The Shady Side Of These TLC Stars

TLC is notorious for pushing the boundaries of reality television far beyond what many consider "reality." Luckily for viewers, there's no shortage of eccentric stories told on this network. Stars of TLC's past have opened up their lives to us, however controversial and unconventional they may be. While their drama makes for great television, the spectacle also exposes them to the less-than-forgiving court of public opinion.

Life doesn't stop just because the cameras are rolling, and the spotlight isn't kind when these stars weather scandals on and off the screen. TLC is like a revolving door, firing off cast members for bad behavior and replacing them with those waiting in the wings for their 15 minutes of fame. 

While there are always new faces and lifestyles to document, there are some personalities we just can't forget. These folks can be utterly shameless, and we're examining the shady side of these TLC stars. Be prepared, because it's cringeworthy, to say the least.

Mama June Shannon

Try as you might, it's pretty hard to forget Honey Boo Boo. The former pageant child star, whose real name is Alana Thompson, brought us glitz, glam, and every bit of redneck on TLC's "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo." But what was crazier than her quest for the crown, was her family's antics in rural Georgia — complete with mud pits and barbecue roadkill.

Her mother June Shannon, better known as "Mama June," was featured in the series alongside Honey Boo Boo's father Mike Thompson, or "Sugar Bear," and her two half-sisters. But what viewers saw as a boisterous, happy family for four seasons, turned out to be a different story behind the scenes. Mama June told Page Six, "It's time the world sees him for what he is," she continued, "[My daughter's] eye buckle was caused by him ... because he got mad. So many emotional and physical scars with the kids." After nearly 11 years together, the couple split over Sugar Bear's extramarital affairs.

Mama June moved on in her dating life afterward, but not upwards. TMZ released photos of the Georgia native in bed with Mark McDaniel, a convicted child molester, in 2014. Sheriff reports obtained by Us Weekly noted that he molested June's daughter, Anna, while her other daughter was present in the room. Despite Mama June denying any involvement with McDaniel, E! News reported that TLC cut all ties with the Georgia family shortly after the news broke.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Kate Gosselin and Jon Gosselin

Kate Gosselin and Jon Gosselin made their big break when they appeared on TLC's hit show "Jon and Kate Plus 8" in 2007. The show documented the ins and outs of life with their eight children (a set of sextuplets and twin girls). But just as parenting their kids proved to be difficult, so was their strained marriage. The couple's decision to separate (and later divorce) was announced on the show in the midst of Season 5, and finalized in 2009.

Fast forward to 2020, and Jon made headlines again when he was accused of physically abusing his son Collin. The teenager uploaded a since-deleted Instagram post accusing his dad of kicking and punching him. The father of eight went on "The Dr. Oz Show" to clear the air, denying the claims and providing a record from Pennsylvania Children and Youth Services that debunked the child abuse. "[Collin] was blackmailing me to change my parental decision, and I was like 'Go ahead and post it.' ... I'm not going to let him threaten me into him getting his way," Gosselin said.

Kate was quick to chime in, telling People at the time, "I am horrified that this man is the father of my children." She also said, "Do not return my child to an abuser's home." Jon fired back and claimed to ET, "Kate didn't show up for his custody battle when they awarded me sole legal and physical custody. So now I find it interesting that she's so concerned about a child she doesn't even talk to."

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Josh Duggar

If you haven't heard of the Duggar family and their 19 children, you're probably not a TLC junkie. But don't worry, we'll catch you up. Parents Jim Bob and Michelle were featured on TLC's "19 Kids and Counting," which highlighted their devout Christian lifestyle and their aversion to birth control — hence the 19 kids.

The firstborn, and ironically the most problematic, was Joshua "Josh" Duggar. Josh made headlines in 2015 when InTouch Weekly released police reports that he had sexually assaulted several minors — including some of his own sisters. Jill and Jessa Duggar identified themselves as victims of their brother when they appeared on "The Kelly File" after the scandal broke. Josh responded in a Facebook post at the time, "...I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret."

He must not have regretted his choices that much, however. In 2022, Josh Duggar was sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison for possession of child sexual abuse material. Amy Duggar, the only child of Jim Bob Duggar's sister, spoke out against Josh and told Celebuzz, "Twelve and a half years isn't enough." She also wrote an open letter on Instagram to Josh's wife pleading for her to divorce him. Derick and Jill (Duggar) Dillard reacted to the sentence in a statement on the family's blog: "...God has carried out his vengeance today for his unspeakable criminal activity. ... We continue to love Josh and his family and will be there for them however we can."

