kicked off the show. Producers for Big Brother claimed that their security agency, which they deemed “high professional”, somehow missed the fact that Sebik had been arrested eight times for robbery and assault. Maybe they thought he would be interesting for the show and chose to overlook his past. Way to look out for the personal safety of the other cast members.
4 Scott Savol
Scott Savol is another American Idol finalist who had a great voice, along with a criminal record. In 2001, Savol was arrested for domestic violence. However, the producers of American Idol claimed that they allowed Scott to remain on the show because he’d been forthcoming about the arrest. Again, this may have been a tactic to make Savol’s season on the show especially interesting, which would in turn boost American Idol’s ratings. Never mind the fact that domestic violence is a very serious issue, and there were no guarantees that Savol wouldn’t have attacked one or more of the female contestants or staff members.
3 Emmanuel DelCour
Emmanuel DelCour was a contestant on the Bravo show, Chef Academy. After gaining popularity on the show, it was revealed that he was an adult star. DelCour doesn’t seem to be too disappointed that the news got out. However, he may be under contract with the “movie” company he’s working for, and might not be at liberty to discuss his work. He has described himself as a “graphic artist,” which is true in a way. Of course, it was a little difficult for viewers to focus on Emmanuel’s cooking skills after it was revealed that he was “skilled” in more rooms than just the kitchen. Maybe that’s just the "recipe" Chef Academy was looking for to make the show more popular.
2 Frenchie Davis
Frenchie Davis is the full-figured, short-haired powerhouse who wowed viewers with her commanding voice on American Idol. While other contestants on the show like Scott Savol and Trenyce, were allowed to stay on the show despite their criminal pasts, Davis was dismissed because nude pics of her surfaced online. So, stealing and domestic violence are OK according to American Idol logic, but nudity isn’t? Some argue that if Davis had a “model-type” body, the scandal wouldn’t have been such a big deal. Others argue that there may have been a bigger reason why Frenchie was let go, which may be true, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if her naked pictures were the only reason she was asked to leave the show. Davis continues to tour as a singer and is still popular with her fans, so it looks like things turned out OK for her after all.
1 Kim Zolciak-Biermann
Kim Zolciak-Biermann rose to fame as a cast member for The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and was widely known for her affair with a married man who went by the name “Big Papa.” She has since left her scandalous ways behind and married football player Kroy Biermann. There were also reports that, back in the day, Kim was a stripper at The Cheetah Club in Atlanta. She allegedly had the stage name Barbi, and according to “an insider,” she didn’t hold the job for long. Kim’s former rep stated that Zolciak-Biermann did work at Cheetah, but only as a cocktail waitress. Cheetah Club, however, declined to comment. Interesting. Zolciak-Biermann can currently be seen on Dancing With the Stars, but has to sit out until the finale performance after suffering a mini stroke.