Reality TV provides us with some of the "realest" drama around, often beating our favorite scripted shows when it comes to scandal. The difference is, the craziness often continues once the cameras stop rolling. So which controversies captivated us in 2017? Wonderwall.com is rounding up the biggest real-life reality TV scandals of the year, starting with the "Flip or Flop" divorce. HGTV stars Tarek El Moussa and Christina El Moussa were permanent fixtures in the news at the beginning of 2017. In January, Tarek filed for divorce from his wife of seven years nearly eight months after they had a massive fight that resulted in Tarek fleeing their home with a gun back in May 2016. What followed was a series of alerts on the couple's old dramas and numerous new relationships — including a report of Tarek taking up with their children's former nanny and entering outpatient rehab, as well as Christina dating a hockey player and an ex-lover with a record of felony arrests. Despite their split, the reality stars opted to continue to shoot their show together and in August, Christina finally responded to Tarek's divorce petition — asking the court to cancel his request for spousal support while requesting it for herself.
Former "The Bachelor" star Chris Soules certainly shocked Bachelor Nation when news broke that he had been arrested. The farmer, who was always a fan favorite, was arrested on April 24 after his car hit a tractor driving on the road in his native Iowa. The tractor fell into a ditch, killing the driver, fellow farmer Kenneth Mosher, which led to Chris's arrest for allegedly leaving the scene of an accident causing a death. Chris is set to go to trial in January 2018.
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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta" fired one of its longtime cast members in May. Phaedra Parks, who joined the show during Season 3 and stayed on until Season 9, was dismissed from the show after she confessed to being the source of a date rape rumor involving co-stars Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker. The false information spread by Phaedra indicated that Kandi and her husband wanted to drug and sexually take advantage of co-star Porsha Williams. For her part, Phaedra apologized for repeating the information and specifically attempted to make amends with Porsha at the reunion show, but it was too late. The damage was done.
Who's the daddy? Kailyn Lowry had fans guessing who the father of her third child could be after she announced she was pregnant in February. The "Teen Mom 2" star didn't reveal the answer until May, when she confirmed that the father of her unborn baby was ex Chris Lopez, following months of speculation and hints that things weren't great between herself and the mystery man. She welcomed her third son in early August.
TLC drama! "Counting On" star Derick Dillard found himself in hot water after voicing his opinion about fellow TLC star Jazz Jennings in August. The husband of Jill Duggar Dillard attacked the transgender teen's show "I Am Jazz," tweeting, "What an oxymoron… a 'reality' show which follows a non-reality. 'Transgender' is a myth. Gender is not fluid; it's ordained by God." People immediately responded to the tweet, with many coming to Jazz's defense and others involving the network and alerting them to the perceived bullying. Derick took things one step further when he tweeted again and used the incorrect pronoun for Jazz, writing, "I want to be clear. I have nothing against him. I only have issue with the words and definitions being propagated here." For her part, Jazz took the high road and tweeted, "Every day I experience cyber-bullying, but I keep sharing my story. Today was no different." Then on Nov. 9, Derick doubled down, tweeting fresh comments about Jazz including, "I pity Jazz 4 those who take advantage of him in order 2 promote their agenda, including the parents who allow these kinds of decisions 2 be made by a child. It's sad that ppl would use a juvenile this way. Again, nothing about him, just unfortunate what's on tv these days." On Nov. 11, TLC announced that is was no longer featuring the father of two on the network. "We want to let our viewers know that Derick Dillard has not participated in 'Counting On' for months and the network has no plans to feature him in the future. We want to reiterate that Derick's personal statements do not reflect the views of the network," TLC tweeted. "TLC is proud to share the story of Jazz Jennings and her family and will continue to do so."
