Reality TV stars get paid to carry on like giant kids who’ve eaten too much cake at a birthday party. As a reward, they amass a large fan base that worships them on their Instagram feed and wads of cash. Some even get book deals or contracts to promote a brand. Others go on to marry the rich and famous (à la Kim Kardashian and Nicole Richie). Yet, there’s a dark side to signing your pride away for a part in a reality TV show. When your life is the drama and not the character you’re playing from a script, it’s easy to get sucked into it all. And, many stars of these shows are not shy about sharing how reality TV has changed their lives… for the worst. After all, not every reality star ends up winning $500,000 like the contestants of the Amazing Race.
The dark side of reality shows isn’t just the trashy content that their lives revolve around. There are manipulative producers at play and editors who tailor the content to frame the drama a certain way. Some people have stated that they were told to act like a villain or to change their accents. On other shows where the drama gets too high, some contestants have suffered nervous breakdowns that sent them to the psych ward. One contestant on ‘Biggest Loser’ said being on the show was worse than Hurricane Katrina, which she had lived through. Ouch! Sometimes the price of 15 minutes of fame isn’t enough for all the drama you have to endure on a reality TV show. Read on if you want to see which reality TV stars have trashed the shows that made them rich and famous.
15 David Norton: Married At First Sight "Fans Are Cruel"
Let’s face it, reality TV is all about drama and before signing contracts; stars know that their lives will be manipulated to create entertaining, cringe-worthy drama. Most of the time all that drama won’t make you the good guy. David Norton from the reality series, ‘Married at First Sight’ has had his fair share of drama. First, he married a woman who refused to kiss him for their first month of marriage, because she ‘wasn’t attracted to him’. Two weeks after that she asked for a divorce and he had to defend himself from his wife and fans of the show when he asked a lady-friend out for drinks. He’s also had to endure people laughing at just about everything about him “People make fun of my beard, my weight, the way I talk. It’s really difficult to learn how to deal with that,” David has said.
14 Seth Caro: Top Chef: Desserts "The Show Put Me In A Mental Institution"
Sometimes the stress of winning a show can be so severe that you can suffer a panic attack so extreme on set and then have the producers put you in a mental institution. That’s what happened to Seth Caro. “I was put on a 5150 [involuntary psych hold] for three days.” Caro spoke about his experience as a contestant on ‘Top Chef’. In his words, the show ruined his life and he was treated more like cattle than a human being with not one person from the show coming to check in on him. He suffered such severe anxiety being on the show that he decided to change his name to prevent ‘future employers, friends, and significant others’ from Googling him. He said that being on the show was more like a ‘sick experiment’ and that many contestants suffered from ‘Stockholm Syndrome’.
13 Rachel Reilly: Big Brother "You Have No Life"
Rachel Reilly had been on several reality TV shows before she even hit 30. Her tough persona and the constant stream of fights with fellow houseguests saw her win ‘Big Brother 13’ and place 3rd in ‘The Amazing Race’. She even met her husband on ‘Big Brother’ and the two wed in 2012. Yet, despite the show introducing her to her husband, giving her reality TV fame, and a ½ million dollars to put into her bank account, Riley still had questionable things to say about the show that was her original claim to fame. “There’s no privacy. We have no communication with the outside world. So, the show becomes your life.” So, at least ‘Big Brother’ is legit that the houseguests are shut off from the outside world. However, it’s no wonder that the guests seem to go a little crazy sometimes.
12 Vicki Gunvalson: Real Housewives Of Orange County "Words Hurt"
On the other side of the US is Vicki Gunvalson, from The Real Housewives of Orange County. While she might ‘play’ the villain on the show, Vicki is adamant that she is anything but in ‘real life’. The reality star has stated that she is actually very sensitive and her feelings get hurt a lot. She has gone on to say that it’s the downside of being on a reality show as she constantly has to deal with online trolls criticizing her and even writing death threats on her social media feeds. Vicki has also gone on to say that it makes her friends a little more vicious to her when the entire world is watching. Her close friend on the show, Tamara, has called her publicly called her a ‘bully’, ‘attention whore’ and a ‘liar’ after Vicki shared with the world that she had cancer. Ouch!
