For the most part, reality TV has been known to rake in a ton of money, especially if you don’t come from a well known family or financially rich history. Reality TV stars have shown that as long as you have an entertaining personality, you can easily become a somebody, even overnight. But there is a side to reality TV that you don’t usually see or hear about: the times where these people have lost it all over stupid mistakes or even situations that weren’t even caused by their own actions. There are a ton of individuals even on reality TV now that are dealing with a financial sting, and you would have no idea just by looking at them perform their "unscripted" lines on national TV.
These 15 reality TV stars all have different backgrounds, from rich families, to tax fraud, even divorce and theft; these people come from every walk of life. Some are still on your TV set in the afternoon, while some have been put behind bars because of their unwise use of money. But we guarantee that if you saw them out on the street, you’d have no clue they’re struggling buying groceries and paying bills, because of their designer suits, cars, and flawless makeup and hair.
Hopefully this article will encourage people to be a bit more careful with their money, because just by being rich, doesn’t mean you’re excused from the law, or even just common sense. Which reality TV star surprised you the most when reading through this list?
15 Janice Dickinson
Janice Dickinson has been around for decades, first by gaining fame in the 70s, she was known as being one of the first major supermodels in the world. But her career quickly plummeted and she turned to reality TV to keep herself afloat. She was a judge on America’s Next Top Model, The Surreal Life, and Celebrity Rehab With Dr Drew. She also guest judged on many series as well throughout this time in her career. But in late 2013 she actually filed for bankruptcy, according the the LA Times. It turns out that she actually owed many states a ton of money, from New York to California she owed more than half a million dollars in unpaid taxes. Even if she had someone handling her money, it’s no excuse that she let that much money get away from her. This is a classic case of celebrities not having the final say on what really matters.
14 Heidi Montag
Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt were stars of the hit reality TV series, The Hills. They were one of the most adored couples. They brought tons of “drama” to the show, they were memorable, and many would probably argue that they are what brought so many people to love the show. Many people might be happy to know that they are actually still married and have been since 2009, but a lot of die-hard fans will not be happy to hear that their fame just isn’t like it used to be. While they didn’t commit tax fraud or anything like that, they just fell out of fame. They never really said in any interview whether or not this was because they wanted to have private lives again or not, or because people stopped caring, but that’s what it honestly looks like from an outsider perspective. Even though they were one of the most memorable couples on reality TV, just because they’re not walking on red carpets now doesn’t mean they won’t make a comeback.
13 Teresa Giudice
From The Real Housewives of New Jersey, the legal issues that surrounded Teresa Giudice were actually insane. The fact that the show pretty much documented everything up until she was sentenced is quite shocking and sure brought in a whole bunch of viewers. All of her issues between her and her husband that had to deal with tax fraud were out in the open for all to see. The two were charged with many counts of fraud, including mail fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, and faux loan applications. This led to Teresa Giudice being sentenced for 15 months back in 2015 at the start of the year. She is actually still on the show The Real Housewives of New Jersey, but because of all the criminal issues, many people have refused to work with them in any way because of their history. Plus her husband will be deported once he is released from jail.
12 Mike Sorrentino
Once again, a reality TV star that’s lost their fortune and fame because of taxes. Mike Sorrentino, the reality TV star from Jersey Shore, had a huge falling out with the IRS. He was caught actually laundering money for his brother back in 2014. He was the main star of Jersey Shore, and since his career plummeted because of the show ending, he tried his hardest to get back into the Hollywood lifestyle, but he had no luck. Many people heard about the tax issue and disowned him, so to speak, from the industry. Plus, many people thought he was too much of a character to be taken seriously in any other kind of show. For a short run, he actually had a reality TV show about his family, but it was boring, and really just was the evidence we needed to be able to accurately say that he was a bit desperate to make it back on TV.
11 Danielle Staub
If you’re a real reality TV fan, you know that Danielle Staub was a member on The Real Housewives of New Jersey for only a short while. She was a character, she was unique and actually did bring quite a bit to the show. But she was only on the series for two short seasons. Many people didn’t really take a warm liking to her, some were sick of her attitude and felt like she thought she was better than everyone else on the show, which was probably true. Because she played her personality to a T, it probably wasn’t even fake! Back in 2012, she filed for bankruptcy protection, and even though she still stars on many episodes of the series because she remains in close touch with the women on the show, it seems like she won’t be making her way to reality TV any time soon.
10 Pamela Anderson
Here we have another reality TV type personality, the famous Pamela Anderson. You might have thought she was one of the richest women in the world because of how she always dressed and her home, but those material things were actually her demise in many ways. This star was always up and down in Hollywood, but the final straw was when she renovated her house for one million dollars. She refused to pay taxes and ignored them for the longest time because all of her money went into her home. This made Pamela Anderson have to declare bankruptcy back in 2012 to get by. Many people hate her because of how dumb she seems, but with how many individuals on this list who have had problems with money and taxes, it shouldn’t be a shock that more and more people will fall into this awful category. At least you can still see her on all the red carpets trying to get her moment.
9 Lindsay Lohan
This list wouldn’t be complete without Lindsay Lohan. She’s had so many issues throughout her career in Hollywood, it would be too long to list all of them. This former teen icon and child star has been through some rough times during her TV career. Apparently it was released that back in 2012, Lindsay Lohan’s bank account was frozen due to her taxes being owed to the IRS. She even took a loan from her close friend, Charlie Sheen, which was over 100 thousand dollars, but it really didn’t seem to help that much because she still owned double that amount. But something is better than nothing right? We’re not so sure Lindsay Lohan would agree. During her Hollywood career, there have been many times where she’s tried to hide the fact that she’s falling out of fame. She’s done everything you can think of, from bad publicity, faking mental breakdowns, and even creating gossip about herself so she can get more headlines.
