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15 Times Reality TV Shows Ruined Their Contestant’s Life

15 Times Reality TV Shows Ruined Their Contestant’s Life

For some reason, people love to watch reality television. A lot of people don’t realize the huge amount of editing that goes into these shows. Even though they are depicted as “real”, they are extremely manipulated to create drama for high ratings. Think of professional wrestling as a good comparison. Bottom line is as long as people continue to tune into these shows they will continue to be created. Look at the show Keeping Up with the Kardashians as a good example. Here you have a family that has done absolutely nothing in the world, yet they are world famous and hugely rich from their show. The Kardashians’ kind of success in reality TV is not at all typical though. Unfortunately, there are plenty of cases where lives have been ruined after appearing on reality television shows. 

Here, today, we will look at some people whose lives have been completely destroyed after spending some time in front of the cameras. Some of these people were famous before they joined the reality television circus and in other cases, the cameras probably only sped up the inevitable. The one common denominator that you will learn today though is that having cameras on you 24/7 is not necessarily a good thing. You may think it’s a glorious life but here are fifteen examples that say otherwise.

15. Carmen Electra


Carmen Electra has come a long way since her days as a Playboy Playmate. She was an MTV host and she even married the very weird former NBA star Dennis Rodman for a time. When she got together with musician Dave Navarro, reality television came knocking. MTV followed them around and put out the show called Carmen and Dave: A Love Story. It focused on their dating life and before they got married MTV had another idea for a new show: Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen and Dave. That second show only lasted for seven episodes and the marriage didn’t last much longer. Navarro later said in an interview that the cameras were a huge problem. “You’re not gonna be real with an eight-man crew in your house…”

14. Jenelle Evans

Jenelle Evans has made a lot of bad decisions in her life (just like plenty of other people have). The difference is that they never appeared on any type of reality television show like she did. She was arrested for breaking and entering, drug possession and assault, not all at the same time. There is really nothing though that says her time on MTV’s Teen Mom 2 is what made her make these poor decisions. Being in the position that she was in though, as a young mom, and having cameras on her all the time, and the world judging every move she made, certainly couldn’t have helped her situation. She could have made the same decisions if she was never on the show, but we’ll never know if that’s exactly true.

13. Teresa Giudice


Teresa Giudice and her husband Joe, cannot blame The Real Housewives of New Jersey for their 39-count indictment of bank fraud, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and providing false statements. They each did that all on their own. However, if Giudice hadn’t been a star of the show their sentence could have been a lot lighter. Being in the spotlight certainly didn’t help their cause when their sentences were handed down by the judge. The media attention that came with the case thrust everyone into the limelight and you can bet the judge wasn’t too happy about that in his courtroom. There is nothing official that says he took out his frustrations on the couple, but how couldn’t he?

12. Heidi Montag


Heidi Montag was the average girl next door when she first appeared on MTV’s The Hills in 2006. When the show ended in 2010 she had turned into one of the most hated women on television. That’s because of what happened on the camera over those four years, even though some people blame it all on her hubby Spencer Pratt. They argue that he actually changed her but the reality of it is the cameras did. They allowed the couple the platform to do all of the crazy crap they did that caused her life to go into a relentless downward spiral. Her trials and tribulations since then have all been well documented.

11. Paris Hilton


Paris Hilton had the world in her hands before she appeared on reality television. Her last name entitled her to just about anything she wanted but when she joined her friend Nicole Richie on The Simple Life, people around the world were able to see just what kind of idiot she really was. Her time in front of the cameras was not kind to her. Her father, Barron Hilton, said he was “extremely embarrassed by how the Hilton name has been sullied by Paris,” and decided to donate 97% of the family fortune to charity. That’s money that would have been in Paris’ bag instead of her little dog. Before you feel bad for her though, you should realize that she still has more money than most of us could ever imagine.

10. Lamar Odom


At one point in his life, Lamar Odom was a respected basketball player in the NBA. He was making plenty of money and had his choice of any woman he wanted. Unfortunately for him, he chose Khloe Kardashian to go out on a date with. Amazingly they got married just one month later and it was the beginning of Odom’s downfall. The popular show Keeping Up with the Kardashians then made a spinoff show called Khloe & Lamar that hit the airwaves for exactly two seasons. During this time Odom began cheating on her and fell into a very heavy substance abuse habit. He had two near death experiences and since all of this happened after that show started, it has to take most of the blame.

