TV’s first reality show, “The Real World” premiered more than two decades ago, and it had a dramatic effect on the television landscape. In the years since, hundreds of reality shows have hit our screens, keeping viewers hooked for weeks and even months at a time. Reality TV is bigger than ever in America, with shows such as Big Brother and American Idol gaining ratings rivaling those of the Super Bowl. But just what are your favorite reality stars from over the years doing now?
Eva Marcille – America’s Next Top Model
Eva Marcille won America’s Next Top Model in its third season. Her prizes not only included a CoverGirl cosmetics contract, but a modeling contract with Ford Models, and a spread in Elle magazine. This top model went on to star in “The Young and the Restless” in 2008, being nominated for two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series. Since early 2018, Marcille has appeared on the TV show “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”.
Alyssa – True Life: “I Have Tourette’s Syndrome”
Reality TV was massive in the 90s and True Life on MTV was one of the very first. In a memorable episode called “I Have Tourette’s Syndrome”, a girl called Alyssa captured our hearts as she struggled with everyday life. She also underwent brain stimulation surgery in the hope of curing her disability. In the last two decades, Alyssa made huge progress and is currently undergoing treatment for OCD at Roger’s Memorial Hospital.
Nene Leakes – Real Housewives of Atlanta
Nene Leakes is best-known for appearing on the reality TV series “Real Housewives of Atlanta”. After this, she ended up on various hit shows such as “Glee” and “The New Normal”. That’s not all. Leakes also tried her hand at stage acting when she starred in the Cinderella on Broadway in 2014, Leakes also created a fashion line called ‘The Nene Leakes Collection’, which went on to become one of the biggest successes the Home Shopping Network has ever seen.
William Hung – American Idol
“American Idol” is loved by millions, not just for the raw talent it unveils, but for its joke stars too! One classic example of the latter was William Hung, who gained instant fame after for his hilarious cover of the Ricky Martin song “She Bangs”. His performance got 2 million YouTube views, leading Hung to release his first album in 2004. Amazingly, Hung took everyone by surprise when he switched career and became a technical crime analyst for the LA Police Department!
Snooki – Jersey Shore
Snooki is without a doubt one of the most legendary reality TV stars. She originally rose to fame on the MTV show “Jersey Shore” and in the years since she has appeared on various top talk shows, including the “Late Show with David Letterman”, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”, and “The View”. As well as her TV work, Snooki has also released her own brand of cosmetics. Snooki got hitched to her fellow Jersey Shore cast member Jionni LaValle in 2014.
Flavor Flav – Flavor Of Love
Flavor Flav was in the hip-hop group Public Enemy and was well-known for his larger-than-life personality, including his catchphrase “Yeeeaaah Boooy!!!”. The eccentric musician eventually entered the world of reality TV when he starred in the show “The Surreal Life”. He went on to get his own show called “Flavor Of Love”, which was basically about a group of women who spent their time fighting over the rapper. Since then, Flavor Flav has run Flav’s Fried Chicken (FFC) – a fried chicken restaurant in Iowa.
Audrina Patridge – The Hills
After first starring in the show “Laguna Beach”, Patridge has gone on to become one of the world’s most recognizable reality stars. She moved on to “The Hills”, and then became the host of “1st Look” in 2013. She even competed in the ever-popular “Dancing with the Stars” in the show’s 11th season. After a rocky relationship with her Hills co-star Justin Bobby, the pair eventually split for good. This was soon followed by another tumultuous relationship, this time with the BMX star Corey Bohan.
Stephen Colletti – Laguna Beach
Stephen Colletti was another star of “Laguna Beach”. He burst onto the scene in 2004 and quickly became the show’s heartthrob. He appeared in the first two series, however, he didn’t return for the third series. As he neared the end of his time on the show, Colletti began to appear on other TV shows, including “Total Request Live” and “Celebrity Undercover”. In 2007, he took a big step in his acting career and joined “One Tree Hill”, receiving rave reviews for his performance.
