Reality TV Shows That Ruined People's Lives

There are many perks to being on reality TV, but all too often the stresses and drama supersede them. From The Hills ruining Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt's lives to The Bachelor nearly driving Chris Bukowski to the ground, see which reality TV shows have left people in shambles.

Keeping up with the Kardashians

When Keeping Up with the Kardashians started in 2007, hardly any of the cast knew the significance of what they were embarking on. Unfortunately, for Kourtney Kardashian's on-again, off again boozy baby-daddy, Scott Disick, it would lead him down a dark and difficult path. Over the years, reality-TV cameras have captured Disick spiral out of control on numerous alcohol benders including a time when Kardashian locked him out of their summer Hampton's home back in 2014, reports TMZ. And over the next several years, he would continue his battle with alcohol. As the reality cameras continued to record, the money continued to flow in, pushing Disick's behavior from bad to worse.

According to E! News, Disick has been to rehab four times and his most recent attempt to get sober was in October 2015. It was also his second trip to rehab that year. "This behavior has been going on for years," Kardashian said on their Hamptons spinoff. "I've pretty much become a broken record and I'm sick of hearing myself."

In May 2017, Disick reportedly went on another crazy bender – this time in Cannes, France with a harem of women. Bella Thorne, who joined him for a short spell, confessed he parties way too hard. "He drinks a lot," she told Complex U.K. "...I just don't party hardcore like that and it was way too much for me."

Jersey Shore

Jersey Shore made average New Jersey kids super famous during its four-year tenure on MTV. Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino was undoubtedly one of the most notable cast members. While he was becoming a household name, he was also battling a nasty addiction to prescription medication. When the series ended in 2012, he went to rehab to fix his life, reports People. "When I had gotten out of Jersey Shore, I had a year to settle down and find out who I was, and I wasn't in the best shape," the star told the magazine in 2014. "I had to rebuild myself inside and out." In all he spent a year in recovery, which was difficult due to his party lifestyle. His fame seemingly only made the journey more difficult. "Because of the parties and the traveling the percentage on recovery is not the best," he added. "It was extremely hard and it took every ounce of effort for me, and I just put my head down and kept moving forward."

Fast forward several years and the show that gave him star status is still plaguing him. According to Forbes, Sorrentino was slapped with tax-related and conspiracy charges in both 2014 and 2017. The site claims that Sorrentino and his brother used two companies they own to dodge paying taxes. If convicted, Sorrentino faces at least 10 years in prison for his crimes. 


After tying the knot, Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson thought it was a good idea to let MTV reality cameras into their home as they handled being a new couple. The show, Newlyweds, lasted just as long as the marriage. It ran from 2003 to 2005, while their union ended in divorce in 2006, reports TMZ.

In hindsight, it may not have been the best idea to let viewers watch a new couple iron out financial details, living arrangements and other little arguments. It simply leaves everything in the open for all to debate – leaving nothing private anymore. By the final season, it was obvious the couple was hitting a rough patch.

Years later, Lachey appeared indifferent about the show that made them reality-TV famous. "I don't rush right down to Macy's and buy a bunch of clothes or shoes, but I also don't hiss at the TV — it's somewhere in the middle," he said about catching reruns on TV on Jenny McCarthy's SiriusXM show (via Us Weekly). Simpson had a much different response confessing to Page Six that she "would have a panic attack" whenever she saw reruns on TV. To add more salt to the wound, Simpson confessed that marrying Lachey wasn't a good idea moneywise. "The biggest money mistakes? I don't know. For some reason I thought of my first marriage," she told CNBC's Closing Bell. Ouch!

The Hills

The Hills ruined Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt's lives because the success simply went to their heads. "I got way too into my character, that's a problem," Pratt told Entertainment Tonight about taking on a villainous character in the reality series. "I didn't separate, like, the audience people. You're on a reality show, you're not Heath Ledger playing the Joker, like I thought I was. So, I should have been in a different set, you know, getting very method."

He says when the show ended in 2010, they were at the top of their game financially. Now they're in financial ruin. "Your brain melts," he said of the fame. "Because at the time, we were the Kardashians. Speidi had that. We felt that." As of 2016, they'd spent all their cash and were living rent free in his parent's rental property. Pratt said their daily lives consisted of walking dogs and eating burritos.

