20 Infamous TLC Stars That Are Virtually Unrecognizable Today

20 Infamous TLC Stars That Are Virtually Unrecognizable Today

No matter what decade it is, you can always rely on TLC to find the strangest, most fascinating, and most relatable people in the country. From the swelteringly-hot kitchens of Cake Boss to the orderly chaos of the Duggar household in 19 Kids and Counting, there was always someone to love, hate, and watch with awe. So if you’ve been wondering how those Gosselin kids are doing or if Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson ever re-joined the pageant world, then look no further.

1. Jon Gosselin

If Jon & Kate Plus 8 taught us anything, it’s that yes, raising a pair of twins and sextuplets is just as exhausting as it looks. Jon infamously left the show when he and Kate got divorced, and nowadays he’s working as a DJ. 

TLC/Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

2. Kate Gosselin

Who could forget Kate’s impressive child-wrangling skills and 2000s-era haircut?! After her divorce from Jon, the show changed to Kate Plus 8. After appearing on Dancing with the Stars, Kate re-joined reality TV with Kate Plus Date, which chronicles her dating life. 

TLC/Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

3. Stacy London

If we remember anything from What Not to Wear, it’s Stacy London’s sharp eye and enviable shoes. Though her second reality show, Love, Lust, or Run, ended in 2016, she’s still very much involved in both the fashion and reality TV worlds as an interviewer and speaker.

TLC/Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

4. Clinton Kelly

As the other half of What Not to Wear’s style duo, Clinton Kelly always knew when to poke fun at someone’s style and when to motivate. These qualities continue to serve him well with his current gig hosting Food Network competition shows. 

TLC/ D Dipasupil/FilmMagic via Getty Images

5. Kody Brown

Who could forget Kody Brown, the sole husband on the eye-opening show Sister Wives? The show is still going strong, and Kody’s family continues to grow: in addition to four wives and 18 kids, he also has three grandchildren. 

TLC

6. Meri Brown

As Kody’s first (and at the time only legal) wife on Sister Wives, it came as a shock when Meri and Kody divorced in 2014 so Kody could legally adopt his other wife’s children. They’re still “spiritually” married, and now Meri’s the proud owner of an inn. 

TLC/Meri Brown via Instagram

7. Robyn Brown

When Sister Wives began in 2010, the main story followed Robyn as she prepared to spiritually “marry” Kody. Since then, Robyn legally married Kody, and they had two more children together. She still appears on the show alongside her husband and his other wives. 

TLC

8. Janelle Brown

Janelle and Kody had been spiritually married for 17 years when Sister Wives premiered, and they share five kids together. She’s still on the show and also runs “Strive with Janelle,” a health coaching business. 

TLC

9. Christine Brown

Christine and Kody got married in 1994, and they have six children together. Just like her fellow sister wives, she still appears on the show, and she’s also branched out as a salesperson for Lularoe. 

TLC/Christine Brown via Instagram

10. Buddy Valastro

Before Cake Boss skyrocketed the Jersey-born baker to fame, Buddy was an established baker in his own right. In addition to running his family-owned Carlo’s Bake Shop, he’s opened a restaurant in Vegas and a few other bakeries around the country.

TLC/Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

11. Mama June

Otherwise known as Alana’s mother on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Mama June has had a rough few years. After chronicling her weight loss journey on Mama June: From Not to Hot, she was arrested for drug possession and lost custody of her youngest daughter, Alana. 

TLC/Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

12. Honey Boo Boo

When we first met little Alana and her loud, down-to-earth family on Toddlers & Tiaras, we instantly wanted to know more about them. Nowadays, the 16-year-old is living with her older sister, Lauryn, and performed in Dancing with the Stars: Juniors. 

TLC/Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

13. Jill Duggar

The second Duggar daughter to get married, Jill Duggar-Dillard is a certified midwife and the mother of two children. She and her sister Jessa were the focus of the spin-off series Counting On, though Jill has mainly embraced her role as wife, mother, and newfound dog-mom as of late.