Puck – The Real World: San Francisco
When Puck appeared in “The Real World: San Francisco” back in 1993, he really did steal the show. He received much criticism from his housemates who disliked his obnoxious character and dirty ways. However, things went from bad to worse for Puck at the turn of the millennium, as he was charged with DUI and battery. These days, Puck is a lot more domesticated and lives a peaceful life with his family on a chicken ranch in California.
New York – Flavor of Love
The TV show “Flavor of Love” had so many big personalities, and one of them was most definitely the girl nicknamed “New York,” Tiffany Pollard. Viewers were shocked when she was eliminated from the show, however, it wasn’t long before she was being offered all sorts of new opportunities. Pollard starred in her own show on VH1 called “I Love New York”. This was quickly followed by another TV show called “The Next:15”.
Jack Osbourne – The Osbournes
For a long time, Jack lived in the shadow of his famous father, Ozzy. However, over time he has made a name for himself in the entertainment world. Originally part of the show “The Osbournes”, he’s since been pursuing a career as a travel reporter, presenting TV shows such as BBC’s “Saving Planet Earth” (2007) and “Jack Osbourne: Adrenaline Junkie” (2005–09). In the summer of 2016, he and his dad Ozzy traveled the world in the History Channel’s reality show “Ozzy & Jack’s World Detour”.
Richard Hatch – Survivor: Borneo
Hatch is best known for winning the first season of the reality TV show “Survivor”, as well as being a contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice” and “The Biggest Loser”. However, these days, he is more famous for being convicted of tax evasion, for which he served three years behind bars. You’d think that Hatch would have learned his lesson after his stint inside, but in 2011 he went back to prison when he violated his probation.
Zulema Griffin – Project Runway
In 2004, Zulema Griffin grabbed fame with both hands when she appeared on Bravo’s “Project Runway”. Although she didn’t win the show, she eventually became a successful fashion designer. With a variety of fashion lines to her name, she’s been more than a little busy since her time on the show. As well as this, she’s been a model for FORD and has also been credited as a costume designer on the movie “Our Sins”.
Aubrey O’Day – Making the Band
Aubrey O’Day became famous when she was picked to be part of the girl group, Danity Kane, on “Making the Band” on MTV. After a short time with the group, she went on to model for various magazines, including Playboy and Bender. Impressively, she also performed in the hit musical “Hairspray” on Broadway. O’Day has appeared on other reality TV shows over the years, such as “Celebrity Apprentice”, “Celebrity Big Brother 18” and “Famously Single”.
Evan Marriott – Joe Millionaire
Construction worker Evan Marriott was the guy chosen to play the millionaire Joe in the reality show “Joe Millionaire”. 20 women competed for his affection, with Zora Andrich being the last woman standing. They ended up splitting the $1 million prize money and going their separate ways. Marriott went on to become an underwear model, however, he now lives a simpler life away from the spotlight. He has left fame and reality TV behind and has gone back to working in the construction business.
Juan Pablo – The Bachelor
Juan Pablo made a big mistake when he made negative comments about gay couples whilst on “The Bachelor”. He became one of the most disliked contestants in show’s history! The former Venezuelan soccer player was cast for the reality series’ 18th season and went on to pick Nikki Ferrell at the end of the show. However, their relationship didn’t last long, and they split at the end of 2014. Pablo currently works as a Miami-based sports and music consultant.
Bethany Frankel – Real Housewives of New York
Frankel was an original cast member in the 2008 reality show, “The Real Housewives of New York”. After three seasons, she took some time away from the show to pursue other interests, including slipping on her dancing shoes and competing in “Skating with the Stars”. Impressively, she came second. After making a guest appearance on the show “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”, Frankel decided to rejoin RHWONY in its final season. She’s also the founder of Skinnygirl Cocktails.
