Reality Stars Who Treat Their Co-Stars Like Trash

The phrase "reality television" can be applied to a wide variety of shows, from competition programs like "Survivor" and "Big Brother" to more slice-of-life ones like "Jersey Shore" and "Keeping Up with the Kardashians." All of these shows have one thing in common: though the genre as a whole can be extremely edited and often over-produced, the whole point of reality television is supposed to reflect "reality," and a whole lot of people in the actual real world treat each other terribly. While some shows center their whole identity on it — like "Bad Girls Club" — just about every reality show has a cast member who treats their co-stars like trash.

As such, edited or not, reality TV does often reveal the dark side of human behavior to the world. "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Kyle Richards told Bravo, "Reality television, it's your life and you can't walk away from it. You're being exposed and the audience is weighing in on your lives and your relationships with your friends and family." Even on shows where the bad behavior isn't the point, many reality TV shows end up having cast members who treat each other terribly, as a result of the pressures of having their lives exposed to the world, the stress of competing for money, or just generally being a terrible person. Read on for a look at some of the worst offenders, stars who treat their co-stars like trash even though they know the world is going to see.

Arie Luyendyk's Bachelor breakup was unforgivable

The finale of race car driver Arie Luyendyk's season of "The Bachelor" was one of the show's most dramatic episodes ever. Leading up to the shocker, Luyendyk began his media apology tour early, foreshadowing something awful. He told People, "I know people are going to be hard on [me]. I made a mistake. And I'm prepared for the backlash."

Still, no one could have anticipated this: when the finale aired, viewers learned that Luyendyk had changed his mind after initially proposing to Becca Kufrin. On the gripping "After the Final Rose" special, rather than having a private conversation with his fiancée, Luyendyk broke off the engagement in real time on television and went back to the runner-up, Lauren Burnham. The breakup was aired with two simultaneous camera angles, a move that the show called the "first completely unedited scene in reality television history."

Viewers watched in painstaking detail as Luyendyk said (via Glamour), "I kept waking up and going to bed thinking of her." Kufrin repeatedly told him to leave, but he kept going, returning to the house and making sure the cameras followed her around. Luyendyk received widespread condemnation for the move, including from former Bachelor Sean Lowe, who tweeted, "I don't like this one bit. Shouldn't have filmed." Kufrin agreed, telling People, "It was embarrassing the way he broke up with me with the full cameras and crew around. There was a better and more tactful way to do it."

Puck was a roommate from hell on The Real World: San Francisco

All the way back in 1994, David "Puck" Rainey was one of the first-ever reality television villains, causing numerous problems for his roommates on "The Real World: San Francisco." He was openly disrespectful of their belongings and personal space; as the New York Post noted, he blew "snot rockets" all around the house and ate from communal peanut butter jars with his bare hands.

Worse, though, was the way Rainey treated his housemate Pedro Zamora, an HIV+ gay man living with AIDS. His frequent homophobia and constant mockery of Zamora's accent were so difficult to live with that Zamora crumbled under the weight of the bullying and tried to move out of the "Real World" house, but in a gripping half-hour of television, the housemates voted to evict Puck instead. When he was evicted, Rainey told the Chicago Tribune, "Tell them all I'm glad they kicked me out of that stupid house. I got my own peanut butter now."

Zamora died hours after the final episode of the season aired, and he is widely remembered today for his trailblazing HIV/AIDS activism. "People place him on a pedestal, and they should, but to us he was just a friend," fellow "Real World" cast member Judd Winick told Entertainment Weekly. "He was a wonderful person with an illness." Rainey, on the other hand, has been in and out of prison since his time on the show (via TMZ).

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.

Valentina's Miss Congeniality win was controversial

"RuPaul's Drag Race" is especially fun when a villain emerges among the cast in the Werk Room, causing problems the judges don't see on the runway. That was definitely the case with Season 9 favorite Valentina; the judges loved her looks, but the other queens weren't seeing it, leading to co-star Aja's legendary takedown of how little Valentina had to do to get praise. "She could walk out there in a f**king diaper and they're like, 'Valentina, your smile is beautiful!'" Aja moaned. It's fitting, then, that Valentina was eliminated from the show in one of the most shocking lip syncs of all time for refusing to remove her mask.

When Valentina was later voted Miss Congeniality by the fans, the queens on the reunion had had it, officially, with co-star Farrah Moan pointing out that Valentina had suddenly become too good for the cast after the show. "We were such close friends, and you literally have not spoken to me in five months ... I really miss my friend," she said. Realizing her facade was crumbling, Valentina responded, "I respect you and love you." Farrah shot back, "You don't love me."

