The untold truth of Breaking Amish

Breaking Amish makes some big promises. "In a world where 'plain' is considered a compliment, TLC will pull back the curtains to reveal the strict traditions of the Amish/Mennonite religion and lifestyle as cameras follow five people who have chosen to leave it behind and explore the world outside of their community," TLC states in their description of the series. Sound like a voiceover for a movie trailer, doesn't it? Makes sense, given that movies are also fake. 

While TLC wants audiences to believe that Breaking Amish documents people as they "trade horse and buggy with taxi cabs," saying goodbye to their communities in favor of traveling to New York City, the reality is entirely different. It turns out the cast and storylines are not as genuine as they appear. From secret marriages and manipulative producers to sexy photoshoots and drug arrests, let's dive into the untold truth of Breaking Amish.

The Amish community disputes the show's stories

An ex-Amish blogger, known as X Amish Atheist, was responsible for first drawing attention to the show's manipulation of the truth after watching the first season of Breaking Amish and allegedly recognizing cast member Jeremiah Raber. He alleged to have met Raber years before the series aired, and he claimed that Raber had been divorced before and that he drove a nice SUV. According to the blogger, Raber had left the Amish community when he was 18 years old, though he was in his 30s when he appeared on the show (via Jezebel). So, did he keep his SUV in the barn? These are the burning questions we need answered.

But apparently Raber isn't the only one who led a not-very-Amish life before appearing on the series.The Facebook page Breaking Amish the Truth remains dedicated to exposing the show's alleged lies and those who aren't as devout as they seem. 

They drank and used technology before the show

While the cast may like to say they'd never taken a sip of alcohol or giggled like teenagers at their first house party before the show, it turns out a lot of them may not have been so sincere. According to Us Weekly, Abe Schmucker was arrested for public intoxication in 2008, and Kate Stoltzfus (now known as Kate Stoltz) got popped with a DUI right before joining the show in 2012 (that's her mugshot above). 

As if that weren't enough, The National Enquirer reported that Schmucker and Rebecca Byler were living in a camper behind another couple's home for several months in 2010 — where they had allegedly used modern appliances. Byler was said to have worn a bikini while Schmucker drank alcohol.

Raber's ex-wife, Naomi Stutzman, also spoke up about the show's alleged lies, telling Star, "I had to laugh when [Raber] claimed he's never owned a cell phone. He's had one for as long as I've known him." She added that he loves Guns N' Roses, Eminem, and strip clubs and that he was "always known as the guy with the coolest cars."

One star stripped for the camera

It appears the bright lights of the big city proved irresistible for one Breaking Amish starBarely a year after it hit airwaves, star Kate Stoltz made the pages of Maxim with a racy photoshoot. "Before I had even signed a contract with a modeling agency, I did a test shoot to see if I could photograph well," she told the magazine per Us Weekly, "and the first outfit they put me in was a bathing suit! I have to admit it was a little intimidating, but now I enjoy doing it."

Instead of Instagram, modeling agencies might want to scout Amish communities for the next big thing, because, according to Stoltz, the majority of Amish women maintain toned physiques for the simple fact that "they work hard." Stoltz explained, "They also eat healthy, since they grow their own food," adding, "That's one big thing I missed about home, being able to garden and take care of plants." We can see Amish fitness boot camps popping up in Los Angeles any minute now.

The Amish don't always 'shun' family

For purely dramatic effect, TLC would like audiences to think that Breaking Amish "will unveil the disenchantment of family members who are forced to shun their own children, siblings and grandchildren as they decide to explore a world beyond the limitations of their simple upbringing." However, as a simple Internet search reveals, that isn't exactly true. 

Apparently, young people temporarily leaving the community and returning home is relatively commonplace. Naomi Stutzman told CBS 21 (per Jezebel) that she indeed wasn't shunned when she left the church, and neither was ex-husband Raber, who was apparently "spoiled rotten" and given two cars when he left the Amish. She also claimed that his parents helped him out with rent whenever he needed it. Even Kate Stoltz was welcomed home after her DUI.

While we can appreciate TLC's attempt to mislead audiences by raising the stakes for their cast members, they need to remember that viewers are pretty adept at using Google. 

Kate Stoltz created a whole new career

Not content with just posing in Maxim, Kate Stoltz took the sewing skills she learned during her time in the Amish community to the Fashion Institute of Technology. She parlayed her degree into a fashion label, Kate Stoltz New York. Stoltz showed off her designs during 2018's New York Fashion Week, and here is the press release (via InTouch):

"Since becoming the breakout star of TLC's Breaking Amish, Kate left the reality TV world behind to pursue her true passion: a career in design. After graduating from FIT and securing a coveted position in Product Design at Jason Wu, Kate decided to once again break out on her own, fulfilling a lifelong dream of building her own label from the ground up. Kate started crafting highly-sought after micro destination collections, and is now thrilled to bring her first full collection to the forefront after 5 years of living and working in NYC."

However, when asked if Breaking Amish was fake, she wasn't as verbose. "I really can't [say]. I'm sorry," she told InTouch. Way to flame those conspiracy theories, Kate. 