Kate Gosselin – Jon & Kate Plus 8
Kate starred in the reality series “Jon and Kate plus Eight”, alongside her husband at the time. However, it seems that Jon and Kate were victims of the “reality TV curse” as unfortunately they split in 2009. The show was retitled “Kate Plus 8”, with the show highlighting her life as a single mom following her divorce. The latest season of the show premiered in July 2017. Kate has also appeared on the 10th season of the show “Dancing with the Stars”.
Tila Tequila – A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila
Tequila rose to fame when her MySpace page got noticed by MTV. When this once-popular social networking site was all the rage, she used it to her advantage and went on to be offered her own reality TV show in 2017 called “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila”. She also appeared on the reality show, “Celebrity Big Brother”. Tila ended up being booted off the show when producers found out about her making controversial comments about Hitler!
Jon Gosselin – Jon & Kate Plus 8
When Jon split from his wife, Kate, he was booted off their reality show, “Jon & Kate Plus 8”. Things went downhill for him after that, and he was accused of cheating on Kate with Hailey Glassman, her plastic surgeon. However, there were apparently other reasons why Kate wanted to divorce Jon. He now works for Green Pointe Energy in Pennsylvania, whilst also working as a DJ and waiter on the side. He has fallen in love again with a nurse called Colleen Conrad.
Brooke Hogan – Hogan Knows Best
Brooke Hogan shot to fame when she appeared on “Hogan Knows Best”, which featured her famous wrestler dad and their family. After the show finished, VH1 approached Brooke and offered her own spin-off reality show, “Brooke Knows Best”. The show first aired in 2008 and followed Brooke’s life whilst she lived in Miami. Away from the world of reality TV, Brooke chased a career in music and in 2015, she went on to release an alternative country single called “Girlfriend”.
Jamie Chung – The Real World: San Diego
Jamie Chung joined “The Real World: San Diego” in 2004. She was a college girl who worked hard but played harder, and she became a popular cast member. After the show ended, she took part in the “Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Inferno II” and won, however, she chose to quit reality TV soon afterward. Chung decided to focus on pursuing an acting career and went on to star in movies such as “Grown Ups” and “The Hangover Part II”.
Kirstie Alley – Kirstie Alley’s Big Life
Kirstie Alley was already a successful actress when she turned her sights to reality TV in 2010. “Kirstie Alley’s Big Life” followed her life as a single mom, as well as focusing on her weight struggles. Alley took part in the 12th series of the show “Dancing with the Stars” and has since gone on to have a complete weight transformation. These days, she’s still working in film and TV, appearing on the British reality show “Time Crashers” In 2015.
Jennifer Hudson – American Idol
When Jennifer Hudson auditioned for “American Idol” in 2004, she can’t have known the success that was about to come her way. Her career took off in a big way, despite not winning the show. She has become a successful singer and actress, releasing two albums and even winning an Oscar. She gained high acclaim for her performance in the movies “Dreamgirls” (2006). She was a guest judge on “The X-Factor UK” in 2011 and is currently a coach on “The Voice UK”.
Lauren Conrad – Laguna Beach/The Hills
The MTV reality show “Laguna Beach” gave many of its stars the exposure they needed to conquer Hollywood, and this was definitely the case for Lauren Conrad. She was cast in the spin-off series, “The Hills”, and this helped Conrad to become a household name. She went on to partner with the department store Kohl’s, setting up her own clothing line. She’s also an author, having written a number of bestselling books based on her life.
Clay Aiken – American Idol
Clay Aiken came second on the second season of “American Idol”. He was extremely popular, and his singing career went from strength to strength. He later ventured away from making studio albums and landed a role on Broadway playing Sir Robin in Monty Python’s “Spamalot”. He worked with UNICEF in the early 2000’s and developed a passion for making a difference. This led him to run for Congress in North Carolina. Unfortunately, he later lost in the general election.
Kat Von D – LA Ink
Kat Von D was an incredibly talented tattoo artist on the popular reality series “Miami Ink” and “LA Ink”. The show tracked the lives of the artists in the famous tattoo parlors, as well as taking a closer look at the creations that their high-profile clients decided to have inked on their bodies. This gorgeous model is an advocate for animal rights and works closely with PETA. She also promotes her own makeup brand, which is cruelty-free.