Returning for All Stars Season 4, Valentina gleefully played into her villain edit. She got a mildly negative critique and staged a meltdown in the Werk Room, telling the other queens, "Ladies, I'm boiling. My blood is simmering through my veins and I have some things to say, okay?"

Aaryn Gries' racism changed Big Brother forever

The pressure-cooker environment of the "Big Brother" house often leads to explosive arguments, and most seasons have multiple feuds where two houseguests find themselves unable to handle living with each other and go at each other's throats. The intense situation with Aaryn Gries on "Big Brother 15," however, was something new. Gries treated her castmates so badly that the show had to introduce a new content warning for the show's live feeds, which E! reported had never been done before.

The problem was that Gries was consistently racist towards Candace Stewart, a Black woman. Gries was also homophobic towards Andy Herren, a gay man who wound up winning the season, but her overt racism was rightfully the main focus of the controversy surrounding her time on the show. In addition to telling fellow houseguest Helen Kim, who is Asian, to "Shut up, go and make some rice" (via Daily News), Gries and her friend GinaMarie Zimmerman flipped Stewart's bed and then taunted her. The Daily Mail noted that she adopted a "mock-Black accent" as she yelled, "Watchu gon' do, girl?"

When she was voted out of the house, host Julie Chen confronted her with a number of things she'd said on the show. While the audience laughed, Gries tried to save face, claiming her racist remarks were "taken completely out of context"  — evidently forgetting she was filmed 24/7 on the show, so her remarks literally could not possibly have had more context.

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.

Richard Hatch played Survivor in the buff

"Survivor" tells its contestants to "outwit, outplay, and outlast," and Season 1 winner Richard Hatch took that to heart, becoming the show's first villain. The show gives each contestant a "buff" to indicate their tribe, an article of clothing that can be worn in numerous different ways including as a head covering, an armband, or a neck cover. Hatch played the game "in the buff" in a different way: he was often naked. Hatch is gay, and he later told "For Real: The Story of Reality TV" (via Heavy) that being naked was a strategy to get the straight cameramen to leave him alone. "They were following me and literally I would watch them go, 'ugh,' and turn away and go somewhere else," he said. "And I realized, 'Oh if I'm not wearing any clothes, they're not gonna follow my a** around!'"

His co-stars didn't appreciate that strategy. When Hatch returned for "Survivor: All-Stars," he rubbed his naked body against fellow contestant Sue Hawk during a challenge. He was voted off that night; Hawk quit the show the next day because she was so upset. "I just kept reliving the incident. It just kept eating into me more and more like a cancer," she told "The Early Show."

Many years later, Hatch was kept off of Season 40 — "Winners at War" — because of how he'd behaved. Host Jeff Probst told Us Weekly, "We were in a different time and different culture back then."

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).

Christine Quinn loves being Selling Sunset's villain

Christine Quinn is one of modern reality TV's biggest villains, and she told "Live from E!," "I live for it. I love being the villain and I wouldn't have it any other way." However, this often means treating her co-stars like trash. Fans of "Selling Sunset" watch as Quinn repeatedly talks down to the other stars; for example, from the moment new real estate agent Chrishell Stause walked into the Oppenheim Group, Quinn told her, "As Britney Spears would say: you better work, bitch." She revealed intimate details about Stause's divorce in the press, and she sided with Stause's ex on camera, even though the two were supposedly friends at that point. Her on-screen behavior caught up to her in Season 4, which primarily revolved around Quinn being on the outs with the other girls because they were finally fed up with how she'd treated them.

However, it's not just her on-screen behavior they object to; Quinn loves nothing more than spreading rumors about the other stars of the show. Stause told Vulture that she even had to threaten legal action, and after Quinn told Page Six that co-star Heather Rae Young's relationship with HGTV star Tarek El Moussa is reminiscent of Speidi on "The Hills," they were furious. "Listen, just because she's never been famous before and she doesn't know how it works, she doesn't have to talk," El Moussa said on the "Not Skinny But Not Fat" podcast.

Simon Cowell's AGT prank went too far

In the 2000s, British reality TV star Simon Cowell created the template for mean reality competition judges. In addition to the way he dismissed the opinion of (and often outright mocked) fellow judge Paula Abdul, Cowell treated many a contestant on the show like trash during his years on "American Idol." His savage insults were legendary, like the time he told one early hopeful to sue her vocal coach. "If they believe they are great, good luck to them. But if they come to our audition and they want to be told the truth, they will be told," Cowell explained to the Los Angeles Times of his judging strategy. 

