Todd Chrisley rose to fame in 2014 with the premiere of his reality TV series Chrisley Knows Best. Featuring his wife, their kids, and even his mother, the show follows the blonde bunch as they navigate their dramatic lives in Georgia. The primary pull of the show is Todd’s iconic sassiness and his biting wit directed at his own family members. But while he may provide a lot of laughter on his hit show, the wealthy real estate developer’s life off-screen has been anything but funny. In fact, it’s been downright scandalous at times.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given how contentious things can be on his show, Todd Chrisley has faced all kinds of trouble since hitting it big with his USA Network series. In many ways, his reality versus his reality TV persona suggest a double life. Keep reading to learn all about the shocking things you never knew about Todd Chrisley.
He filed for bankruptcy protection
Although his family lives a glamorous life on TV, Chrisley has been in serious financial trouble. According to People, the reality TV star filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in August 2012. At the time, he was reportedly about $49.4 million in the red. Among the causes of Chrisley’s jaw-dropping debt: a business investment that went sour and put him on the hook for $30 million; mortgages totaling $12 million; a tax bill for a staggering $595,227; and a $4.4 million loan from his wife.
Three years after filing for bankruptcy protection, Chrisley confirmed to Radar Online that his case had been discharged. "[We] are in a really good place financially, emotionally and psychologically," he said. "We have weathered the greatest economical downturn that this country has ever seen since the Great Depression." He added: "I am not the only person who has filed bankruptcy and I won’t be the last. It is what it is."
That sounds like a successful comeback story, but Radar Online reported that Chrisley was hit with tax liens in July 2016 and owed Uncle Sam more than $590,000. Yikes!
Todd Chrisley: Country star?
After taking the world of reality television by storm, Todd Chrisley set his sights set on dominating the Nashville music scene, but does this aspiring crooner really have the drive and talent to succeed, or is he manufacturing a new persona?
According to TMZ, Chrisley signed with two major producers from Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) in January 2016 to launch his singer-songwriter career. As part of the deal, TMZ reported that BMI would pair Chrisley with songwriter Shane Stevens, who has created music for Jordin Sparks, Carrie Underwood, Selena Gomez, and Sara Evans. TMZ even obtained a photo of Chrisley in the studio with Evans. They released a tune called "Infinite Love" that peaked at No. 39 on the Billboard country charts in July 2016.
His son called him a ‘snake’
Todd Chrisley was hit with a major scandal in October 2014 when his eldest son, Kyle, gave a scathing interview to the Daily Mail, calling his father "bankrupt, toxic, and a snake." He also accused Todd of gaining custody of Kyle’s daughter, Chloe, in an effort to improve his viewership. Kyle reportedly did not want his child appearing on reality TV.
Speaking to E! News, Todd said his son’s allegations were "unfortunate" and untrue. "Kyle is bipolar and normally, people that are bipolar, they seek out a way to self-medicate, which is what Kyle has done since he’s been young," Todd said. "I want what’s best for him." In subsequent interviews, Todd confirmed his strained relationship with Kyle, who has been in and out of rehab and wanted by the police for an alleged domestic assault with the mother of his child. In November 2015, Radar Online confirmed that Todd’s legal guardianship over Kyle had ended after six years.
Rumors about Todd Chrisley’s sexuality aren’t new
Even before Chrisley Knows Best premiered in 2014, Todd was forced to address rumors that he is gay. Speaking to People magazine in March 2014, he confirmed that the gossip — which he said he’s dealt with for years — is simply not true. "There’s no coming out," he said. "What you see is what you get. I am what I am. Other people’s opinions of me are just not my business."
Todd — who has been married for decades and has five children — mentioned a Twitter user who asked him point-blank when he plans to come out of the closet. "I said, ‘I don’t live in a closet, but if you’d like me to escort you out of yours I’m happy to do so.’ All of a sudden the tweet went away and he took it down because I flipped the script on him." Todd also defended his trip to see beloved gay icon Elton John in concert for his 40th birthday, saying bluntly, "So what?"
Some of those sexuality rumors are from Todd Chrisley’s own son
Kyle Chrisley told Life & Style (via Radar Online) that his father is probably gay. "All the people he calls his best friends in the world…they’re gay," Kyle said. "I used to work with him at Chrisley Asset Management. If one of the asset managers was going to take a p**s, he would say, ‘You want me to come hold it for you?’" As for Todd’s relationship with wife Julie, Kyle scoffed, "If the money wasn’t there, she would have been gone a long time ago."