Spencer Pratt – The Hills
Spencer Pratt played a bad boy on MTV show “The Hills”. He was famous for his playboy lifestyle and volatile personality, ensuring he was no stranger to controversy, both on and off the show. Spencer and his long-term girlfriend, Heidi, (or ‘Speidi’ as we like to call them!) are still happily married and recently had their first child, a son called Hunter. The pair have appeared on various reality TV shows, including “I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!” and “Celebrity Big Brother”.
Jay Manuel – America’s Next Top Model
For most viewers, Jay Manuel was one of the best parts of “America’s Next Top Model”. The enigmatic former creative director was the show’s co-host and had some of the most revealing facial expressions and memorable one-liners. After the show, Jay went on to host “Canada’s Next Top Model”, before deciding to step away from the reality circuit and take up new opportunities. Manuel went on to launch his own line of cosmetics called “Jay Manuel Beauty”.
The Situation – Jersey Shore
Mike Sorrentino is commonly known as “The Situation”. He caused a huge amount of drama on the MTV show “Jersey Shore” providing TV gold for six seasons. When Jersey Shore ended, Sorrentino found himself in high demand and we went on to appear in several other reality shows, including “Celebrity Big Brother” “Dancing with the Stars” and “Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars”. He headed to rehab for alcoholism at one point, however, he eventually cleaned up his act and got engaged to his college girlfriend.
Adrianne Curry – America’s Next Top Model
Curry won the first season of “America’s Next Top Model”, leading her to become a breakout star whose face was suddenly everywhere. The model grasped her new fame with both lands, landing roles in shows such as “Ballbreakers”, “The Surreal Life”, “GameShow Marathon”, and My Fair Brady, after she met Christopher Knight, who would go on to become her husband. Curry found a knack for cosplay and often appears at the biggest Comic Cons in very impressive outfits.
Bill Rancic – The Apprentice
Bill Rancic has come a very long way since he won the very first series of “The Apprentice”. He used his entrepreneurial skills in order to start various different companies, all of which have been big successes. As well as being a restaurateur and real estate developer, Bill married E! presenter Giuliana Rancic and they appear together on their own reality TV show titled “Giuliana and Bill”. Bill has taken up a number of hosting roles, including on the show “Kitchen Casino”.
Carson Daly – MTV TRL
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about MTV in the ‘90s? For many people, it’s “Total Request Live” with Carson Daly! Daly hosted the very biggest music artists on each show, as well as debuting new music. Since then, he has produced and hosted various other shows, including NBC’s “The Voice”. Whilst Daly has been linked to various celebrity beauties over the years, he is now happily married to Siri Pinter, with whom he has three children.
Carmen Electra – Till Death Do Us Part: Carmen and Dave
After becoming famous for playing Lani McKenzie on the iconic TV series “Baywatch”, Carmen’s career skyrocketed. In 2002, she and her then-husband Dave Navarro starred in their own MTV show called “Carmen and Dave: A Love Story”. However, it wasn’t as successful as hoped and it fell apart, with their marriage doing the same not long after. Since then, Carmen has appeared in several movies, as well as making various TV cameos.
Amber Portwood – Teen Mom
Amber Portwood appeared on the popular MTV show “Teen Mom”. With her lively personality and tumultuous on-off relationship with Gary, her daughter’s father, Amber had viewers hooked from the very first episode. In 2017, it was reported that she had clashed with producers and would be departing the show. Amber has had several incidents with the law, even spending 18-months in prison for possession of drugs and for failing to complete a court-ordered rehab program.
Kimora Lee Simmons – Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane
Baby Phat designer, Kimora Lee Simmons, took her first steps into the world of reality TV in 2003 as a judge on the show “America’s Next Top Model”. In 2007, she was offered her own show, which would be called “Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane”. It would document her life, business, and family over a four-year period. In 2011, she starred in a second show called “Kimora: House of Fab”.