However, one of his worst moves ever was the way he "pranked" his "America's Got Talent" co-host Sofia Vergara. Cowell brought back previous-season daredevils Ryan Stock and AmberLynn, and they made Vergara think they were involving her in a carefully-planned stunt to shoot a crossbow at a balloon while Cowell stood nearby. However, while Vergara was blindfolded, they fitted Cowell with a mock arrow protruding from his chest. "Simon, please don't let them make me do this," she begged. He went ahead with the cruel prank anyway and lay on the ground while everyone screamed, making Vergara think she had impaled him. She was clearly very upset, but she put on a brave face for the camera as he sat up and said, "I got you!"

Gus Smyrnios is Floribama Shore's resident bad boy

The cast members of Floribama Shore have all treated each other terribly at one point or another, but no one has gotten into more arguments than resident bad-boy romance novel cover-model Gus Smyrnios, who seems to be spinning out of control the longer the show goes on.

In Season 2, Smyrnios handed his Black roommate Kirk Medas over to the cops after a bar fight, taking their side rather than protecting his roommate. "You have to, dude," Smyrnios told him, walking Medas down the hallway to the waiting police, who placed him in handcuffs. In Season 3, though his bromance with roommate Jeremiah Buoni was the foundation of the show in its early years, the two had a violent falling-out over Southern-state loyalty that spiraled into the end of JeriGus. "He was looking for a fight last night and for some reason, he picked it with me," Buoni reflected, emotional (via MeAww).

In 2021, his one-time hookup Nilsa Prowant became pregnant and engaged to someone else, Gus lost it. He and roommate Candace Rice got into an argument where he helped himself to her hair dryer, and then he got angry with her when she called him on it. He wound up throwing a tantrum and running away from the Montana house where the gang was camped out during COVID-19, and production had to go out and find him, sending him into quarantine due to possible coronavirus exposure.

Jax Taylor made many Pump Rules enemies

If we were to list everyone on "Vanderpump Rules" that Jax Taylor treated like trash, we may as well just paste in the entire cast list. From the breakdown of his relationship with ex-girlfriend Stassi Schroeder to the way he alienated one-time best friend Tom Sandoval, up through homophobic remarks about Ariana Madix and insults aimed at trans co-star Billie Lee, SUR's bad-boy bartender made many enemies during his tenure on the show.

Instead, we'll run through just some of his biggest offenses. When Taylor finally admitted to cheating on Schroeder in the finale of Season 1, he revealed that he'd been lying the entire time we'd known him, indicating that he was shaping up to be one of the biggest villains on reality television. In Season 2, word got around that he had slept with Kristen Doute, Sandoval's girlfriend and Schroeder's best friend, while Sandoval was in the next room sleeping. He cheated on Cartwright, too. Audio of his post-coital conversation with castmate Faith Stowers caused major drama in Season 6 when Cartwright heard it, leading her to tell him, "Rot in hell."

Finally, he's even treated "Vanderpump Rules" namesake Lisa Vanderpump like trash, telling her in the Season 8 finale, "This is why my show is successful." LVP didn't let the moment pass, telling him, "It's actually not your show, it's actually my show, okay, and I put your a** on it. So don't be f***ing disrespectful to me."

Vicki Gunvalson's cancer lies

Vicki Gunvalson was one of the first villains of the very first "Real Housewives" franchise, "The Real Housewives of Orange County." She's had numerous arguments over the course of her tenure on the show, mostly stemming from multiple incidents where she didn't treat her co-stars well, to put it lightly. For example, she spread rumors about Shannon Beador's husband's affair, leading to an intense throwdown. She also erupted when co-stars Braunwyn Windham-Burke and Tamra Judge kissed on the show, telling them (via People), "Do it off-camera! ...I started this show. We don't do that." 

The worst, however, was undoubtedly when she admitted to lying about the specifics of whether her then-boyfriend Brooks Ayers had cancer. It's unclear whether she knew the whole thing appears to have been faked, but she definitely knew at least part of it was not true. There were faked medical records presented to the media, concocted stories about personally witnessing medical treatments that never happened, and through it all, a persecution complex that saw her shout when confronted (via US Weekly), "I'm being nailed to the cross like Jesus was!"

She finally copped to having lied about her boyfriend's cancer treatment on the reunion, admitting, "I fabricated [part of the story] because I really was looking for compassion from somebody." After the other housewives took issue with that, host Andy Cohen admonished, "She's admitting something very big."

