When you think about reality television, you probably think about the greatness that is famous-for-being famous mogul Kim Kardashian or drunken, fist-pumping Jersey duo Snooki and Jwoww — or any of the other hundreds of small screen stars that have reeled us in with their funny one-liners, spirited antics and unique personalities.
But reality television also has a dark side, complete with bar brawling and cat fights, heavy drinking, and other reckless behaviors. So it can’t be too surprising that some of its subjects have faced allegations claiming that their gleaming camera personalities actually aren’t so pretty when the lights are out. Were they simply caught up in a really sticky situation or are they true offenders? Let’s discuss. From a hunky Jersey Shore star to a member of reality TV‘s most famous family, keep on reading for a closer look at adored reality stars who have been accused of terrible things. Be advised: it’s utter SMH material.
Chad Johnson isn’t prince charming after all
Former NFL star Chad Johnson (aka Chad Ochocinco) wooed the world during his stint on VH1’s Basketball Wives. The wide receiver appeared to be the perfect catch for model Evelyn Lozada, a regular on the reality series. It wasn’t long before the pair snagged a reality show of its own called Ev & Ocho, which chronicled the lovebirds journey to the wedding aisle, but before a single episode could air, tragedy struck.
In August 2012, the newlyweds reportedly got into an explosive argument after Lozada supposedly discovered a receipt for condoms in Johnson’s car and confronted him about it. According to a police report obtained by CNN, "As they were talking, Johnson became upset and without (his wife’s) permission, grabbed her and butted her on the forehead, causing a laceration." Johnson’s actions reportedly left his brand-new wife with a big, bloody gash. Following the incident, VH1 axed the show, Johnson was canned by the Miami Dolphins, and Lozada filed for divorce.
Paula Deen’s history left a bad taste in everyone’s mouths
Through her culinary talents, folksy charm, and excited catchphrases, silver-haired Southerner Paula Deen created a food empire worth millions, from restaurants to TV shows to her own line of products. But her racist past, revealed in a 2013 court deposition, was a recipe for disaster.
According to CNN, one of Deen’s former restaurant managers, Lisa T. Jackson, sued the celebrity chef and her brother "over allegations of sexual and racial harassment." In the deposition, Deen allegedly admitted to using the N-word several times and said she’d once thought about having a "Southern plantation-style wedding" with black waiters acting as slaves. Though she claimed the N-word was "just not a word that [she uses] as time has gone on," most folks had heard enough. Not only did the Food Network hand her a pink slip, but many of her business partners and sponsors bailed. Deen apologized for her use of the racial epithet, but as The Washington Post reported, she did so with a "side of self-promotion."
Ronnie Ortiz-Magro has big muscles and temper to match
Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, the hunky star of Jersey Shore, charmed fans with his muscular physique and perfectly chiseled face when the show premiered in 2009, but beyond that, he’s proved to have some really toxic habits, especially when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex. Take his on-again-off-again romance with co-star Sammi Sweetheart Giancola. The show captured some of their most explosive moments, including a time in 2011 when he destroyed basically everything he could get his hands on that belonged to Giancola. According to E! News, he even tried to throw her bed on the porch "while she was standing on it." The pair finally called it quits some time in 2016, but that didn’t put an end to Ortiz-Magro’s bad behavior.
His rocky relationship with subsequent girlfriend Jen Harley proved to be just as fiery. In April 2018, they appeared to get into a physical brawl on Instagram Live, and that same month, Harley aired him out for an alleged cocaine habit (via Us Weekly). Not exactly a good track record.
Tommie Lee was arrested for attacking her daughter at school
Tommie Lee’s IDGAF antics and larger-than-life personality are exactly what made her such a hit on VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, but what she was arrested for in 2018 seems like an unfathomable feat for even this problematic reality star.
According to WSB-TV Atlanta, the "Cheat On Me" rapper was arrested after shoving her daughter’s head into a locker, "among other things," at the child’s middle school. Local police told the outlet that Lee was "charged with felony aggravated assault, simple battery, first-degree child cruelty and disruption of public schools." Lee reportedly posted $27,000 bond and was out of jail shortly after with an order to avoid contact with her daughter. Mama Lee violated that order just hours after her release, according to TMZ. Back to the slammer she went, slapped with charges of "aggravated stalking and obstruction of an officer," WSB-TV Atlanta reported.
