Once again, the sagas of reality TV rivaled the most dramatic scripted shows on television this year. From legal battles to filmed breakups, Wonderwall.com has rounded up the most jaw-dropping scandals in the reality television world in 2018. First up, a deportation order. Though Joe Giudice didn't have the best year — he spent the entirety of 2018 in prison — it was made worse with some crushing news delivered in October: A judge ruled that once Joe is released in March 2019, the former "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" star will be deported to his native Italy despite coming to America as an infant. Joe is currently serving a 41-month sentence on federal fraud charges on the heels of wife Teresa Giudice's nearly year-long prison stint for related crimes. Joe's attorney filed an appeal in November. Keep reading for more of the year's biggest reality TV scandals…
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Since Jenelle Evans started documenting her life on MTV, the "Teen Mom 2" star has had some pretty extreme ups and downs. She spent 2018 still dealing with a custody battle over eldest son Jace with her mother, Barbara Evans, who currently has custody of the boy. That saga was chronicled on "Teen Mom 2," which also featured Jenelle's fights with now-husband David Eason. David was fired by MTV, a move that played out on television in June, after he posted homophobic tweets. July saw Jenelle's ex, Nathan Griffith, attempting to get full custody of their son, Kaiser, after MTV aired a road rage incident that showed Jenelle pulling out a gun with 8-year-old son Jace in the car. She ended the year with another headline-making incident, though MTV cameras weren't rolling this time: Jenelle was hospitalized following an alleged assault by David. She later said it was a "drunk and dramatic misunderstanding," claiming she'd tripped and fallen by a fire. The story got more complicated after 911 audio was released by TMZ, which featured a distraught Jenelle sobbing and telling the operator, "My husband, he just assaulted me."
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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta" can always be counted on to serve up a yearly scandal or two. This time, it centered on former "RHOA" star Kim Zolciak-Biermann, who appeared intermittently this season but managed to get herself into some pretty hot water by the time the Season 10 reunion aired in April. Kim was accused of being racist when her comments about former bestie-turned-frenemy NeNe Leakes' home being a "roach nest" irked the current "RHOA" stars, who claimed the reference had racial implications due to the fact that it alludes to impoverished black women living in the projects. During the reunion, Kim said that was "reaching," and later attempted to set the record straight after the reunion taped. The scandal didn't stop with the reunion but continued on social media when NeNe added fuel to the fire, writing in an Instagram comment that Kim and her "whole family are racists." The result of all of this? Kim has said she will never return to the franchise again.
"Southern Charm" star Thomas Ravenel was arrested for assault and battery in September. The charges stem from sexual assault claims made by multiple women including his former nanny, known to Bravo viewers as "Nanny Dawn," who was featured on the reality show as she cared for his two children, Kensington and Saint, with co-star Kathryn Dennis. The legal troubles have resulted in Thomas leaving the popular show, though he's admitted no wrongdoing and even insinuated that the network was making things up, stating: "I'm not doing the show anymore. In the contract they have the right to fictionalize your story. They took advantage of me. I decided I've got too much to lose and informed them I'm not coming back." This is not Thomas' first run-in with the law. He had to resign from his position as South Carolina's state treasurer back in 2007 after being indicted on federal cocaine distribution charges.
A major money "Situation"! "Jersey Shore" star Mike Sorrentino was sentenced to eight months in prison in October. He was charged with conspiracy to commit fraud back in 2014 after the government claimed he didn't pay his fair share of federal income tax on his $8.9 million income from 2010 to 2012. The Situation pled guilty to one count of tax evasion and agreed to a plea deal back in January — which nearly prevented him from shooting "Jersey Shore Family Vacation" with his old co-stars. Fortunately, he was able to join in the fun before finding out his fate. But ahead of turning himself in to serve his sentence (he has to report to prison in January), Mike decided it was time to get hitched! He married longtime love Lauren Pesce in November.
He's been the subject of gay rumors before, but "The Real Housewives of Potomac" husband Michael Darby found himself in the spotlight again after being charged with sexual assault of a male crew member in September. The spouse of cast member Ashley Darby allegedly grabbed the butt of cameraman Orville Palmer while filming the show earlier that month after which, Orville claimed, Michael gave him a "flirtatious look." Orville said he told him to stop and told his supervisor about what happened before going to authorities. The claim resulted in Michael being criminally charged with felony assault and misdemeanor improper sexual contact — and it did nothing to assuage the barrage of gay rumors that have been discussed heavily on the show. In October, the Montgomery County State Attorney's Office opted to not prosecute Michael over the incident and he was able to resume filming the Bravo franchise that month.