A rep for Todd said he "is not concentrating on the words that Kyle is saying, but rather on getting him the necessary psychiatrist and medical care he so desperately needs."
Did Todd Chrisley abuse his first wife?
Not everyone thinks Todd Chrisley knows best. In fact, some say he’s the absolute worst. According to the Daily Mail, his first wife, Teresa Terry, brought forth a domestic violence case accusing him of inflicting mental and physical abuse. In the suit, Terry alleged Chrisley "wielded a knife and threatened to kill her" and beat his own mother. He has vehemently denied Terry’s claims.
"I don’t know how he’ll function without his money. I think his control mechanisms drive him and if there’s something he can’t control…I’d be fearful for him and of him," Terry said. She added, "I’ve known him a very long time and I know that he’s not all bad. There’s good in him. He can be very witty and fun company, but if he doesn’t get what he wants you’d better believe there will be consequences."
He pulled his granddaughter from the show to avoid paying her dad
Todd Chrisley told Radar Online that granddaughter Chloe is no longer on Chrisley Knows Best at Kyle Chrisley’s behest. "Kyle wanted to get paid or he was threatening to sue the network. There was no other choice than to pull her from the show," Todd said. "At the end of the day, we had to do what was best for Chloe. We did not want to drag her through all this and there was no way that we were going to pay Kyle a penny." Todd added, "Listen, we would love to have Chloe back on the show. Chloe absolutely knows that she is no longer a part of the TV show because she asked me, ‘Papa, why am I not on the show anymore?’"
She has since returned to the series. In August 2018, the Nashville Tennessean reported that "Five-year-old Chloe is sassy and spunky and totally adorable, returning to this season with a vengeance after not appearing in the previous one."
Todd Chrisley battled blackmail and extortion
Casting more shadow over the family’s peppy on-screen persona, People magazine reported in March 2016 that Todd Chrisley’s sister-in-law, Pamela Chrisley, had been arrested and charged with second degree harassment after allegedly trying to blackmail and extort Todd out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Pamela reportedly was threatening to sell a story about Todd to the National Enquirer unless he deposited hush money into her account. She was later released on a $1,000 bond and ordered to make "no contact with victims for any reason or by any means, directly or indirectly" and "no electronic communications of any kind."
In an Instagram post, the reality TV star confirmed Pamela’s arrest, claiming she tried to extort his family because his brother, Randy Chrisley, had filed for divorce. "We are at peace now that we know who has been behind this tragic situation and ask for your prayers and support for healing at this time," Todd said.
Chrisley Knows Best may be scripted
Kyle Chrisley claims Chrisley Knows Best has torn the family apart, in part because it’s fake. "This show has been nothing but bad for me. At this point [Todd Chrisley] ruined me and he’s ruined the other three kids he’s had who are spoiled," Kyle told the Daily Mail. "The whole thing is fake. He micromanages everything so if you say something and he doesn’t like it he’ll say, ‘Stop’ and tell you what to say and you’ll do it again."
Whatever the truth may be, there is certainly a stark contrast between the bright and shiny televised Todd and family versus the deeply controversial off-camera patriarch and his dysfunctional brood.
Are Julie & Todd Chrisley as happy as they seem?
On the surface, Todd and Julie Chrisley appear to be a loving and happy couple. It’s not uncommon for Chrisley Knows Best viewers to see the couple enjoying dates or flirtatiously teasing one another, suggesting that their relationship is on track. But is their romance for real? A supposed USA network insider claims no. "It is hard for anyone who works with Todd or Julie to believe that their marriage is authentic," the source alleged to Radar Online in 2017. "It’s made for TV. They do not display the same level of affection and love towards each other off-camera as they do when they are filming."
The source also poked holes in the image that "Julie is the one at home with the kids making sure everything with the family goes smoothly," calling it baloney. "They have a team of people underneath them at this point so in reality neither one of them have to lift a finger when it comes to housekeeping," the supposed insider added.
We’re going to approach this report with a major grain of salt, but it is interesting to note that Todd’s estranged son, Kyle Chrisley, expressed similar doubts about his father’s marriage in the past. "If the money wasn’t there, she would have been gone a long time ago," he told Radar Online in 2014. Hmm.
