An OG leaving a "Housewives" show, racism allegations, a deportation drama and a few franchise firsts — 2019 was a big year for reality TV! Before we head into 2020, Wonderwall.com is rounding up the major moments in reality television this year that you might have forgotten. First up? We have one word for you: PuppyGate. This dominated the entire Season 9 of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" to the delight and disdain of viewers. The scandal centered around a dog, Lucy Lucy Apple Juice, that Dorit Kemsley adopted from Lisa Vanderpump's rescue organization that somehow ended up in a Los Angeles-area shelter. Dorit's story? The dog bit her husband and kids so she found the pup another home. That's where things got messy — since it ultimately ended up in a shelter, Lisa was livid, and the scandal only intensified as other cast members like Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave and Kyle Richards got involved. Lisa was also later accused of selling the story to tabloids. The fallout resulted in Lisa — an original housewife and major star of the franchise — refusing to film half of the season, failing to show up for the reunion and then leaving the show entirely. Keep reading for more of the biggest reality TV news of the past year…
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2019 introduced America to a new guilty pleasure! The dating show phenomenon across the pond, "Love Island," came stateside this summer. In July, CBS debuted the addictive reality series that follows singles trying to find love over the course of five weeks. Though it didn't quite reach the same level of hype as the British series, the new show did do well enough to score itself a second season in 2020. And for those hoping to hear more accents on their appointment TV? Hulu offered up all the U.K. seasons to binge!
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It was a long road to "I do," but they did it! Season 7 of "Vanderpump Rules" centered around the fanfare ahead of Jax Taylor and Brittany Cartwright's fairy tale wedding. The couple, who've been through their fair share of controversy thanks to Jax's infidelity, tied the knot in June in Brittany's native Kentucky. Their co-stars were all on hand to celebrate on the big day, with Scheana Shay, Ariana Madix, Stassi Schroeder, Kristen Doute, Lala Kent and Katie Maloney-Schwartz all serving as bridesmaids, while Tom Sandoval and Tom Schwartz were on hand as best men. No doubt the drama of the big day will play out when the Bravo show returns for its eighth season.
Before "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Joe Giudice completed a three-year prison term for bank, mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud in March 2019, a judge ruled that he should be deported to Italy. While Joe's lawyers fought the decision, he was transferred from prison right into Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, where he remained until October. Per his request, Joe was released to wait out his appeal ruling in his native Italy. As for his status with wife Teresa Giudice? The couple taped a special with Bravo exec Andy Cohen during which they made it sound like divorce could be in their future. Days later, Teresa and their four daughters flew to Italy to see Joe. Just before Christmas, People magazine reported that during that trip, Joe and Teresa mutually decided they should separate after 20 years of marriage. "They discussed their future when Teresa and the girls went to Italy in early November and they agreed that each had to move on. They are doing so amicably and very slowly," a source close to the family told the magazine, adding that despite Joe and Teresa's split, "there are no plans for divorce" yet.
This past season of "The Amazing Race," Season 31, was a delight for CBS reality fans. Contestants included former "Amazing Race" stars, "Big Brother" houseguests and "Survivor" contestants. But at the end, a veteran "Amazing Race" team ended up proving victorious. Colin Guinn and Christie Woods, the life partners from Season 5, won the race.
Many seasons of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" have been touted as the "most dramatic ever," but Hannah Brown's Season 15 of the "The Bachelorette" truly lived up to the hype. By the time Fantasy Suite dates rolled around, not only did she admit to getting intimate with contestant Peter Weber in a windmill (twice!), but she also was forced to dismiss Luke Parker on the spot after he judged her for being sexually active before marriage. But that wasn't even the biggest scandal of the season — that would come later… after she handed out the final rose and had a picture-perfect proposal on primetime television. Her top pick, Jed Wyatt, turned out to have had a girlfriend back home when he started the show. The woman in question spoke to People magazine about their relationship, revealing Jed had told her he loved her and that he'd be calling after he finished filming. As a result, Hannah dumped Jed — the trust was gone — confirming on the "After the Final Rose" segment that their engagement was over.