9. Jon & Kate Gosselin


The Gosselins became famous after giving birth to their sextuplets. The media attention was relentless and it actually led to them getting a reality television show called Jon & Kate Plus 8. They had a total of eight kids including the two they had prior to the sextuplets’ arrival. Kate is still a reality television star but Jon is no longer in the picture. He quickly grew tired of the cameras being around all of the time and a nasty divorce was the result. He lost custody of the kids and was sued by TLC for violating the contract he signed with them. Prior to the show, he was just a normal husband.

8. Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey


Simpson and Lachey are both successful in their own lives but in this case, it was their marriage that was blasted by reality television. After they got married in 2002, for some reason, the world was enamored with them and they soon got a reality television show called Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica. The show was on for three seasons and with the cameras being around constantly it took an obvious toll on their lives. The show ended in March of 2005 after it had exposed countless problems within the marriage. The union was ended with a divorce very shortly after the final episode ended.

7. Hulk Hogan


You would think that ‘The Immortal’ Hulk Hogan wouldn’t be bothered by having cameras around all the time. After all, those cameras are what made him famous in the first place. However, the rest of his family wasn’t cut out for life on television. When VH1 created the reality show called Hogan Knows Best it was the beginning of the end for his family. The show was only on for four seasons but that was long enough to destroy both his and his ex-wife Linda’s lives. Hogan later admitted that the couple was having problems before the show started and the cameras only amplified them. We certainly learned a lot more than we wanted to about them during the show.

6. Britney Spears


Before reality television, Britney Spears was already a beloved pop star and one of the most famous young ladies in the entire world. Then she married one of her backup dancers, Kevin Federline, in 2004 and a reality TV show followed shortly after. Life as Britney knew it would never be the same again. Everything bad that came from having the cameras around all of the time is very well documented and the show Britney and Kevin: Chaotic was very aptly named. Spears later would tell The Telegraph: “I would never do something like that again. Actually, that was really bad. That was probably the worst thing I’ve done in my career.” Most of the world agrees with her.

5. Kris Humphries


Kris Humphries is another NBA player who had his life destroyed by coming into contact with the Kardashian family. Unfortunately for him though, most people don’t even remember that he was once a star in the NBA, they only remember him for marrying Kim Kardashian. When he and Kim got engaged he started making regular appearances on Keeping Up with the Kardashians. His wedding was even part of a two-part feature that E! put on the air. The media frenzy around the wedding was amazing and just 72 days later the marriage was over when Kim filed for divorce. She lives on in front of the cameras and what is Kris doing? Probably regretting the day he met her.

4. Chris Bukowski


We all came to know Chris Bukowski on The Bachelorette when he was trying to win the hand of Emily Maynard. He was very popular with audiences so he continued on with reality television participating on Bachelor in Paradise and Bachelor Pad. He should have quit while he was ahead though. On Bachelor Pad somehow he became a villain and fell out of favor with the audiences and it was all downhill from there. The end came during a drunken episode of Bachelor in Paradise and he soon left the reality television world entirely. During an interview, he said that the public sometimes takes things too far. “People are saying things not only about you but about your family members. That’s just the most disheartening thing that you’ll ever have happen.” While that may be true, none of that had anything to do with his personal downfall.

3. Courtney Robertson


We should all be aware that we don’t ever see a “reality” television show that is unedited. That’s just part of the process that we have come to accept and that fact alone really takes a lot away from the term “reality”. A perfect example of this is Courtney Robertson who was a contestant on Season 16 of The Bachelor. She actually won the competition when Ben Flajnik proposed to her at the end of the season. Robertson was ruthless towards the other contestants and it was evident that she was in it to win it. The world saw just what kind of person she was but a lot of it can also be blamed on the editing process. Producers believe that having no drama isn’t a good recipe for enticing “reality” television.

2. Jonny Fairplay


In all the years of reality television, there has been no one more loathed than Jonny Fairplay and he is still remembered to this day as the most hated contestant of all time. It will take a lot for someone to ever unseat him from that spot. You may remember him as a contestant on Survivor: Pearl Islands where he used the death of his grandmother to gain favors in more ways than one. The problem was that his grandmother’s death was faked and planned out long before the show ever took to the air. Granted, the show itself didn’t create his problems but it did give him the stage to share his status with the world as “biggest scumbag ever”.

1. Whitney Houston


Whitney Houston married her husband Bobby Brown, in 1992. At that point, neither of them had any thoughts on any type of reality television show. That changed in 2005 when Bravo approached the couple and the show Being Bobby Brown was created. The show only aired for a single season but that was plenty to get a good glimpse into their lives. A second season never aired because Houston would not sign another contract. Many say that the decision was made because her drug habit was starting to take full control of her and she didn’t want the cameras around anymore. Sadly we all know how that story ended.

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