Todd Chrisley is supposedly feuding with his daughter Lindsie
Once upon a time, Todd Chrisley’s eldest child, Lindsie Chrisley, was a major fixture on Chrisley Knows Best. The mom-of-one starred on the show from 2014 to 2017, playing the role of a responsible know-it-all. Many fans came to love Lindsie, so we can understand why some people had questions when she made her exit after Season 5. So, what gives? As it turns out, her departure might have something to do with Todd. Insiders allege that Lindsie was furious after Todd tried to use her then marital separation for a storyline on the show, with a source claiming to Radar Online in June 2017: "Todd used Lindsie’s heartache for a storyline, and he did not care either way how she felt about it. He did what he wanted to do, and in the end it ruined his relationship with his daughter."
If the report is true, Lindsie had the last laugh because she got back together with her estranged husband in January 2018. It’s possible Todd was upset by the reconciliation because at the time of this writing, the father and daughter no longer follow one another on Instagram. We can’t say for certain what happened here, but we hope this is nothing more than one big misunderstanding.
What is Todd Chrisley’s status with his son Kyle?
It’s no secret Kyle Chrisley and his dad, Todd Chrisley, haven’t always seen eye to eye. From Kyle’s accusations about Todd’s sexuality to the reality star’s quotes about his son’s mental health, there’s a lot of bad blood between them. And unfortunately, it sounds like their relationship is way worse than we had originally thought. What are we talking about, exactly? Look no further than a May 2019 report from Radar Online, in which an insider claimed that Todd has given up on trying to help Kyle with his drug issues. After Kyle was arrested for felony possession of methamphetamine, a source told the outlet: "Todd wishes that there was something that he could do, but he gave up trying years ago."
We don’t know if this accusation is true, but we do know that Todd has expressed hope for Kyle’s recovery before. "I want what’s best for him and I will get him the help he needs," he told E! News in 2014. Of course, we wish the best for Todd and Kyle’s relationship going forward.
Do the Chrisleys have a problem with their taxes?
Todd and Julie Chrisley’s financial woes didn’t end with their bankruptcy filing. The feds came knocking in August 2019, naming the couple in a "12-count indictment [alleging] tax evasion [and] wire fraud," according to Atlanta’s Channel 2 Action News, who broke the story. According to the outlet, federal authorities allege that the reality stars established a "production company to hide their reality TV income from the IRS," and failed to file "income taxes from 2013 to 2016."
Channel 2 additionally reported on the couple’s previous tax discrepancies — this time at the state level in Georgia. Investigators claimed that while Todd was legally a resident of the state, he "filed no state income tax returns … from 2004 through 2011." Eventually, the couple was hit with "a nearly $800,000 judgment" from Fulton County in the form of a state lien, which they agreed to "resolve."
In an attempt to get ahead of the news about the federal charges, Todd posted a lengthy explanation to Instagram before the indictment was made public. He declared his and Julie’s innocence, and claimed this whole mess dates back to 2012, when a "disgruntled employee" fabricated a bunch of financial documents and "persuaded" U.S. Attorney’s office investigators to bring a case against them.
As of this writing, the drama is only just getting started, but according to The Blast, if convicted, the Chrisleys could face 30 years behind bars.
Did Todd Chrisley attempt to extort his daughter?
Just when you thought Todd Chrisley’s life couldn’t get any shadier, a report surfaced in August 2019 alleging that he and his son, Chase Chrisley, were involved in an extortion plot. The supposed target? Todd’s eldest daughter, Lindsie Chrisley, who allegedly claimed the pair threatened her to lie (presumably about the family’s alleged financial crimes). What’s worse, Lindsie supposedly told authorities in Georgia that Chase and Todd allegedly threatened to release a sex tape of hers if she didn’t comply, according to TMZ. Authorities in Georgia declined to file charges, however, because the alleged crime "occurred in [the Chrisley’s home state of] Tennessee."
Perhaps unsurprisingly, both Todd and Chase deny any role in the scandal. "I love my sister and I don’t understand why she’s doing this to our family," Chase told People. "Not only am I heartbroken over these false allegations by my sister — and they are totally false — but so are my parents and the rest of our family."
As for Todd, he denied Lindsie’s claim, and accused her of having extramarital affairs with Bachelor stars Robby Hayes and Josh Murray. "It’s heartbreaking and shameful that these kinds of accusations have to be aired in public," he told People. "We have tried to keep Lindsie’s extramarital relationships with Robby Hayes and Josh Murray private for her sake since August of 2016." Yikes.