Former "Teen Mom 2" star Jenelle Evans and husband David Eason found themselves in a serious scandal this spring. David shot and killed the family's French bulldog, Nugget, after it nipped at their 2-year-old daughter, Ensley, and fans were up in arms in the wake of the disturbing news. Jenelle stayed by her husband's side despite the violent behavior and though the controversial couple originally tried to backpeddle and claim the story was made up after facing a legal investigation and temporarily losing custody of their kids, David eventually confessed to killing the dog to People magazine in September. In October, Jenelle — who was let go by MTV earlier in the year — announced that she was divorcing David.
Netflix finally produced a guilty pleasure reality TV hit in 2019 — "Selling Sunset." The addictive show feels like a hybrid of "Million Dollar Listing" and "Real Housewives" as it follows the lives of gorgeous real estate agents at The Oppenheim Group who are trying to sell multimillion-dollar homes in Los Angeles. There are even some celebrity ties — Chrishell Hartley (second from left) is married to "This Is Us" star Justin Hartley. And realtor Heather Rae Young (third from right) started dating "Flip or Flop" star Tarek El Moussa in 2019.
Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino's inmate days are behind him! This year, the "Jersey Shore" star went to prison and completed an eight-month sentence for tax evasion after he was prosecuted for failing to pay taxes on $8.9 million in income. After being booked into a federal correctional facility in January, Mike was released in September. He and wife Lauren Pesce tied the knot in November 2018 shortly before he started his sentence. In November 2019 they revealed they suffered a miscarriage.
Another season of "Big Brother," another round of controversies. Season 21 saw houseguest Jack Matthews (eighth from right) — who bears a striking resemblance to Jason Momoa — get in hot water over some controversial comments. He was deemed a racist after he called Asian American houseguest Isabella Wang (third from right) "rice pudding." Viewers were also horrified by his disgusting comments, including aggressively saying he'd "stomp a mud hole" through houseguest Kemi Fakunle's (sixth from right) chest and referring to her as "disgusting" and a "maggot." The season's winner, Jackson Michie (seventh from left), also wasn't immune to controversy. Mere minutes before his win was announced, he was also accused of being a misogynist and racist during his time in the house. The accusations seemed to come as a shock to the 24 year old, who still seemed stunned and upset even after receiving the news he'd won. He later told Us Weekly that he doesn't "see race or gender" and that he hated "that someone may think that out there."
A celebrity singing show that incorporates intricate and insane head-to-toe costumes? That's what "The Masked Singer" offered up and it become an unexpected hit on FOX this year. 2019 saw two seasons of the Nick Cannon-hosted series — the first in January, the second in September. Among the surprising stars behind those crazy costumes? T-Pain, Donny Osmond and Gladys Knight, to name just a few in the eclectic group.
"Bachelor in Paradise" made headlines this summer during Season 6 when the show featured the first same-sex couple in "The Bachelor" franchise history. After contestant Demi Burnett, who was attached to Derek Peth at the time, revealed she'd been dating a woman back home before the show, Bachelor Nation got to meet the lady. Her girlfriend, Kristian Haggerty, who'd never appeared on the show, then headed to paradise. The two ended up engaged at the end of the season though split in late October.
Season 38 of "Survivor" included a first for the franchise. "Survivor: Edge of Extinction" debuted in May 2019 and saw player Chris Underwood become the first winner to take top honors despite previously being voted out during that same season. Though he was the third person voted off, he ended up being the second contestant to return after winning the final reentry challenge and eventually became Sole Survivor.
Giving us a great dose of '00s nostalgia this year? "The Hills: New Beginnings," which brought back the MTV classic with both old and new faces. Though Lauren Conrad and Kristin Cavallari weren't in the mix, newcomers Mischa Barton and Brandon Thomas Lee took their places alongside Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag, Stephanie Pratt, Jason Wahler, Audrina Patridge, Justin Bobby, Whitney Port, Brody Jenner and the rest of the Los Angeles-based party gang. And, as usual, (manufactured?) drama ensued…
"90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days" was a massive hit on social media this year — amassing celeb fans like Chrissy Teigen. And for good reason! Season 3 of the series, which aired in the fall, provided some addictive drama as viewers watched Americans fall in love with foreigners and decide to travel abroad in hopes of an engagement. One of the hopefuls? Darcey Silva, who's no stranger to the "90 Day Fiance" franchise. She appeared on the first season of this spinoff courting another man — Jesse Meester from the Netherlands. Fans previously watched their turbulent relationship come to an end, so this time everyone was rooting for her relationship with Englishman Tom Brooks to work out. (Spoiler alert: It didn't.)