Bachelor Nation was shocked this September when "Bachelor in Paradise" sweetheart and single mother-of-two Amanda Stanton was arrested for domestic battery in Las Vegas. It all went down after a bachelorette party where security was called due to a noise complaint. The original story spun was that while security guards talked to Amanda's boyfriend, Bobby Jacobs, Amanda intervened and allegedly shoved Bobby in the process. The violent act led security to call the cops, and Amanda was arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence. Authorities responding to the incident later explained that things were much more physical than just a shove and included Amanda hitting Bobby while he was in bed and swinging a hotel room telephone at him. Bobby also told police she punched him and kicked him after he didn't answer her calls that night. Despite the violent night that ended with Amanda behind bars, the couple are still together. Amanda pleaded not guilty to a count of misdemeanor domestic battery in October.
Luann de Lesseps had a rocky 2017, and 2018 didn't treat her much better — at first. The star wrapped up 2017 with an arrest after allegedly attacking a police officer in Palm Beach, Florida, on Christmas Eve, which resulted in her checking into an alcohol treatment center, where she spent the beginning of 2018. Over the summer, the "The Real Housewives of New York City" star faced family drama — ex-husband Alexandre de Lesseps and their children, Victoria and Noel, filed a lawsuit against her in July, claiming she breached a stipulation of her divorce settlement by failing to create a trust "for the benefit of her two children" after selling their former home. Luann then elected to return to rehab for the second time this year, which meant she missed this season's "The Real Housewives of New York" reunion taping, though she allowed pal Bethenny Frankel to speak on her behalf. Bethenny explained, "This weekend, Luann was surrounded by her girlfriends and decided — with their support — that in light of recent circumstances, it is the healthiest choice for her not to attend Tuesday's reunion taping so that she can continue in her healing process. Luann is now surrounded by a core group of people who truly have her best interests at heart and who are working to make sure she gets the help she needs." Luann checked herself out of rehab a little less than three weeks later and headed straight back to the stage to perform her cabaret show, "Countess and Friends," on tour. In November, TMZ reported some good news: Luann was 100 days sober.
2018 started off with a bang when it came to reality TV scandals — with one of the (truly) most dramatic seasons of "The Bachelor" to date. Nope, this time it wasn't Chris Harrison hyperbole! Season 22 saw Arie Luyendyk Jr. step into the show's titular role, which was already controversial. Arie competed back in 2012 during Emily Maynard's season of "The Bachelorette," and fans were perplexed by the throwback choice (he came in second to Jef Holm that season). That proved to be just the beginning, as Arie quickly turned into one of the sketchiest bachelors in the history of the show. Though he proposed to Becca Kufrin during the season finale, he later alerted producers to the fact that he would be breaking up with her in favor of reconnecting with his runner-up, Lauren Burnham. Yep, Arie had a camera crew on hand while he delivered the crushing news to an unsuspecting Becca. Making things worse? The two later had to reunite live on television during the "After the Final Rose" special, where Arie proposed to Lauren while Becca was on the premises.
We came to love Ronnie Ortiz-Magro as one half of crazy couple Ron-and-Sammi on "Jersey Shore" the first time around. When the show came back as "Jersey Shore: Family Vacation" (sans "Sammi Sweetheart" Giancola) in the spring, fans were introduced to another rollercoaster relationship starring Ronnie. The reality TV personality and girlfriend Jen Harley have been in an on-again, off-again messy relationship that has included social media attacks and plenty of police reports all year long. Complicating matters further, the two welcomed a daughter together in April. Their rifts made headlines due to their nasty nature. Despite the back and forth and a physical altercation in June that led to Jen being arrested for suspicion of domestic battery, the couple were back together by the fall, at which point Ronnie apologized to Jen and their daughter for his role in a cheating scandal that aired on his show in November.