"The Real Housewives of Orange County" star Tamra Judge has made no secret of the fact that she's estranged from daughter Sidney Barney. The mother and daughter's rocky relationship has been mentioned often on the Bravo show, so when fans saw Tamra sharing a photo on social media of herself with Sidney on her daughter's graduation day, most assumed they were getting back to a good place. Unfortunately, that was not the case. In August, Sidney took to Facebook to rant against her estranged mother, explaining that she specifically asked Tamra to refrain from posting photos of her graduation on social media, but Tamra clearly did not comply. She also unloaded on Tamra as a parent, writing, "The reasons I left my mothers house are that she was neglectful (leaving us at home with no food or simply ignoring us entirely), she constantly put herself first and the biggest reason was that she was mentally and emotionally abusive. She was no mother to me."
In July, Rob Kardashian shocked everyone when he went on a profanity-laced Instagram rant. The object of his anger? Blac Chyna. The reality star posted photo after photo of his ex in the nude along with texts bashing her as a mother, insinuating she had been cheating on him and explaining how he paid for $100,000 worth of plastic surgery for the star to get back in shape after having their daughter, Dream. Rob also took aim at one of the men Chyna was allegedly cheating on him with — even going so far as to post a photo of the guy's number alongside messages showing him asking Rob for money. Days later, Chyna was granted a restraining order against her ex.
Before "Bachelor in Paradise" even hit the air, the show stirred up controversy. When allegations of sexual misconduct arose in June, producers suspended production and all cast members were sent home — with the fate of the show in limbo. It was soon revealed that two members of the cast, Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson, were involved in the scandal, and that an investigation was underway to determine whether or not Corinne was too drunk to consent to a sexual encounter that occurred in a pool. That investigation later found no evidence of sexual assault, thus clearing DeMario's name, and footage of the two cast members in question eventually made it to air — though the controversial incident was omitted. But the show implemented some pretty major changes after the scandal, including a bag check to search for prescription and illicit drugs and a two-drink-per-hour maximum for cast members.
Controversial "Dance Moms" star Abby Lee Miller was indicted on bankruptcy fraud charges way back in 2015, and this July, she started serving a 366-day sentence for her crimes. But before reporting to prison, Abby hired an incarceration expert, a former law enforcement official who coached Abby on how to act behind bars. The cast and crew of "Dance Moms," Abby's former show, were reportedly largely happy about her sentencing, with some even believing she deserved to do more time for her crimes.
It was the divorce everyone saw coming! "The Real Housewives of New York" star Luann de Lesseps and husband Tom D'Agostino filed for divorce in August, barely seven months after tying the knot. Fans of the show weren't the least bit surprised, as the relationship had been plagued with rumors of infidelity — most of which Tom himself owned up to ahead of their wedding. The couple reportedly got into a physical altercation at a New York City restaurant a month before they announced the divorce. No one was shocked when they eventually broke the news that they were dunzo. Then things took an even darker turn for Luann later in the year: She was arrested in Palm Beach, Florida, in the early-morning hours of Christmas Eve after an an alcohol-fueled incident in which she allegedly kicked a police officer and threatened to kill people — which left her facing five charges including four felonies.
"Big Brother" Season 19 started off with a bang! From bringing back fan favorite Paul Abrahamian to three showmances starting within the first week, the controversies would just keep coming for the houseguests. One contestant self-evicted after failing to disclose her post-traumatic stress disorder early in the season (Megan), while a fitness superstar (Christmas) broke her foot while playing around with another contestant and spent the rest of the season ineligible to compete in most physical challenges. Add to that the insane antics and multiple near-physical altercations houseguest Josh got involved in, and you have a house full of major chaos!
Though fans loved watching Rachel Lindsay's season of "The Bachelorette," when it came time for the star to pick her future husband, Twitter erupted with disappointment. All season long, the audience fell in love with many of the Dallas-based attorney's suitors, particularly Dean Unglert, Eric Bigger and Peter Kraus, so when Rachel selected the fourth option, Bryan Abasolo — the chiropractor from Miami with the questionably obsessive mother — fans were confused. Many assumed she was settling for the 37 year old, going with the sure-fire proposal since Peter was adamant about not proposing quite yet. Twitter user @LindsayJ51 summed it up best, tweeting, "This finale is telling women that all they need is a ring to be happy. This is a disappointing finale."