Abby Lee Miller treated her young Dance Moms charges horribly

On "Dance Moms," Abby Lee Miller was the dance coach teaching young girls to dance. Most of the show's dramatic thrust came not just from which girls would place where at competition, but how Miller would react and speak to them and their mothers when they did. Miller was often extremely unkind to her incredibly-young co-stars, and she frequently sparked controversy over just how poorly she treated them.

She repeatedly insulted the looks of her young co-stars, telling one mother of a rival dancer that she needed to get plastic surgery for her daughter's ears. The girl burst into tears. "I can't even believe you just did that!" shouted the dance mom, chasing her into the hallway. "Why would you do that to my daughter?" Miller rounded on her and said, "I didn't do it to your daughter; I did it to you."

And another time, the moms revealed that Miller had insulted Chloe Lukasiak's physical appearance behind the scenes, which didn't make it to air. "Abby actually made fun [of] Chloe's face caused by a medical condition there, NOT HER DANCING!," her mother Christi tweeted. Per the International Business Times, another mother confirmed Lukasiak's story, writing, "We were all so upset for Chloe and her mom! Chloe is the sweetest girl!"

We won't call Miller's later legal woes karma for the way she treated her co-stars, but if you wanted to, we wouldn't stop you.

Tiffany Pollard's trash-talking has become iconic

Few reality TV villains have spawned as many iconic gifs as Tiffany "New York" Pollard from "Flavor of Love" and "I Love New York," but many of those viral moments actually show her treating her co-stars like trash, as much fun as that often was to watch. One of Pollard's most enduring memes is a looping image of the way she incredulously yelled "Beyonce?!" when "Flavor of Love" rival Hottie said she gets told she resembles the singer. New York went on to insult Hottie's appearance in what instantly became an iconic reality TV moment. "Beyoncé, sweetie, I'm so sorry," she began. "I'm so sorry that a ugly a** b***h like this would even say that... You know who you really look like? You f***ing look like Luther Vandross." Ouch.

She also brawled with co-star Pumkin on the show's reunion episode, and a gif of Pollard removing her earrings in preparation for the fight still pops up on twitter all the time, making a reappearance any time a stan needs to defend their fave.

Pollard looks back on her reality TV fame fondly, telling PopCulture that the reunion especially was a great time for her. "I mean, in that moment, I have to say I was having a blast. I really was," she recalls.

Kim and Kourtney's konstant konfrontation

"Keeping Up with the Kardashians" is full of Kim Kardashian and her sisters treating each other like trash. In public, they say that the family gets along great, but the show has shown that's not always the case. Kim and Kourtney especially squabble over everything from parenting to men, and as the years have gone on, their fights have just as often been about the way they approach their fame. 

Some fights have turned physical, such as one argument in 2019 that saw Kim and Kourtney at odds over Kourtney's dedication to the show. "I'm just so f***ing over glam," Kourtney said. "I honestly just don't want to film." This attitude annoyed Kim, and the argument escalated to the sisters scratching and punching one another, drawing blood. Kim later explained on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" that the fight was the result of "a lot of built up resentment from Kourtney," and that after it happened, production shut down. "Everyone was really shook," she said.

Other fights are more of a war of words, like the time Kim told Kourtney she was "the least exciting to look at." Kourtney told Kylie Jenner on her YouTube channel that the insult really hurt. "I was like, 'why would someone in my family, like, say something like that?'" she recalled. However, the two have since made up.

Ronnie Magro's violent outburst

"Jersey Shore" was a perfect storm of multiple moments of memeable mayhem, from The Situation's abs to Snooki's... well, Snooki in general. There's also the way Sammi "Sweetheart" Giancola used to whine "Raaahn, staaahp!" which has become a meme in recent years. A decade on, it's easy to forget that she was genuinely reacting to being treated terribly by Ronnie Magro, her co-star and on-again, off-again boyfriend.

The most iconic argument stemmed from the infamous note that Snooki wrote to her roommate, letting her know that "Ron made out with two girls and put his head in between a cocktail waitress's breasts ... Multiple people in the house know, therefore you should know the truth." Giancola was hurt by Magro cheating on her at the club, leading to one of many breakups.

However, Magro's worst treatment of Giancola occurred the following season, when he went on a violent rampage. After screaming in her face, "F**k you and f***ing believe whoever you want, I'm done with this s**t," he tore through her room, destroying her belongings. Later, he shouted, "I got girls cooking me dinner ... How many times you cook for me? None, you f***ing useless, spoiled b***h." Giancola refused to return for "Jersey Shore: Family Vacation," even though Magro admitted he still had feelings for her even though he'd treated her terribly. "I think I just miss the feeling of security 'cause that's what she gave," he said on the show (via ET).

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.