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Derick Dillard

The Duggar drama continued yet again in 2017, but this time it was an in-law throwing the shade. Jill Duggar Dillard and her husband Derick starred in TLC's spinoff show "Counting On," which chronicled the lives of the older Duggar children and their offspring. Derick caused quite the controversy when he tweeted transphobic remarks about TLC's Jazz Jennings.

Jennings stars in the show "I Am Jazz" and shares her life as a transgender teen, including the challenges that come along with it. "I pity Jazz, 4 those who take advantage of him in order 2 promote their agenda, including the parents who allow these kinds of decisions 2 be made by a child," Derick tweeted at the time, misusing her gender pronoun. "'Transgender' is a myth," he added in a response to a tweet by TLC (via People.) The "I Am Jazz" star took the comments in stride, tweeting, "Every day I experience cyber-bullying, but I keep sharing my story. Today was no different."

Twitter users didn't take too kindly to Derick's opinions. One wrote, "If you are upset with TLC calling HER a HER than maybe you shouldn't be apart [sic] of the reality TV network that pays your bills." TLC responded to the incident by tweeting, "We want to let our viewers know that Derick Dillard has not participated in Counting On for months and the network has no plans to feature him in the future. We want to reiterate that Derick's personal statements do not reflect the views of the network."

If you or a loved one has experienced a hate crime, contact the VictimConnect Hotline by phone at 1-855-4-VICTIM or by chat for more information or assistance in locating services to help. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

Theresa Caputo

She's been criticized for her teased-up platinum locks, long nails, and most importantly, her supposed ability to speak with the dead. Theresa Caputo first appeared on TLC in 2011 with her reality show "Long Island Medium." Though the last season aired in 2019, Caputo stays busy touring the country for live shows, writing best-selling novels, and recording her podcast "Hey Spirit!"

The New Jersey Native's claimed spiritual abilities faced their fair share of criticism from skeptics over the years. According to Radar, Howard Stern decided not to host Caputo after she wanted 45 minutes alone with the crowd before filming started. "She's never coming in here...It's never going to happen. The Long Island psychic is not a psychic," said Stern.

Anderson Cooper hosted the "Long Island Medium" star on his show in 2012 but was less than enthused with her performance. During the segment, Caputo starts by incorrectly guessing the illness of an audience member's deceased mother before moving on to another member in the crowd. When one woman shakes her head, Caputo defends herself by saying, "I don't care if you believe in what I do." Cooper had comments of his own after the show, saying in a backstage interview, "If you say to a room of 300 people... 'Somebody here has ashes of a loved one,' there's a good chance somebody has a piece of jewelry that has some ashes in it. I am skeptical. I think people so want to believe in things... I just sort of want to see actual proof."

Stacy London

If you thought nothing was amiss in the world of 360 mirrors, makeovers, and co-hosts that finish each other's sentences — think again. TLC's beloved co-stars Stacy London and Clinton Kelly served serious looks on "What Not to Wear" for a decade, but their real-life friendship was the one in need of a makeover.

The drama started when Kelly released his memoir "I Hate Everyone, Except You," in which he wrote about filming the hit show. "I either adored her or despised her, and never anything in between," the fashion guru wrote, adding, "...there's a part of me that will love Stacy London forever, and a part of me that would be just fine if I never saw her again for the rest of my life."

London didn't take too kindly to his words and supposedly blocked her frenemy on Twitter. Kelly broke down the drama on "The Chew," explaining, "The tea is there ain't no tea. I literally don't know whether she blocked me yesterday, or a year ago or a month ago...or by accident." Two months after the incident, London posted on Instagram seemingly addressing the situation: " occurred to me that taking action like blocking people in order to feel some sense of control over other's actions is a waste of my time," London said. She added, "The problem is the more I hold on to my anger, the more I hurt, not them." At the time of this writing, the two haven't built a "London Bridge" to get over this.

Big Ed

Edward Brown, better known as "Big Ed" on TLC's "90 Day Fiance," was quite the polarizing character on the hit show. While some found his outspoken personality funny, others found him to be quite off-putting, especially when it came to how he treated his then-fiancee, Rose Vega. Some of his shadiest moments included buying Vega a toothbrush and mouthwash (and telling her, "your breath is not pretty"), asking her to take an STD test, and waiting until after they met in person to tell her he didn't want more kids.