John Cena and Nikki Bella's split was major entertainment news in April, and those watching Nikki's E! show, "Total Bellas," had a front-row seat to the demise of their relationship. After covering big events like their engagement party, the show also chronicled the end of their engagement. The birth of Nikki's twin sister Brie Bella's daughter, Birdie, prompted Nikki to realize she might want children, something that was a dealbreaker for John. The couple had a frank discussion about this serious issue and ultimately decided that it meant they needed to part ways. It seemed the couple might have had a change of heart in May after they were spotted together, but that ultimately wouldn't be the case. Nikki made a statement to People magazine in July, explaining things really were over: "After I called off the engagement, we tried to work on our relationship to get back to where it was, and in order to move forward with our wedding. After much time and soul-searching alone and together, we have decided to officially part ways."
"Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta" star Tommie Lee might have set a record in October when she was arrested two times in 24 hours. Yep, her first offense came after she allegedly slammed her daughter into a locker at the child's middle school, where she was then arrested for battery, aggravated assault and child cruelty. The VH1 star posted her $27,000 bond and then violated a court order requiring her to stay away from her daughter — within three hours of leaving jail — which meant she headed right back that night. It's certainly not her first time in the slammer — this September, she pleaded guilty to one count of DUI and one count of driving without headlights, which amounted to 48 hours in jail thanks to a plea deal following a 2016 arrest. She was also arrested in July and booked for disorderly conduct while under the influence after an incident outside of the Royal Peacock Club in Atlanta when she refused to move out of the road where a cop was directing traffic.
This one came as a shock to many fans of "The Real Housewives of Orange County." Former housewife Alexis Bellino and husband Jim Bellino filed for divorce in June after ending their 13-year marriage. The couple have three children, son James and twin daughters Melania and Mackenna, and always seemed to have a solid marriage on the Bravo reality show. In fact, Alexis was known to go to bat for her husband and defend him ruthlessly, even when fellow former housewife Peggy brought it to her attention that she'd had a fling with Jim in the past. The very Christian couple hit financial hard times in 2010 when Jim's real estate company filed for bankruptcy and they ended up selling their home in Newport Beach, California, shortly after. The two maintained that their split was a "mutual decision" and that there was "nothing provocative, alluring or sordid about the dissolution" of their union. After the news broke, Jim got some other "Real Housewives" stars involved in the drama — suing cast members Tamra Judge and Shannon Beador for $1 million after they talked negatively about him on Heather McDonald's "Juicy Scoop" podcast. Yikes!
Chad Johnson — you know, the villain from JoJo Fletcher's season of "The Bachelorette" that we all loved to hate — made headlines again in 2018. The reality star sued movie producer Christina Cimino in July after claiming she contacted him via Instagram and said she could get him movie roles, then failed to deliver. Not only did she not help him get onto the big screen, but she also had ulterior motives. Chad claims she lured him into meeting her in person and then made phone calls and texts that became "progressively more sexual and provocative," according to his documents. Though she originally offered him roles that would earn him $11 million, he believes that once he made it known that he didn't want anything sexual or romantic with her, those roles suddenly disappeared. He chose to sue both Christina and Sunset Studios, her employer, for assault, fraud and emotional distress. For their part, Sunset Studios told TMZ, "Sunset is not aware of any act or acts by any employee, officer or otherwise which they believe rise to the level of the alleged misconduct."
Bethenny Frankel's on-off boyfriend Dennis Shields tragically passed away at 51 this August. He died in his Trump Tower apartment of an apparent opioid overdose from prescription pills. It was later revealed that he had been prescribed oxycodone and vicodin for a back injury and combined the two and a sleeping pill, which caused the complications. Page Six reported that Dennis' friends speculated it could have been spurred by an episode of "The Real Housewives of New York City" that aired two days prior in which Bethenny discussed how Dennis wasn't the one for her. The episode showed Bethenny telling castmate Dorinda Medley that she wouldn't want to marry him. The couple had been up and down for some time. It's believed that they were off at the time of Dennis' death.
A familiar face joined the cast of "Teen Mom OG" this fall — Bristol Palin. Yep, the onetime teen mom of son Tripp signed on to have her story told on the popular MTV reality show, and as cameras rolled, her relationship with husband Dakota Meyer fell apart. MTV cameras caught one of their final arguments, which aired on the show's season premiere: a back and forth about military veteran Dakota's crippling battle with PTSD. It was an unusual way to enter a reality show, but fans applauded Bristol for sharing such intimate moments and opening up her life. The couple married in 2016 and share daughters Sailor and Atlee. Their divorce was finalized in August.
