Reality TV stars who destroyed their careers for scandalous reasons

Some people make a brief appearance on a reality TV show and slowly fade back into their normal lives. But for others, living their lives in front of cameras can be a shortcut to superstardom. In the blink of an eye, they become the talk of the town, and the financial possibilities and lucrative endorsement opportunities are endless. But the stars on our list ruined their newfound fame in the most unimaginable ways, from committing financial crimes, spreading vicious rumors, and threatening to harm their co-stars.

A few of them were able to bounce back and proceed with their careers after the attention surrounding their scandals settled. But, we watched others — like MTV's Teen Mom OG star Farrah Abraham, for example — slide into a downward spiral once their source of income got snatched away from them.

Here are some of the reality TV stars who destroyed their careers for scandalous reasons.

Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino is facing hard time

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino made his ascent into B-list celebrity status after appearing on the MTV reality series Jersey Shore. His personality (and rock hard abs) proved to be bankable, and the cash started pouring in. With his reality TV earnings, he was even able to splurge on a $200K custom Ferrari. But his life did a 180 when he was nabbed by the IRS for failing to pay taxes on nearly $9 million in earnings, according to TMZ.

In January 2018, he entered a guilty plea on "one count of tax evasion," while his brother, Marc, pleaded guilty to one count of "aiding in the preparation of a fraudulent tax return," according to Forbes.

He began his 8-month prison sentence at Otisville Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, N.Y. in January 2019, People reports. Before leaving, he had a final farewell shindig: his Nov. 2018 wedding to longtime girlfriend, Lauren Pesce, followed by a honeymoon in the Santa Catalina mountains, E! News shared.

It's bittersweet the newlyweds will spend their first few months as husband and wife away from each other. Luckily, once Sorrentino's sentence is over, he can reunite with her and his Jersey Shore Family Vacation cast mates, since MTV gave the reality show reboot the green-light for Season 3

Prison first, but GTL forever!

Did Farrah Abraham's adult career come between her reality gig?

In a video clip from Teen Mom OG, the head of 11 Street Productions, Morgan J. Freeman, tells Farrah Abraham: "If you choose to work in the adult industry, we can't continue to film you." Abraham, who's never one to back down, immediately claps back with, "Who are you to tell someone to choose one thing? F*****g shoot me for being who I am." Who is he? Well, he was your employer, Farrah. 

Abraham refused to agree to the stipulations, and with MTV's cameras no longer documenting the mother of one, her life flipped upside down. According to TMZ, she "signed two 5-year leases in 2016 for her F&S by Farrah and Sophia Laurent Boutique," which were located at a mall in Lakeway, Texas. After shutting their doors, Abraham allegedly stopped paying rent on both storefronts and was sued for owing "at least $101,212.50" in past due rent.

RadarOnline stated Abraham was also sued by her lawyer in Nov. 2018 for an outstanding bill, and an additional $12,000 lawsuit was filed by a promoter after she backed out of a boxing match. After being hit with multiple lawsuits, Abraham reportedly had to move in with her father and his fiancée. If you find this hard to believe, just note that she sold both of her homes, one in the Hollywood Hills, and the other in Texas. So, it's not hard to believe she's shacking up with the 'rents.

Phaedra Parks took a rumor way too far

It all started on season 9 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (via Daily Mail) when cast member Porsha Williams was gossiping behind cast mate Kandi Burruss' back, insinuating that Burruss was an undercover lesbian. Once news got back to Burruss, she revealed that Williams must have a thing for the ladies, too, because the two of them shared a kiss after a boozy night at an after-hours club. Burruss also dropped another bombshell that Williams had offered to perform a sex act on her that same night. This caused Williams to go on the defensive and unleash a fury of accusations, including a rumor that Burruss had a kinky "sex dungeon" in her home.

Later, during a cast trip to Hawaii, Williams brought up a rumor she heard about Burruss and her husband, Todd Tucker, planning to drug her and their mutual friend, Shamea Morton, to have sex with them, according to People. During the reunion episode, cast mate Phaedra Parks confirmed she was the one who "repeated" the rumor after receiving the information from an unnamed source. 

Bravo TV executive producer Andy Cohen revealed to E! News that after the season wrapped, none of the cast mates agreed to film with Parks for season 10, putting an end to her time on the show.

Brandi Glanville's bickering cost her

People confirmed that Brandi Glanville had been given the ax after season 5 of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills after a series of tumultuous verbal altercations with her cast mates Kyle Richards, Lisa Vanderpump, Eileen Davidson, and Lisa Rinna. "Brandi got too big for her britches," the source said. "She was a diva, and it came around to bite her … By the end, she couldn't get along with anyone, and no one wanted to shoot with her." Another source told Us Weekly that the show's executive producer, Andy Cohen, was also a bit peeved with her. The source stated: "He thinks her actions aren't a good look for the show."