And of course, everyone remembers Montag's quest to be the most talked about woman on television electing to undergo almost a dozen plastic surgery procedures – including two breast augmentation surgeries. She essentially regretted doing all that work to her body saying, "I think that it was hard enough going through it at that time and I was just in way over my head. I had no idea what I was getting into."

On the bright side: the couple is expecting their first child together, a baby boy

Bachelor in Paradise

There's simply no coming back from sexual assault allegations. In June 2017, Bachelor in Paradise contestant DeMario Jackson found himself in the hot seat after a producer flagged what they believed may have been a sexual assault between Jackson and fellow contestant Corinne Olympios. Both participants were reportedly drinking during their sexual encounter. In the following days, Olympios called herself the "victim" in the filmed incident while Jackson said his character had been "assassinated," reports People. "It's unfortunate that my character and family name has been assassinated this past week with false claims and malicious allegations," Jackson said in a statement. "I will be taking swift and appropriate legal action until my name is cleared and, per the advice of legal counsel, will be seeking all available remedies entitled to me under the laws."

After news of the alleged incident made headlines, the show shut down production to investigate the matter, adds another People report. Some 10 days later, the investigation turned up no evidence of sexual misconduct between the involved parties. Warner Bros., the show's parent company, issued a statement saying, "Out of respect for the privacy interests of those involved, we do not intend to release the videotape of the incident."

Unfortunately, the headlines against Jackson were so damaging, he may not be able to recover. It's unclear if he'll return to the series as he was invited back and if he'll forever be labeled as a villain because of the accusations. 

19 Kids and Counting

When the Duggars decided to put their super large family on reality TV in 19 Kids and Counting in 2008, little did they know it would expose all their dirty secrets. The biggest shocker they kept behind closed doors was that the family's eldest son, Josh Duggar, as a teenager, several years earlier had sexually molested multiple young girls including four of his own sisters, reports USA Today. By June 2015, the show was permanently cancelled by TLC.

Months later, Josh would drop another bomb confessing he had been unfaithful to his wife and that he was a member of the adultery website "I have been the biggest hypocrite ever," he said in a statement. "While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the Internet and this has became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife." Had he and his family never put their lives on television, these facts may have never been dug up.

Fast forward to June 2017 and Josh moved to join his sister's breach-of-privacy lawsuit against In Touch Weekly for releasing their names as victims. Josh claims he received "unwarranted public scrutiny" after the news made headlines, according to USA Today.

The Bachelor

Chris Bukowski rose to fame in the 2012 season of The Bachelorette. But just a handful of years later, he would announce his retirement from reality TV saying the experience nearly ruined his life and his relationship with his family. In all, he appeared on The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad and Bachelor in Paradise.

"Bachelor Pad was the pinnacle of my Bachelor career to say the least," he shared in a blog rant, according to Us Weekly. "It almost completely ruined me, my family, and my career. I'll never forget going to my parents' house and witnessing my dad obsess over all the stuff being said about me. That show ruined my relationship with my father at the time and created distance between me and my mother ... I went months without talking to my dad because he simply didn't want to talk to me." After begging to be let on and rejected from Andi Dorfman's Bachelorette season in 2014, things had gotten worse. "At this point [in] my career, I had officially become the biggest joke on reality TV. Attempting to fix my reputation had ultimately made it worse."

Looking back he said TV had driven him down some terrible places. "We all have our battles," he added. "But my TV obsession had taken me down a dark road. I was battling anxiety that led me down a road where I couldn't find happiness. I compounded the problem by getting addicted to my anxiety medication."

Real Housewives of Atlanta

Phaedra Parks and Apollo Nida's entire marriage was played out on Real Housewives of Atlanta. The pair wed one year before she joined the series in 2010, according to Paper magazine (via Bravo). The pair would go on to welcome kids in 2010 and 2013. But things quickly went south after Nida was charged and sentenced to eight years in prison for mail, bank and wire fraud, reports People. He originally faced 30 years but his sentence was reduced for cooperating with the investigation.

And while the former couple irons out the details of their long-dragged out divorce, Parks faces another crisis of her own. She's caught up in a nasty web of lies involving castmates Kandi Burruss and Porsha Williams. As the story goes, Parks spread the lie that Burruss and her husband Todd Tucker planned to drug Williams and take her home. "I repeated it because I heard it," Parks confessed on their ninth season reunion special, per Us Weekly. "Something was brought to me. I just repeated it. I repeated what someone told me. I'm not saying I didn't say it. I'm saying I repeated it."