8 Farrah Abraham
Farrah Abraham has been known for her intense struggle on the hit reality TV series Teen Mom. She was on the show for many years and she was a fan favorite for many reasons. But when 2014 rolled around she pulled a publicity stunt that was not only shocking but also showed just how far she’s gone. It was later released that she did this stunt because she needed more attention focused on her music and other endeavors/attempts to make a better income. In 2014 she released a private tape, and she said that it was preplanned. She’s said in many interviews and reports that she did this purposefully for the money and also to jump start her career in the adult industry. While we believe anyone can do whatever the hell they want as long as they aren’t dumb, it really seems like she was reaching.
7 The Duggars
The Duggars had a handful of scandals that literally ruined their career. They were the stars of a TLC reality TV show called, 19 Kids and Counting, this show was popular just because of how shocking this whole situation was. Having 19 kids? Insane! But that's not what shocked the whole nation. The secret that ruined their careers was all because of the eldest Duggar child who was apparently a violator of 5 young girls, and his sisters. This apparently happened when he was 14 years old, but when the news broke to the public, there was no way he would ever be forgiven. But the scandal doesn’t stop there; a few months later, the husband was exposed to be a member of the Ashley Madison hack, which proves he was cheating on his wife. Can you believe they are still married?
6 Lena Headey
Most of you might know Lena Headey from Game of Thrones and you might be asking why she’s on this list, because she’s neither a reality TV star or broke, but you’d be wrong, sort of! She’s actually been having a very rough time affording bills and common purchases because of her public messy divorce and custody feud. This has made her have to sell her home in Hollywood and downsize many areas of her life. She’s also been offered many positions on various reality TV shows according to some of her interviews, and she almost actually took them because she needed the money and she needed it quickly. She even exposed herself by letting everyone know in a recent interview that she only had five dollars in her bank account at one point. Many people haven’t believed her, but we think she’s telling the truth.
5 Eric Williams
Eric Williams, first and foremost a former NBA player, who was very well known for his talent, but he wasn’t just an athlete. He also appeared many times on the hit reality TV show Basketball Wives. It was quickly exposed after he didn’t show up to a child support meeting and claimed he never received the notice, because he had no home. He came out talking about his homelessness and how he plans to turn his life around. During this time he was also ordered to pay over 24k in unpaid child support to the mother of his children. He’s said in many interviews that he has no money for visitations, to get where his children are, or even to pay a lawyer for court. Currently he has been reported to volunteer at an organization as he tries to turn his life around for the better. We wish him luck!
4 Porsha Williams
From being accused of making up a robbery of her most expensive things, to denying to multiple sources that she’s broke when proof has been circulating around, Porsha Williams has seen it all. She is a star of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. According to many people who know her, they’ve stated that she basically owes money everywhere to everyone in Atlanta. Even people that work with her have said that she garnishes her checks to make it seem like she makes more money than she has. While we don’t exactly understand why it’s such a bad thing to not have a ton of money, or as much as she would like, we’re also not quite sure why she goes out of her way to lie and garnish her lifestyle. She constantly goes out of her way to purchase expensive things to cover up the fact that she’s about to go broke. Maybe this next year she can finally accept where she is in her life and move forward without all of these lies.
3 Richard Hatch
Prepare yourself, because this one is a complete mess, trust us. Richard Hatch was the winner of Survivor back many years ago. You might be wondering how someone who won 1 million dollars could possibly end up on this list? Well, there is quite a bit to explain when it comes to Richard Hatch, because he messed up not once, but twice when it came to his taxes. He was guilty of two different counts of tax evasion. Because of his failure to report taxes, he was sentenced to three years in prison back in 2006. But upon his release, he was ordered to re-do his taxes, and do you think he did? Nope! He failed to file his taxes again and ended up in jail for almost a whole year in 2011. He was so out of luck when it came to money that he even sold his "seed" on the market, meaning he could be the father of many children, something I completely don’t want to ever think about again.
2 Brittish Williams
Brittish Williams is a self-made woman in the reality star industry. She owns her own clothing label and she is constantly trying to innovate new industries that involve hair and shoes. But that’s not all she’s known for. She’s been on Basketball Wives and because of her recent drama with her relationship, she’s been losing money over time and slowly falling out of fame. She was dating the NBA player for over two years until it came out that he was lonely and looking for other women. He wanted attention from other people, so since it seems like the marriage is off until they can settle their differences, Brittish Williams has been very conscious of her financial situation because of this issue. While we don’t think she was using Lorenzo Gordon whatsoever, it’s a fact that her bank account has suffered because of this inevitable split.
1 Kenya Moore
Kenya Moore is probably one of the most extra personalities on The Real Housewives series! But even if you love her personality, this won’t put a stop to the lies after she neglected to pay a company she recently used. This might seem minor, but this led to a whole handful of other situations with Kenya Moore refusing to pay certain things, making her almost look like she was ashamed of her financial problems. There have been issues such as not paying a bill of over 300 dollars, to almost not even being cast in the next season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. She’s actually currently waiting to see if she will be casted by Bravo again for the next season of the show. She’s made remarks that make it safe to assume that if she doesn’t stay on the show, it will really ruin her life in many ways, simply because of the paycheck. It’s been rumored that Bravo has been looking for more cast members to be added to the show and Kenya Moore might be one of the women to be replaced. But she is really good at hiding all that stress!