Glanville had also become frustrated with her cast mates who she claimed were constantly criticizing her actions and acting all sorts of hypocritical. During one episode (via People), she said with angst to cast mate and ally Yolanda Hadid: "I'm sick of the lectures, I'm sick of the bull***t that everyone can say whatever they want and take punches at me and say I drink too much and say do a cleanse."

Perhaps she should've put in more effort to play nice because without the show, she suffered from some pretty intense hardships. While speaking to TMZ after her firing, she said her financial situation had been strained since she left the program. 

Being sweet and cordial is probably a better move in terms of job security, but without Glanville, the show is definitely missing the dramatic, combative villainess.

Teresa Giudice gave up fame for a prison stint

Teresa Giudice seemed to have it all when she made her debut on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. She had oodles of cash at her disposal and a mega-mansion that she shared with her four daughters, Gia, Gabriella, Milania, and Audriana, and her husband, Joe. She was living a charmed life…up until the IRS caught wind of her and her husband's shady dealings, which included bankruptcy fraud, mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud — to name a few.

She and her husband pleaded guilty to the charges, and she was looking at up to 27 months in prison. Her husband, on the other hand, was facing 46 months and possible deportation back to his native Italy after he admitted to failing to pay nearly $1 million in taxes.

She was ultimately sentenced to 15 months behind bars, and she began her stint on Jan. 5, 2015. She was also ordered to pay $400,000 in restitution and $13 million for her bankruptcy. The latter would've been easy if some of her endorsers, such as Fabulicious Gelato bars, hadn't severed ties with her.

After season 6 wrapped in November 2014, sources revealed to TMZ that the program would go on hiatus until her release date, which happened in December 2015. She then resumed filming for season 7, which debuted in July 2016. 

Her prison days are behind her, but her dodgy financial mistakes may leave a stain on her reality TV career forever.

Josh Duggar did the unthinkable

The TLC show 19 Kids and Counting followed parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their ever-growing brood that consisted of 19 kids and host of grandchildren. Viewers were fascinated, thanks in part to the family's devout and strict Baptist views, their conservative lifestyle, and their aversion to birth control, obviously.

But there was trouble brewing in the family two years before their TLC show premiered. In Touch released a shocking police report in 2016 that claimed the couple's son, Josh, had confessed to sexually molesting and fondling then-minor females in 2002 and 2003. As a consequence, Jim Bob and Michelle sent him to a "Christian program" for four months, which consisted of hard physical work and counseling.

After a felony investigation was opened in 2006, Jim Bob reportedly refused to allow investigators to interview Josh. The family said Josh had apologized and the family had forgiven him. But when TLC found out about their sordid secret, they quickly canceled the show.

In response, the family posted a message on their website. A portion of the statement read: "With God's grace and help Josh, our daughters and our entire family overcame a terrible situation, found healing and a way forward…We appreciate the love, support, prayers and kindness extended to us by many of you."

Richard Hatch survived two prison terms

In 2000, Richard Hatch outsmarted his competition to become the first winner of the American version of Survivor. After surviving in an isolated location and winning a series of immunity challenges, Hatch took home the grand prize of $1 million dollars. It's just too bad he deposited the funds into his bank account and neglected to pay taxes on his earnings, something he admitted to Forbes

Hatch stated he asked for an extension to file the IRS paperwork through his accountant, and although he claimed to be in communication with the federal government, two years later, they slapped him with an indictment for willful evasion. Instead of taking a plea deal, which he was advised to do, he decided to go to trial where he was eventually found guilty on all ten criminal counts.

He was looking at 47 years in prison, but we're sure he breathed a sigh of relief when he was sentenced to three. Upon his 2009 release, he headed back to reality TV to appear in various shows, including Celebrity Apprentice. But Uncle Sam came knocking once again after Hatch failed to refile his 2000 and 2001 taxes and neglected to pay an outstanding tax bill of $2 million.

He was sentenced to an additional nine month jail term in March 2011 and was given 26 months of supervised release, and he missed out on watching the finale of Celebrity Apprentice in the comforts of his own home.

Ryan De Nino became a nightmarish groom

The series Married at First Sight, which has aired on FYI, A&E, and Lifetime, isn't for the faint of heart. Cast members meet a complete stranger at the altar and engage in an experimental whirlwind wedding within seconds after saying hello. So what could possibly go wrong?! (Insert sarcasm).

During season 2, Ryan De Nino got paired up with his lovely bride, Jessica Castro. At first sight, they looked like the perfect couple, but soon enough, the cracks in their quickie marriage began to show.

In an audio recording a source played for InTouch, De Nino can allegedly be heard threatening to kill Castro and her family. "I should smack the s**t out of you. I will break you into f*****g pieces. I will make your whole family disappear," he allegedly said. His behavior prompted Castro to request a restraining order, which was revealed on De Nino's Instagram post (via Us Weekly), and he was was facing charges of harassment, menacing, and stalking. 

Castro had also reportedly caught De Nino cheating on Valentine's Day — just two months after their wedding — and she brought up the allegation during the taping of the reunion episode. De Nino was so upset about Castro's allegation, he allegedly said into his live microphone: "She's f*****g dead. When I get back to Brooklyn, she's f*****g dead, this girl." (via NY Post). The threats were so vicious, the show was forced to hire security personnel to protect her. 