So a lot of people saw this one coming, but that didn't make it any less scandalous! Danielle Staub celebrated her 20th engagement this year — by letting the whole thing unfold on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" back in February. Despite her many engagements, it was only Danielle's third time making it to the altar. She wed Marty Caffrey in Bimini in the Bahamas in May, but three months later, they were no longer speaking. Things got even messier when Marty talked to Radar Online in July, accusing Danielle of "financial, verbal and emotional abuse" in a three-page statement. Up until that point, the two were still reportedly living together, but Marty eventually served Danielle with divorce papers in early September.
Just days before Khloe Kardashian was set to welcome their first child into the world, footage emerged showing her beau, NBA star Tristan Thompson, involved with multiple other women — all while Khloe was pregnant. The "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" star welcomed daughter True on April 12, just a few days after Tristan's cheating scandal broke. Despite outcry from her family and fans, Khloe chose to stand by her man, even allowing him to be with her during True's birth. Unfortunately, this news shouldn't have been too shocking: Tristan started dating Khloe in 2016 while his ex-girlfriend, Jordan Craig, was pregnant with their son, though Khloe has insisted she wasn't the other woman in that relationship.
Don't bite the hand that feeds you! It's pretty safe to say there's bad blood between "Flipping Out" star Jeff Lewis and his former close pal and Bravo boss, Andy Cohen. Bravo did not renew his contract in September, so to lash out, Jeff photoshopped a pic on Instagram in October that showed him standing in front of a white board with all kinds of phrases ranging from "Your 15 minutes are up" to "Better luck with radio" (alluding to his SiriusXM radio show "Jeff Lewis Live" on Radio Andy). Needless to say, Bravo honcho Andy was not amused and let Jeff know as much via text. Jeff then read those texts on the air during his SiriusXM show, which also didn't sit well with Andy. In response, Andy texted Jeff, "You're an a—–. Don't ever read my texts on air again." This text battle was prefaced by "Flipping Out" courting plenty of controversy earlier in 2018. Among the final nails in the coffin? The surrogate who carried Jeff's daughter, Monroe, filed a lawsuit against Jeff and Bravo for filming her giving birth without her permission. There was also a huge fight between Jeff and his "Flipping Out" co-star Jenni Pulos, which resulted in Jenni allegedly reporting Jeff to Bravo for "abuse and victimization" before parting ways with both the network and the controversial TV star and radio host. The drama will unfold on Season 11 of "Flipping Out" — likely its last.
Season 20 of "Big Brother" served up its fair share of controversy during the summer of 2018. Fans caught a lot of inappropriate behavior on the live feeds, including racially insensitive comments from contestants Rachel Swindler (left) and Angela Rummans. At one point, Rachel compared her tan to Bayleigh Dayton's skin tone, saying "my stomach is as dark as Bay," while Angela said, "I'm looking ghetto here with the skin coloration." The comments never made it to TV, but the women were reportedly issued a warning by CBS. And there were plenty more scandals to be had on the hit CBS reality show…
JC Mounduix was a lovable yet sometimes problematic houseguest this season. During his time in the "Big Brother" house, JC committed a laundry list of offenses. While explaining to houseguests why he didn't want to be referred to as a "midget," the gay, self-described "short guy" used offensive racial slang to compare the term. He also awkwardly asked fellow houseguest Rachel Swindler (seen in the previous slide) if she was transgender. Then JC made headlines for inappropriately touching female houseguests with an ice cream scooper and later slept in bed with houseguest Tyler Crispin and inappropriately touched and kissed him in his sleep. Despite a call from live-feed viewers (none of these infractions made it to the televised show), CBS didn't remove JC from the "Big Brother" house — and he actually went on to take third place!
It was love at first sight in the "Big Brother" house this summer for day trader Chris "Swaggy C" Williams and flight attendant Bayleigh Dalton. The two paired up during the first week and a showmance quickly blossomed. Swaggy C was evicted by week 3, but in that short time (23 days!), the two had already grown very close. So close that eagle-eyed live-feed viewers noted that Bayleigh was concerned she might be pregnant. She confessed this turn of events to fellow houseguest Haleigh Broucher in August. This was definitely a first during the show's 20 years — there'd never been a "Big Brother" pregnancy during the show before! Though it was never addressed on the televised show and it was only discussed on live feeds, Bayleigh later revealed that it was true, but that she unfortunately suffered a miscarriage. The couple did get a happy ending — Swaggy proposed on the show's season finale.