Most people don't have to answer to cyber bullies if they put on a few pounds, but when "The Real Housewives of Orange County" star Shannon Beador packed on weight, she had to address it on Instagram. Her weight gain, which was a storyline on the show this season, amounted to 40 pounds, which Shannon fessed up to on social media. She wrote in a lengthy post alongside a promo picture of herself from that season, "So let's just get to it. Yes, I have gained weight. A lot of weight. About 40 pounds to be exact. I have not had plastic surgery or fillers, it's just plain and simple weight gain. There are multiple factors that have contributed to my size and it will be addressed this season on the show. To those people who intend to write cruel or derogatory comments to me, I want to let you know you will be blocked and the comment deleted. Gaining weight and trying to take it off is a struggle that most women will face at some point in their lives. I am hopeful that my fans and viewers of the show will be supportive of my journey. I am very grateful and thankful to those people that have already reached out to me with their kind thoughts. ❤️ Let the season begin…"
It's not happily ever after for Amber Portwood! The "Teen Mom" star's tumultuous relationship with Matt Baier finally came to an end this summer after the duo's rough romance was documented on the last season of the show. The two had dealt with rumors of Matt's cheating, but the last straw came when the supposedly sober Matt offered Amber's co-star Catelynn Lowell a Xanax while the stars attended a press day for the show. He later underwent a lie detector test on camera that revealed incriminating evidence about his relationship with a certain woman, all of which led up to the cancellation of the couple's upcoming nuptials.
The Duggars were back in the news in May when Jill Duggar Dillard, Jessa Duggar Seewald, Jinger Duggar Vuolo and Joy Duggar filed a lawsuit in Springdale, Arkansas, requesting damages from the police, city and county prosecutors since the city released information on the family's infamous molestation case. In June, Josh joined in on the lawsuit, as well as a separate one against In Touch magazine, citing mental anguish and humiliation after the story was released. The documents state that Josh was "victimized and forced to relieve the painful and difficult circumstances of a traumatic experience as a juvenile." Strangely a few weeks later Josh withdrew himself from his sisters' lawsuit, only to file his own separate federal lawsuit against government officials in July, claiming "invasion of privacy and lack of due process."
Finally! Phaedra Parks and her ex Apollo Nida, who's currently serving time behind bars on fraud charges and has been engaged to another woman since late 2016, had their divorce settled in July. That marked a year after they were originally granted a divorce by default in July 2016 after Apollo seemingly failed to respond to Phaedra's 2014 divorce filing. Five months later, he contested the divorce on the grounds that he'd never actually been served the divorce papers or been given a chance to respond — and it turned out Phaedra misspelled his name on the documents — so he then filed for divorce from behind bars. Despite the long road to splitsville, the couple are now officially single.
"Shahs of Sunset" star Golnesa "GG" Gharachedaghi tied the knot with longtime love Shalom in February… but unfortunately the marriage didn't last long. The two separated in March after one month of marriage. "During the past few weeks, certain facts have come to GG's attention that have made her realize her marriage can no longer continue, and, in fact, should never have happened," the reality star's rep told E! News.
After his arrest in September 2016, Toby Willis, former star of TLC's "Willis Family," saw his day in court. Though he originally pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in March 2017, by July he pleaded guilty to four counts of child rape. The father of twelve received a sentence of 40 years in prison for his crimes.
A former "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" star found herself involved in a double murder…. thanks to her car. Kim DePaola, who appeared on the Bravo show from 2010-2013, allowed a friend of her son, Aaron Anderson, to use her car in March when tragedy struck. Two bodies were found in the vehicle, both burned and shot in the head, with Kim's son's friend identified as one of the victims. At the time of the crime Kim and her son Chris were in California, and Kim claimed that she thought the horrific events were "gang related."