Though Big Ed and Vega never tied the knot, his controversies didn't end there. The "90 Day Fiance" star found himself in trouble again when a TikTok user posted videos alleging the reality star sexually harassed her when she interned at his workplace. The woman claimed that Big Ed even asked her if she wanted to hire female sex workers to have a threesome with him after learning about his coworker's sexuality.

Big Ed found love again on TLC's "90 Day: Single Life" with his now-fiancee Liz Woods, but he faced harsh criticism from TLC fans when audio of a phone call allegedly between the two was released. Ed supposedly attacked Woods for offering a co-worker a ride home. Despite their problematic relationship, the two seem to be going strong — or at least faking it, frequently sharing romantic snaps on Instagram together.

The Sister Wives

"Sister Wives" on TLC is a show about a group of people who live a polygamist lifestyle consisting of numerous "wives" for a single man. Meri Brown was Kody Brown's first wife, before he "spiritually" married three more and divorced Meri to legally wed Robyn and adopt this wife's three children (per People). Yeah, we know, it's a lot to unpack.

Meri and Kody divorced in 2014, and Meri struck up an online relationship with "Sam," whom she thought was a man, shortly after the ordeal. InTouch reported that the "catfish" was actually a woman named Jackie Overton, who released voicemails of Meri professing her love for "Sam" and trashing her ex-husband. "You don't think that I think that you're taller, better looking. Better looking, anyway. Kinder, sweeter, you care about me. You want me. ... So yeah, if I were to compare you, you win all the time," Meri confessed. Overton even went so far as to write a book about the affair titled "Almost Meri'ed," which at the time of this writing, is still available.

Kody and Meri's "spiritual marriage" fizzled out as quickly just as their legal one did. In Season 15, the fallout was evident between the two when they revealed they no longer lived together and hardly communicated. Kody mentioned on the show that the affair had "turned out to be extremely exploitative and abusive. And from that experience, Meri and I sort of saw our marriage just dissolve" (via People).

Jason Korpi

Jason Korpi was anything but a fan favorite on the TLC show "Unexpected," which documents the lives of teens and their unplanned pregnancies. Korpi was featured alongside his girlfriend Kylen Smith, and he sparked outrage from viewers over his behavior while on the series. In this video clip from the show, Korpi encourages his girlfriend to have a medication-free birth, and for their son's grandparents to be excluded from being in the room during the birth. He even goes so far as to say, "You get more p**sy when you get it done," in reference to their decision to circumcise their son.

It's clear why his controlling demands led to a petition calling for Korpi's removal from the show. The petition garnered over 14,000 signatures alongside a description that read "Why is TLC okay with showing this abusive relationship? ... I know I could just stop watching the show but that's not going to make the problem go away he still going to be on TLC'S payroll."

Fatherhood didn't shape Korpi up as much as viewers would hope, but is anyone really surprised? A Reddit thread showed supposed evidence that the "Unexpected" star was previously arrested on a warrant related to a "disturbance." Despite the couple's challenges, they seem to still be together at the time of this writing, posting Instagram snaps together after their season wrapped. Smith has even posted her Cashapp username on her Instagram, so fans can donate to their questionable lifestyle.

Usman and Lisa

There's no shortage of loud and outspoken "90 Day Fiance" cast members, and Lisa Hamme was no exception. The 54-year-old was a cast member on Season 4 of "90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days," where she traveled to Nigeria to marry Usman "Sojaboy" Umar, a 33-year-old Nigerian rapper she met online. Their relationship took many twists and turns, including fights over Umar's female fans and a rocky relationship with his family.

Though the unlikely pair did eventually tie the knot, it wasn't till death did them part. The TLC stars parted ways in 2020, divorcing just four months after their Nigerian wedding. Their problems followed them. Hamme reportedly came under fire when her ex-spouse exposed her for calling him the N-word in a leaked footage from a tell-all episode. The reality star was supposed to appear in the spinoff series "B90 Strikes Back" but sources alleged that she would be removed from the cast after the scandal (via Showbiz CheatSheet).

Lisa Hamme found love again after reconnecting with a childhood friend, who appears to be in her age bracket (via InTouch.) The two married in 2021, while she was still legally married to Umar in Nigeria. She said "I Do" to her husband Tracey since her old union was not valid in the U.S. Umar also moved on and found love with an older woman and Sojaboy fan named Kim Menzies. According to ScreenRant, the two found each other on "90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days" and it's rumored that they could be engaged.