Blac Chyna’s mothering skills were blasted by her ex
Blac Chyna captured our attention when her relationship with Rob Kardashian hit the news in 2016. Many questioned if it was merely a calculated effort on the model’s part to get revenge on Tyga, her rapper ex who infamously ditched her in 2014 and took up with Kardashian’s baby sis, Kylie Jenner, but you can’t deny that Chyna appeared to be a sweet girl on their namesake show Rob & Chyna. That is, until Kardashian aired her out in an explosive social media rant in 2017. Not only did the Arthur George designer claim Chyna used him, but he also said she was a serial cheater who indulged in dangerous behaviors around their daughter, Dream.
"I never want [my] daughter to be raised by a woman like Chyna who cheats and does drugs and alcohol with my baby in the house," the since-deleted post read, in part (via Bustle). "Chyna been like this long before me, but I chose to love all of her cuz I don’t judge. But second the baby was born she got body surgery I paid for and was gone from me and Dream’s life. She only could breast feed [sic] for 4 weeks because she wanted alcohol so bad … Chyna did this out of spite not love cuz she mad little sister took her baby daddy."
Yikes! Maybe Chyna needs a second chance to prove herself? We know she’s open to it.
Rob Kardashian was accused of abusing his baby’s mama
Yeah, he’s no saint, either. After his incendiary social media tirade, Blac Chyna retaliated with some wild claims of her own against the reality star. In a since-deleted Snapchat post, the mom-of-two accused Rob Kardashian of physical abuse, writing (via Us Weekly): "Rob u did all this but u beat me up and try to act [like] it never happen !!!!! U put hand on me I swear on god !!!!! On my kids but I’m supposed to be quiet because you’re a Kardashian."
Chyna expounded on the allegations in court documents obtained by People, claiming that Kardashian attacked her when she tried to call Tyga — the father of her eldest son, King. "Rob immediately grabbed my phone and punched me in the side knocking me to the ground where I landed on my hands and knees," she reportedly said. Though Kardashian has strongly denied her allegations, they were convincing enough for a judge to grant her a restraining order. The contentious exes are still entangled in legal drama over the matter at the time of this writing and could meet in court in 2020 — a fight that’s already being promoted like some sort of boxing match.
Farrah Abraham goes rogue
Audiences fell in love with Farrah Abraham after stints on MTV’s 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom. The shows depicted the former cheerleader trying to cope with not only the challenges of motherhood, but also the unfortunate death of her baby’s father, Derek Underwood. That fascination has since dwindled for a multitude of reasons, including poor decisions and bad behavior, like that X-rated video she made in 2013 with adult film star James Deen. While Abraham told Dr. Phil it was a leaked personal tape, Deen claimed it was masterminded by the reality star herself — Kim K-style — which she seemed to sorta, kinda hint toward on an episode of Couples Therapy.
She’s also been in some volatile beefs that have gotten really nasty. In 2016, Abraham mocked the age difference between her co-star Amber Portwood and Portwood’s then-boyfriend Matt Baier, insinuating to TooFab that he’s a pedophile. Abraham has also had a lot of fights with her mother, Debra Danielsen. In 2015, she called Danielson the B-word in front of Abraham’s daughter while Teen Mom cameras were rolling. For what it’s worth, Danielsen is no stranger to drama, so hey, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. That said, Abraham arguably could and should set a better example for her little one.
Surprise! This Bad Girls Club star is actually…bad
Shannade Clermont (pictured right) is one-half of the famed social media duo the Clermont Twins, and she parlayed her fame from Bad Girls Club into a successful modeling career with Yeezy and other big-name brands. But Clermont’s hot streak came to a grinding halt when her rowdy antics caught up with her.