11 Jillian Harris: The Bachelorette "You Will Always Be Tied To The Show"
Jillian Harris was the Bachelorette in 2009. She met her prince charming; Ed and the couple were engaged for a year. Next things fans knew, Ed was on Season 3 of the show ‘Bachelor Pad’, basically as ‘that drunk guy’. Many questioned what happened to their happy marriage? Turns out that the couple never made it to the altar. In fact, Jillian is now happily married with two children to someone else. However, after her blog and social media blew up with questions about her ex, she found that she had to explain their relationship. It turns out that Jillian is a sweetheart and defended him. Yet, the fact that she had to revisit an ex-relationship doesn’t mean that she doesn’t wish that she didn’t have to. “I miss meeting people who haven’t heard of me or don’t know who I am.”
10 Lezlye Donahue: The Biggest Loser "It Was Worse Than Hurricane Katrina"
Lezlye Donahue became a contestant on ‘The Biggest Loser’ with the hopes of learning a few healthy lifestyle changes to lose weight. Instead, she got an experience that was in her terms ‘worse than surviving Hurricane Katrina’. “It’s my biggest nightmare and it’s with me to this day,” She said of the experience. Apparently, the extreme dieting tactics used to get contestants to whittle down to single digit sizes saw some of them being rushed to the hospital. Some contestants on the show have made claims that one of the trainers; Bob Harper supplied contestants with Adderall and ephedra extract to lose weight. Then, just to be able to win, contestants also took amphetamines, diuretics, and even made themselves throw up daily.
9 Jen Yemola: Hell's Kitchen "You’re Emotionally Abused"
According to Jen Yemola, ‘Hell's Kitchen’ is completely rigged with the challenges, recipes, and even the chef’s mistakes being manipulated by production. “Production would come in and mess with ingredients, swap out your salt and sugar- so people would look like complete f--king a-holes.” The experience left Yemola under severe physical and emotional stress. She even admitted that she contemplated suicide at one point, after having lost faith in herself. She admitted that she was broken from the experience. She also stated that the unfair treatment from the executives as the reason behind her mortification of doing another reality TV show.
8 Scheana Marie Shay: Vanderpump Rules "Ruined Her Wedding Day"
Scheana’s wedding was documented on the reality TV show ‘Vanderpump Rules’ and more often than not, the cameras showed off her worst side. She was often portrayed as a super bridezilla, which Scheana has even spoken about. On her video blog, she has even said that ‘I don’t like that I looked so completely rude and ungrateful, but it was my wedding.’ She also wasn’t fond of the fact that her wedding will always be connected with her ‘friend’ Kristen punching someone twice. Of course, that’s what reality TV is all about: drama. Whether it’s a brunch or your wedding, the cameras are there to capture it. So, you and the millions of viewers tuning in will always remember your bedazzled wedding dress and all of your worst moments yelling at your staff.
7 Terra Jole: Little Women LA "Your Friends Are Embarrassed By You"
As we’ve said before, reality TV is mostly about capturing people’s worst side and their lives as they go through the worst experiences. ‘Little Women LA’ is no exception to the rule. Terra Jole has had to endure seeing a lot of her struggles and negative experiences captured on the hit reality series. So, she wrote a book about it to let fans know her point of view. Yet, throughout it all, she has said that having her life documented has shown her who her real friends are. “You realize who your real friends are when you hop on an endeavor like this. Real friends stay by your side and fake friends show their true colors through the chaos.” Basically, when the world watches your life fall apart and sees you in a screaming match, only your real friends will want to be seen with you out in public again.
6 Chelsea Houska: Teen Mom 2 "MTV Is Fake"
Reality TV might be somewhat real, but it’s the producers who get the final say when it comes down to how viewers will see a scene. They determine how a scene will be edited and make adjustments to make the drama appear just how they want it. When the producers of ‘Teen Mom 2’ left out a few scenes of arguments with her mom that made her look bad, she called them out. ‘Obviously, I was crabby at the scene with my mom, but they left out the convo before this! ‘The teen mom stated on Twitter. Aside from calling MTV fake, she has also gone on to say how disturbed she has been at how many production people there are staring at her while she talks about intimate moments of her life. It kind of leaves a sour taste in your mouth realizing that even young moms are violated and manipulated all for the sake of ratings.