Parks did apologize, but her credibility as a friend and as an attorney was shot. She was ultimately fired from the show and Williams felt their entire friendship was a "lie."

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo

Jealousy and matters of money have torn apart Mama June's relationship with her eldest daughter Anna "Chickadee" Cardwell. In an E! News interview, Cardwell claims her mother lost all the weight and underwent plastic surgery just for fame. "I don't think she did it just for her because she never mentioned anything ever before about getting plastic surgery," she told the site.

As for the money aspect, it's driving the rift between the former duo. Cardwell says her famous mother owes both her and her daughter, Kaitlyn, nearly "half a million dollars" from making appearances on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. "I've done told her this. I've text her months ago," Cardwell said acknowledging her contact with her mother is very limited and sparse. "She claims that she cares and misses Kaitlyn but can't even check up on her and call her and see how she's doing." Cardwell also doesn't talk with her fellow sisters Alana Thompson, Lauryn Shannon and Jessica Shannon. "None of them have called me," she said. "I can give two craps about them."

Mama June has her own thoughts on their strained relationship. "She's had opportunities to get on the show and I think like for her, it's more of 'Okay, mama is on TV and I'm not part of it, I'm not getting any money off of it,'" Mama June told Life & Style. "So it's more like a jealousy thing."

Rob & Chyna

Rob Kardashian is not cut out for reality TV. More than any of his sisters, Rob has experienced so many emotional ups and downs, including an 2012 episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians when he burst into tears talking with a family therapist. "My anger, a lot of it stems from the working environment, because they all put this cloud on me like I'm a loser," Rob shared. "I blow up later because when there's a business opportunity, all my mom obviously cares about is the three girls." For the next several years, Rob became a hermit never leaving sister Khloé Kardashian's house, according to a Cosmopolitan timeline.

Things began to turn around for Rob when he started dating Blac Chyna in early 2016. Chyna managed to pull Rob out of his shell and back into normal life. But their romance was never solid as evident from their spin-off series Rob & Chyna. Now that they're on-again, off-again and fighting over daughter Dream, Rob is slipping back into a dark place. He constantly takes to social media, when he's not deleting photos or blocking family members, to defend his relationship. He once said, "It's impossible to have a positive relationship with so much negativity from the media and outsiders and we would appreciate if it everyone respects that." But the couple still have rough patches in their co-parenting skills. Rob even announced that Chyna had left him and was keeping his daughter away from him.

Teen Mom

Drugs, rehab, prison and more have all been part of Amber Portwood's young life as the star of Teen Mom. While some may have seen being on reality TV as a way out of sticky living situations, Portwood seemingly squandered the opportunity. According to E! News, Portwood was sentenced to five years in jail for drug possession charges stemming from a December 2011 incident. During a sit-down 2013 interview with Dr. Phil, Portwood confessed that she abused drugs while both filming Teen Mom and while she was in rehab. "Every time you see me on that show [Teen Mom], I am high," she confessed.

By the spring of 2017, things had not improved for Portwood. She was re-diagnosed with Borderline Personality and Bipolar Disorder, reports People. And due to the medication, which she'll have to take for the remainder of her life, doctors suggest she should not get pregnant as the meds can have adverse affects on the fetus.

And Portwood's life may take another dramatic turn in the near future. TMZ reports the reality star met with Vivid Entertainment porn honcho Steven Hirsch in May 2017. While it's unclear if she'll appear in an adult film soon, she may be thinking of taking the risk – thus pushing her life in a new direction.

Dance Moms

Reality TV can be a place to make a quick, big buck. Just ask Dance Moms former star Abby Miller who pled guilty to bankruptcy fraud, according to People. She was charged for hiding upwards of $775,000 she earned from various shows and projects. Ultimately, Miller was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison for her crimes. Upon her release, which may be earlier than expected, she'll have two years of supervision. She must also pay a $40,000 fine and must pay a $120,000 judgement.

In the trailer for her final season on the show, Miller says, "I regret it. I regret it. Oh, I regret everything." Speaking of jail, Miller worries what will happen to her behind bars. "I'm afraid of being physically abused or raped," she told People. "I have to stay busy. If I thought about it every day, I'd just sit around and cry."

In her online resignation letter, posted to Instagram, Miller also accused the show of treating her like dirt. "I just have a problem with being manipulated disrespected, and used – day in and day out by men who never took a dance lesson in their lives and treat women like dirt," she ranted.