In July 2018, she was arrested after stealing the debit card of a man she’d met for a "prostitution date." The man was reportedly found dead of an overdose the morning after they met for the date, and Clermont apparently took his card and ran, spending "tens of thousands of dollars in fraudulent purchases," according to a complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York. She was charged with "wire fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft," the complaint reads. In November 2018, The Blast reported that Clermont pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and is facing up to 20 years behind bars.
Vincent Herber undermines those family values
Vincent Herbert appeared to have a picture-perfect relationship with singer Tamar Braxton during their time on Braxton Family Values and its spin-off Tamar & Vince, but appearances can be deceiving — very deceiving. "Everybody saw Vince as a knight [in] shining armor, [but] behind closed doors that’s a horse of another color," matriarch Evelyn Braxton told The Grio. According to Evelyn, Herbert physically and emotionally abused the "Love and War" singer on various occasions throughout their nine-year marriage, including one time in 2016, when he allegedly bit into his wife’s hand during an argument (via TMZ). Tamar filed for divorce in October 2017.
The drama got even wilder on Christmas day 2017, when instead of cookie-making and caroling, Herbert apparently got drunk, started acting belligerent, and was arrested for spousal assault against Braxton, reported TMZ. She told the tab that Herbert didn’t physically harm her, but she said his behavior definitely ruined the holiday. "I’m deeply hurt and saddened that this will be how we remember Christmas 2017…" she said.
Josh Duggar’s dark past
In 2015, InTouch magazine reported that 19 Kids & Counting star Josh Duggar had allegedly molested five girls in the early 2000s — including his sisters, who starred alongside him on the hit TLC show. The family values activist later released a statement (via People) admitting that he acted "inexcusably … by [hurting] others, including my family and close friends." Because the statute of limitations has expired, Duggar cannot be prosecuted for those alleged crimes, reported Page Six, but the scandal did prompt TLC to ditch the series. "After thoughtful consideration, TLC and the Duggar family have decided to not move forward with 19 Kids and Counting," the network said (via E! News). "The recent attention around the Duggars has sparked a critical and important conversation about child protection."
But Josh wasn’t done putting himself and his family through the ringer just yet. The same year, Gawker revealed that he had an account on the infidelity website Ashley Madison. "I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. 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," he said via a statement on the family’s website. Hypocrite, indeed.
The scandal that rocked The Real Housewives of Atlanta
Phaedra Parks, the charming Southern belle of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, was lauded by fans for her strong spirit and biting sass, but the revelation that she was the creator of a nasty rumor accusing her co-star Kandi Burruss of conspiring to drug and rape fellow co-star Porsha Williams was not a good look. Let’s recap: According to People, Parks claimed for basically an entire season that Burruss told her about a plan to take advantage of Williams, but during the show’s reunion special, Parks was outed as the source of the rumor. That didn’t go over so well. Not only did the revelation bring nearly the entire cast to tears, but it also stunned the world, prompted fans of the show to blast Parks on Twitter. Shortly after, Parks was axed from RHOA, with sources telling TMZ that the rumor was "so out of line" that executives felt there was no choice but to let her go.
Believe it or not, Parks has somehow managed to land a spot on another show, WE tv’s Braxton Family Values, so maybe we’ll see her turn over a new leaf there. Fingers crossed. Speaking of those family values…
It’s time to cut off Tila Tequila
OMG, remember her? Tila Tequila was an internet sensation famed for her sex appeal, bold music, and confrontational personality. She capitalized on her fame with her own show on MTV, the bisexual dating show A Shot at Love, and with assorted roles on both the big and small screen. But as of late, she’s become a whole different animal.
Tequila has met widespread criticism for her continued embrace of Nazis and even penned a note on her website titled "Why I Sympathize With Hitler," writing that he wasn’t really a "bad person" (via the Mirror). Her comments reportedly got her booted from Celebrity Big Brother in 2015, but Tequila obviously didn’t care. The next year, she reportedly attended a "conference of ‘alt-right’ white nationalists" according to The Huffington Post, and posed for a photo giving the Nazi salute. In case you needed further proof that she’s gone off the rails, this self-proclaimed "white supremacist" has also admitted that she’s prayed for porn stars to die and that "God is now working his way to make this happen," essentially taking credit for actress Olivia Nova’s death in January 2018.