We watched Jenni "JWoww" Farley and Roger Mathews fall in love on "Jersey Shore" earlier this decade, then go on to marry in 2015, but their future is up in the air now. JWoww filed for divorce in September, citing irreconcilable differences and noting that their marriage had been rocky for months. The couple, who share daughter Meilani and son Greyson, aren't splitting quietly. Roger took to social media to vow that he wanted to win her back. "My wife filed for divorce. It's true. I'm just gonna keep it simple. I don't blame her. There's no cheating… She just grew tired of the repetitive pattern that we fell into with. Again, I'm not gonna get into details, but it was a repetitive pattern and not a good one," he wrote on Instagram. "But here's what's also true: I'm not done fighting. I'm gonna win my wife back. I'm gonna win her affection back. I'm gonna win her love back. I have no intentions of being a single dad. We're in counseling, so there is hope. It ain't over until the fat lady sings." For her part, it seems JWoww is amenable to that discussion. Just a month after filing, the two spent their third wedding anniversary together on a romantic date night that even included a horse-drawn carriage. Looks like we've got another complicated "Shore" couple on our hands…
He's innocent! That's Lauri Peterson's take on son Josh Waring's 2016 arrest. Though it took her two years to speak up, Lauri finally took to Twitter in March to defend her child after he was arrested for allegedly shooting a man and fleeing the scene in a stolen car in Costa Mesa, California. "After keeping silent for nearly 2 years in regards to my sons arrest, I am going to begin laying out the facts of his case and how easily it is to be falsely accused," Lauri tweeted. "I will lay out the facts starting from the day of the arrest. I'll let you be the judge but it is going to take me time to organize and far [too] lengthy for one tweet." She then retweeted an article from OC Weekly News that explained how another suspect received "special treatment" from police, and let followers know that her son being sober in prison was "the silver lining in this injustice." This wasn't Josh's first time in trouble with the law (he's battled addictions since he was a teen and has pleaded guilty to numerous misdemeanors and felony counts involving controlled substances in the past) — or unfortunately, his last, as he was charged with possession of contraband while in prison after his arrest.
It's been a while since they've graced our television screens, but reality TV star Kendra Wilkinson and hubby Hank Baskett officially called it quits this year. Kendra took to social media to make the announcement in April, sharing that their nearly nine-year marriage had ended. Their show "Kendra On Top" chronicled their struggles — namely, a cheating scandal in 2014. Hank allegedly cheated on Kendra with a transgender model while Kendra was eight months pregnant with their second child, daughter Alijah — and it nearly torpedoed their marriage. They tried to make things work and even appeared on "Marriage Boot Camp: Family Edition" in 2015. Their split this year doesn't seem to have been sparked by infidelity, but the drama has certainly continued to haunt them.
There's trouble brewing in Beverly Hills! Rumors ran rampant this fall that Lisa Vanderpump was estranged from the rest of her castmates as filming for "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" moved forward. She reportedly refused to take part in the cast photo shoot, which Erika Jayne confirmed on E!'s "Daily Pop," saying that it was "a fact" that Lisa had refused to be around the other housewives. Though it's not clear why Lisa isn't spending time with longtime pals like Kyle Richards, the reason she's not speaking to Dorit Kemsley seems to be a little more clear… and it all has to do with a dog! Dorit rescued a canine from Lisa's Vanderpump Dog Foundation, but after the dog allegedly bit one of her children, she re-homed the animal. Those second owners reportedly turned the pup in to a shelter, which called the Vanderpump Dog Foundation, which alerted Lisa.
TLC's "90 Day Fiancé" is one of the most underrated reality shows on TV, serving up plenty of drama as Americans work to bring their significant others to the States via the 90-day fiancé visa. One couple followed by TLC's cameras? Jorge Nava and Russian bride Anfisa Arkhipchenko, who've had a bumpy ride with his family calling her a gold digger and a paternity scandal involving Jorge and his ex-girlfriend's daughter. This September, Jorge was finally sentenced after being arrested with almost 300 pounds of weed in his car, a class 2 felony charge. Though his lawyer got it reduced to a class 4 felony, Jorge was still ordered to spend two and a half years in prison. Despite their unhappy relationship, it seems Anfisa will stand by her man and wait for him to get out of the slammer.