Season 11 of "The Real Housewives of New York City" was packed with plenty of drama — mostly surrounding Luann de Lesseps and her drinking and legal issues. Co-stars accused her of not taking her sobriety seriously following two stints in rehab in 2018, the second of which came after a Bethenny Frankel-led intervention. Unfortunately, their fears weren't unfounded — Luann relapsed in April and failed an alcohol test after having two mimosas. This time, though she was offered the chance to head back to rehab, she turned it down because of her cabaret show's touring schedule. The star was grilled about the incident on this season's reunion, as it happened after cameras stopped rolling. Luann noted, "every day is a struggle," while Ramona Singer shared her opinion that Luann was still drinking on the side.
In July, "Teen Mom" star Amber Portwood was arrested for domestic violence after a fight with Andrew Glennon, her boyfriend and younger child's father — and reports alleged that the reality star brandished a machete. She previously was arrested and charged with domestic violence in 2010 after a fight with Gary Shirley, the father of her older child. Amber served 17 months in jail for that offense. This time, Amber lost custody of her toddler son in the wake of the incident with Andrew. Amber spoke about the drama on the "Teen Mom OG" reunion special in September, claiming that Andrew had already moved on and denying allegations that a machete was involved in the incident. The next month, TMZ revealed that Amber agreed to plead guilty to two felonies — domestic battery and intimidation — in exchange for 906 days of probation. The same month, Andrew took to Instagram to vent about alleged emotional abuse he suffered during their relationship and to claim that Amber once hit on an Uber driver in front of him. Amber denied that too. Then in early November, Ring camera audio and video footage recorded the night of the altercation — that appears to back up the machete claims — was made public by a YouTuber covering Amber's case.
Season 23 of "The Bachelor" featured Colton Underwood's quest to find love, but the ending proved pretty unique for the franchise. After frontrunner Cassie Randolph decided to go home on Fantasy Suite night, Colton literally jumped a fence amid his frustration and ran away from the production. He then made history by sending two of his top three ladies home — Tayshia Adams and Hannah Godwin — and continued to fight for the affections of Cassie (who'd basically dumped him at this point). The end result? Colton left the show without a fiancée, but he did manage to convince Cassie to keep dating him.
"RuPaul's Drag Race" won the best reality show statue at this year's Primetime Emmys in September. It marked the second year in a row that the popular series won (RuPaul himself has four wins for outstanding reality/reality competition program host). The show's most recent run, Season 11, saw Yvie Oddly take home the top prize.
"Jersey Shore" star Ronnie Ortiz-Magro continued to have a more than rocky relationship with Jen Harley, his now ex (again) girlfriend. The couple, who share daughter Ariana, seemed to be back on the right path in March 2019 when they threw a joint birthday party for their little girl — which was filmed by "Jersey Shore: Family Vacation" crews. That was followed by a fake April Fools' Day wedding that tried to make fans think things might really be working for this tumultuous duo. But unfortunately, September saw Jen accusing Ronnie of cheating, and in October, Ronnie was tasered, handcuffed and arrested on domestic violence and kidnapping charges after a fight with Jen in Los Angeles where their daughter was present. That ultimately resulted in five misdemeanor charges for Ronnie. In the wake of that dramatic incident, the couple are reportedly over for good. Their ups and downs will be chronicled on Season 3 of "Jersey Shore: Family Reunion."
Hannah Brown not only starred on "The Bachelorette" this summer. During the fall, she took over TV screens as a frontrunner on season 28 of "Dancing With the Stars." The former beauty queen took home the Mirrorball Trophy in November alongside her partner, pro dancer Alan Bersten, beating out competitors Lauren Alaina, Ally Brooke and Kel Mitchell.
In December there was sad news out of Bachelor Nation when alum J.P. Rosenbaum announced he'd be diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome. His wife, former "The Bachelorette" star Ashley Herbert, told fans the news on Instagram, explaining that he was in treatment and on the "long road to full recovery." The disorder affects the body's immune system and will require J.P. to remain hospitalized so doctors can monitor his symptoms. The couple, who've been married since 2012 and share two children, remain optimistic.