Anne Robinson – The Weakest Link
Many people thought Anne Robinson was one of the nastiest women on TV when she began eliminating contestants with her famous phrase “You Are The Weakest Link, Goodbye”. They loved to hate her but they couldn’t get enough of her harsh put-downs and wry smiles. Today, the 72-year-old host looks a bit different and has confessed to going under the knife a few times over the years. She said, “If you want to expose bare arms in primetime, there’s no choice”.
Barbara Evans – Teen Mom
“Teen Mom” was one show that viewers loved to hate, but who could forget Jenelle Evan’s mother, Barbara? She always seemed to have something to say about Jenelle’s relationships and parenting skills. She just really wanted to keep her wayward daughter on the right track, however, it didn’t seem as if she had very much success. Barbara has admitted that no matter what happened on the show, it was nothing compared to her rough upbringing.
Cesar Milan – Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan
Cesar Milan appeared on our TV screens in 2004 when the show “Dog Whisperer with Cesar Milan” first aired. Everyone was immediately in awe of his incredible ability to train even the most badly-behaved dogs. As a result of the show’s success and his amazing skills, Cesar had three books published, including “How to Raise the Perfect Dog” and “Cesar’s Way”, all of which were New York Times bestsellers and sold millions of copies.
Fiona Horne – Mad, Mad House
After hosting the show “Mad, Mad House” back in 2004, Horne has explored other areas of the entertainment world, including singing in the Australian rock band Def FX. She took another stab at reality TV in 2006, starring in “Australian Celebrity Survivor: Vanuatu”. She has also starred in TV shows such as “Pets of the Rich and Famous” in 2011 and “Ronn’s Garage” in 2012. These days, she has gone in a completely new direction and is studying to be a pilot.
Justin Guarini – American Idol
Although Kelly Clarkson was crowned the winner of the first season of “American Idol”, runner-up Justin Guarini still went on to do great things. He signed a record deal with RCA, however, his debut album, “Justin Guarini”, only sold 146,000 copies and before long he had been dropped. He also starred in musicals, including the Broadway productions of “Wicked”, “Mamma Mia!” and “Cake Off”. He continues to appear on TV, as well as commentating on shows such as “Today”, “Larry King Live”, and “MSNBC”.
Kevin Federline – Chaotic
Kevin Federline was a dancer and a rapper and before he became famous for marrying everyone’s favorite pop princess, Britney Spears. Their whirlwind romance was featured on Brit’s reality show, “Chaotic” and they went on to have two kids together. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out and the couple broke it off. Federline went on to appear in other reality TV shows, including “Excess Baggage” and “Celebrity Fit Club”. In 2013, he remarried and had two children with his volleyball player wife, Victoria Prince.
Elizabeth Hassleback – Survivor: The Australian Outback
The show “Survivor: The Australian Outback” rocketed Elisabeth Hasselbeck to fame. Even though she didn’t win it, she would still go on to do great things. She got her big break when she became the host of “The View”. However, there’s a lot more to Hasselbeck than her star persona. She’s also very vocal about her political views, which are largely conservative. In fact, she was even invited to host “Fox News” due to her passion for politics.
Ty Pennington – Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
Ty Pennington was everyone’s favorite host on the show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”. He was also the carpenter on TLC’s “Trading Spaces”. He went on to create a line of furniture in with Sears, as well as participating in a community program through the Sears American Dream Campaign in an attempt to give back. Pennington also published the book “Ty’s Tricks: Home Repair Secrets Plus Cheap and Easy Projects to Transform Any Room”.
Mama June – Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo
It was obvious as soon as “Toddlers and Tiaras” aired that Mama June was the star of the show. She became a huge hit with audiences, which meant that TLC gave her own show with her family. It was called “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”. The show followed her family and featured their crazy antics each day. After the show was canceled, Mama June dropped 300 pounds, documenting it on “Mama June: From Not To Hot”.