Heidi Montag became too famous

When you think of MTV's The Hills, you probably instantly think of Heidi Montag and her boyfriend-turned-husband, Spencer Pratt. On the series, Spencer was the bad boy, and Heidi was the one who so desperately wanted their relationship to work out. Despite her BFF Lauren Conrad calling Spencer a "sucky person," Montag stood by his side, causing major discord in their friendship. 

Unlike a few of the other celebs on our list, Montag's descent from fame had to do with her own desire to be famous. It sounds quite ironic, but even the reality star's husband revealed: "What we learned is: You can be too famous."

For Speidi's fans, it was hard to grasp what was real and what was scripted drama, especially after the couple revealed they had staged many of their breakups. A few of their scandalous antics included Montag pretending to file for divorce and Spencer threatening to release their sex tapes, which we assume never existed.

According to The Daily Beast, the plastic surgery-obsessed Montag and Pratt blew through all of their money after their MTV days were over and the paid nightclub appearances dried up. They even had to resort to shacking up in Pratt's parents' beach house. Her failing superstardom — which was once her bread and butter — left her broke, created rifts with her family members, and made other reality shows hesitate to book her for gigs.

Derick Dillard stuck his foot in his mouth

Derick Dillard, who starred alongside his wife Jill Duggar on TLC's Counting On, took to his Twitter to discuss Jazz Jennings, the transgender star of TLC's I Am Jazz, in an insensitive and hurtful tweet. It read: "What an oxymoron… a 'reality' show which follows a non-reality. 'Transgender' is a myth. Gender is not fluid; it's ordained by God."

Jennings' fans clapped back in her defense, which prompted Dillard to dig his hole a little bit deeper. In response to someone asking: "Is it necessary for a grown man to throw shade at a teenage girl?" Dillard responded: "I want to be clear. I have nothing against him," in reference to the transgender star, "I only have issue with the words and definitions being propagated here."

Online users were disgusted that he purposely used the wrong pronoun to refer to Jennings, but before the verbal fisticuffs could escalate, TLC released a statement via Twitter which said: "Derick's personal statements do not reflect the views of the network." They also told viewers he would no longer be featured on the series.

He took the firing in stride in a tweet that thanked his fans for their "words of encouragement." But less than a month later, he wanted to make one thing clear. He tweeted: "For the record, I was never fired. I just felt it best for my family to cut ties months ago, as we are heading in a different direction." 

David Eason's tweets had real world ramifications

Once Teen Mom 2 star Jenelle Evans started dating and eventually married David Eason, he became a focal point of her storyline. But Eason's time on the MTV reality series didn't last long. Eason got into an e-battle with several Twitter users, where he revealed his controversial opinions on topics like gun control and the LGBT+ community, according to People. In a series of since-deleted tweets captured by online users and posted via People, Eason wrote, in part, "Lmao why don't you go tell the h**o and transgender parents to start teaching their kids better morals? Oh I forgot that's supposed to be normal."

When Eason followed-up by saying he was going to teach his kids "not to associate with [gay or transgenders] or be that way," that was all MTV needed to see. Despite Evans issuing a public apology (via TMZ) on Eason's behalf, claiming he "didn't understand how offensive people would get or how Twitter even works," MTV released a statement of their own that spelled the end of Eason's MTV career for good: "David Eason's personal comments do not reflect the views of MTV," the network tweeted. "With six weeks left of production on Teen Mom 2, effective immediately, we are ending our relationship with him." 

Sayonara.

Vicious allegations ended Thomas Ravenel's Bravo career

Fans of Bravo's Southern Charm were floored when Thomas Ravenel's Sept. 2018 arrest for "assault and battery in the second degree" was reported by People. The alleged victim was also featured on the series, known as "Nanny Dawn." Police began investigating the charges in May 2018, after Dawn claimed Ravenel "corralled" her into his bedroom, "dropped his pants, blocked the door," and allegedly "ripped [her] clothes off," according to a separate People report. Following Ravenel's arrest, Bravo confirmed that he had been axed from the show. An insider added in a follow-up article by People that his Southern Charm co-stars were "relieved not to have to deal with Thomas on the show anymore."

A second woman, Ashley Perkins, claimed in a blog post (via Us Weekly), that Ravenel also sexually assaulted her mother, Debbie Holloway Perkins, in 2015 after they matched on Tinder. Ashley claimed the alleged incident happened in Ravenel's nanny's bedroom. The former reality star denied both allegations in a statement through his lawyer, though he allegedly paid Debbie a $200,000 settlement in June 2016, according to Us Weekly.

Things got worse from there. While entangled in a bitter custody battle with his ex-girlfriend and fellow Southern Charm cast member, Kathryn Dennis, Ravenel also sued the show's producers and Bravo in November 2018 to prevent them from "airing unaired footage," according to The Blast.

What. A. Mess.