5 Farrah Abraham: Teen Mom "Producers Will Violate You"
"Even though #Viacom fired me today they couldn’t help but to exploit myself and my daughter for their promotional gain," Farrah wrote in a message. The reality TV star was on the 1st season of ‘Teen Mom’ that featured her daughter’s birth. However, she was fired for what Abraham considered to be ‘women hating’. After it came to light that she was in an adult movie, she was no longer allowed on the show. In typical dramatic reality TV fashion, Farrah shot back calling the executives ‘hurtful and disgusting’. She said she was proud of her career choices and thought that they were in line with a television series that glorifies couples relationships and drama. In her words, the show would be losing it’s "biggest talent… a professional, hard-working, honest mother."
4 Jillian Harris: The Bachelor 13 "Gave Me Anxiety"
Jillian Harris seems to have had one of the harder times being on the show. Just to be able to get onto the show, she has admitted that “I had to re-mortgage my house and I spent something like $8,000 on clothing (which is still a lot).” And, that money was spent all before she even met the guy! To add to the humiliation of going into debt for designer clothes, a producer told Jillian that her Canadian accent was unacceptable and asked her to take speech therapy classes to alter it. Then, while being on the show, she described the experience as ‘Stockholm syndrome’ saying that “I had no idea I would be so easily manipulated.” As a contestant, Jillian suffered losing her hair, an eating disorder that saw her drop to 92 pounds, and anxiety.
3 Joelle Gwynn: The Biggest Loser Couples "It Destroyed My Body"
Aside from the abuse that your body is put under on The Biggest Loser the show also packs contestants into conditions that give them no privacy. Showers are communal and according to Gwynn who was on the show’s second season, there were no working toilets, so contestants who were overweight had to squeeze into port-a-potties. Also, their daily intake consisted of exactly 7 sticks of asparagus and 3 ounces of turkey. After the show contestants somehow had to maintain that diet to continue to lose weight. If you don’t keep the weight off, you’re threatened with the show’s producers suing you. Needless to say, Gwynn gained the weight back, lost her job, suffered severe depression, and countless medical bills from the trauma her body went through on the show.
2 NeNe Leakes: Real Housewives Of Atlanta "Reality TV Stars Are Trash!"
Nene Leakes, another real housewife, but from Atlanta, is never shy about stating her opinion. Her opinion of reality shows is that it basically makes you trash. “If someone wants legitimate fame they should steer clear of unscripted shows. Being on the red carpet there’s a big difference. It’s a different kind of vibe. Being with real actors and actresses on the red carpet is so different from reality.” That’s not the kind of talk you would expect to hear from a woman pictured on the red carpet in diamonds, hair extensions, and $300 eyelash extensions. However, all of the glitz and fame makes her feel insecure because she isn’t a legitimate actress. She’s a reality-TV-star and even with her money, fans, and fame, Nene has admitted that it gives her fits of anxiety on the red carpet, because she feels inadequate and is taunted by online trolls.
1 Teresa Giudice: Real Housewives Of New Jersey “Ruined My Life!”
She’s the table-flipping housewife from The Real Housewives of New Jersey, giving viewers nail-biting moments of circus-like drama. However, all of that drama has taken a toll on her personal life. In an interview with ‘Radar Online’, the reality queen stated that it destroyed her relationship with her husband and even put a dent in her relationship with her brother Joey Gorga. “Reality TV ruined our family and it’s a disgrace.” However, Guidice’s biggest disgrace probably isn’t the loss of trust with her family. In 2014, she pleaded guilty to a court to multiple bankruptcy fraud counts while the whole world watched and listened. In typical fashion, her family drama provided another field day for the press and her and her husband Joe both felt humiliated "before the court and my family and society.”
Reference: NJ, Eonline, BravoTV, Enews, RadarOnline, People, FoxNews, ThePost