TLC allegedly pays to keep the truth quiet

Jeremiah Raber's ex-wife and mother of three of his children, Naomi Stutzman, is a fellow defector from the Amish community. Per Jezebel, Stutzman filed for divorce in 2011, citing "gross neglect of duty" and "extreme cruelty." She also had Raber arrested for domestic violence in 2005 (via the Daily Mail). 

In an off-camera interview with CBS 21 in 2012, Stutzman claimed that Raber owes her $20,000 in child support payments and that, because TLC paid a portion of this, she assumes they knew about his past. Stutzman also said TLC offered her "whatever she wanted" to keep her quiet about Raber's history. TLC has vehemently denied this claim (via HuffPost). But, whether or not the network has paid anyone for their silence, it's pretty clear the powers that be wouldn't want these rumors spreading, as the entire premise of the show — which enjoyed one of the network's most-watched premieres with about 3 million viewers — depends on the content living up to the "fish out of water" premise.

Another domestic violence arrest

In 2017, Breaking Amish: Return to Amish star Jeremiah Raber was arrested after assaulting his wife Carmela. According to Radar Online, she told police that he had made "several threats to cause [her] harm," and she showed officers "several large bruises on her legs and arms" allegedly left by her husband. In the police report, she reportedly stated that Raber had hit her "on a daily basis."

Raber soon fired back, claiming to have "evidence to prove his innocence." In an exclusive statement made to Radar Online, he said, "As of now I have nothing really to say other then the real truth will come out in the end," adding, "This is not a one-way street. It goes both ways and I have the evidence to prove it and it will be released soon enough." At the time of this writing, Raber has yet to reveal his "evidence."

Facebook freakouts

Six months after the aforementioned domestic violence arrest, Raber went on a Facebook rant that's since been deleted, accusing his estranged wife (now going by Carmela Mendez) of stealing the $160,000 the couple earned from selling their home. "We sold the property, cashed the check this morning, she put it in her purse, and when I got out to go pay electric bill she took off," he said, as reported by InTouch

Claiming Mendez was addicted to pain medication and would take "a lot of sleeping pills" and drink "tons of energy drinks every day," Raber insisted she was the abuser — not him. "Have I screwed up in my life, our marriage? Absolutely. You guys never heard the s*** she did," he continued. "She laid hands on me when I didn't raise one hand. She spread lies about me; I'm no longer holding back. I did not throw that coffee on her. A little bit splashed on her, that was it, but yet I get taken to jail." 

Concluding his rant, Raber declared that he was "done with her," but couldn't answer when a fan asked if he would take her back. "[D]o I still love her? Absolutely I do, but I can only take so much," he responded. "She had her chance to make things right; I've been trying to call her, she refused to answer. I was told that Carmela was after my money, and that was correct, that was so correct."

Sabrina Burkholder found herself on the wrong side of the law

Sabrina Burkholder's struggles with drug addiction were included as plot points in the show, but, off camera, they turned into trouble with the law. Burkholder was arrested back in May 2017 for "driving an unregistered vehicle, using drug paraphernalia, and possessing an uncontrolled substance." Since the drug charges were only misdemeanors, Burkholder was only sentenced to community service, not to mention ordered to pay court fees and fines. She was released from jail the next day. Her luck ran out not even two months later, as she was arrested again in August 2017 for what Starcasm believes was a "parole violation from her previous drug conviction."

"It is our understanding that Sabrina had an arrest warrant issued for her a little over a month after being released, but she managed to avoid police for weeks," the pop culture site detailed. "In addition to her criminal issues, Sabrina was also recently taken to court over unpaid rent. On August 3, a judge ruled in favor of her former landlord and ordered Sabrina to pay $1,800 in unpaid rent plus court fees."

Some cast members have been married before

When Abe Schmucker and Rebecca Byler appeared on the first season of Breaking Amish, they claimed they didn't know each other well, despite being from the same Amish community. They were later pictured with a baby on the Breaking Amish the Truth Facebook page. Schmucker and Byler vehemently denied having a kid together, but, according to Bustle in February 2014, Schmucker was confirmed to be the father after Byler, who was previously married and divorced, posted paternity test results on her Facebook page. 

Cast member Sabrina High was also married in a secular ceremony in 2009, showing up on another reality TV show, National Geographic's Amish at the Altar, in 2010. High claimed the ceremony adhered to Mennonite standards and didn't involve drinking or dancing (which is unfortunate, since most of us can agree those are the two best parts of any wedding).

Return to Amish was just as fake

TLC's Return to Amish featured a lot of the original cast members from the first season — and it presented a "reality" just as allegedly warped. While many TV show producers manipulate what's on screenTLC allegedly took it a step further. Stoltz, for instance, tweeted that she cried on the show because "producers keep us in a room for hours and ask the same questions over and over — they're relentless. If we don't give them the answer they want, they keep us in there until we cry or give them the answer they want" (via Us Weekly).

Not only did producers allegedly control Breaking Amish storylines and feed the media false stories to back them up, but Stoltz also claimed they lied about one of the cast members undergoing chemotherapy for bone cancer. She tweeted, "Chapel [Schmucker-Peace] was NOT doing chemo when the show was filmed. She was in remission and had us all fooled into thinking she was very sick." Stoltz said that Peace, who has a known history of drug use, was instead pretending in order to cover up a heroin addiction.