TLC/Jill Dillard via Instagram

14. Jana Duggar

Despite being the oldest Duggar daughter, 31-year-old Jana has remained pretty quiet about her personal life. We know she occasionally appears on Counting On, and that she’s helped raise all 17 of her younger siblings. She’s an Instagram influencer, home re-modeler, and amateur cook, according to social media.

TLC

15. Jinger Duggar

Duggar #6 actually goes by Jinger Vuolo now, since she married Jeremy Vuolo in 2016. You can watch Jinger’s family grow alongside her older sisters in Counting On, which recently covered the young couple’s move to L.A. 

TLC

16. Jessa Duggar

Despite being the fifth-born Duggar kid, Jessa has never given in to middle child syndrome, and was a stand-out on 19 Kids and Counting. Now married with three children and one on the way, you can still see the 28-year-old on TLC’s show Counting On.

TLC

17. Amy Duggar King

Who could forget cool cousin Amy on 19 Kids and Counting? Though she’d only pop in from time to time, she was a fan favorite, and later got a TLC special of her own. Now, she owns a clothing store and is the mother to a baby boy. 

TLC/Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

18. Matt Roloff

When Little People, Big World premiered in 2006, it opened the world’s eyes to the realities of living with dwarfism. Matt’s dedication to making the world more accessible to little people hasn’t wavered, and he recently wrote a children’s book titled Little Lucy, Big Race

Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Discovery/Wikimedia Commons

19. Amy Roloff

Though she and her ex-husband Matt got divorced in 2015, they both still appear on Little People, Big World. She’s now a motivational speaker, author, and business owner, and she also runs the Amy Roloff Charity Foundation.

Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Discovery/The World News Daily

20. Adam Busby

Any current TLC fans may recognize Adam Busby, the father of six kids (five of which are quintuplets) on OutDaughtered. You can follow along with the Busby family hijinks on TLC or on YouTube, where the family has their own channel.

TLC

21. Danielle Busby

As the matriarch of the Busby family, Danielle somehow makes taking care of six daughters look easy. Since the show started in 2016, she’s shared some of her parenting wisdom on the family’s website. She’s also a boutique owner! 

TLC

22. Jazz Jennings

One of the youngest people to identify publically as transgender, Jazz Jennings has always told her story with the clarity, depth, and strength of someone much older. That’s partly why she got her own TLC show, I Am Jazz, which aired its fifth season in 2019. At 20 years old, she’s also a spokesperson, author, and actress.

TLC/ Anthony DelMundo/WireImage

23. Bill Klein & Jenn Arnold

When The Little Couple premiered in 2009, the world immediately fell for Bill Klein and Jennifer Arnold, a married couple who both have skeletal dysplasia. In recent years, the couple has moved to Texas, adopted two children, and dealt with Jennifer’s cancer diagnosis. The 12th season premiered in 2019, with another season no doubt in the works.

Mark Von Holden/WireImage/Dr. Jennifer Arnold via Instagram

24. Theresa Caputo

With her sky-high hair, unbelievably long nails, and unique ability to “tawk to the dead,” it’s no surprise Theresa Caputo became a star. Though her show was canceled due to the pandemic, she still has a touring show that will no doubt return once it’s safe to do so. 

TLC/ MediaPunch/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

25. “Fake” Long Island Medium?

Oh, and have you ever wondered if Theresa’s “gift” is the real deal? If so, it might come as a surprise that the Long Island Medium isn’t completely authentic. There’s apparently one simple trick behind Theresa Caputo’s readings, and it doesn’t exactly require a trip to the Twilight Zone.

Good Housekeeping

26. Theresa’s Secret

Caputo reportedly checks out her client’s social media channels before sitting down for a reading. Apparently, this gives her enough inside information to move the session in the right direction. Who needs a crystal ball when you have Facebook? Don’t be too mad at Theresa, though — reality TV is full of embellishments, exaggerations, and downright lies…

27. American Anti-Idol

It’s well-known that American Idol hand-selects contestants for the judges to critique. Yes — every single contestant. Even the bad ones. All those cringe-worthy scenes of terrible singers? Producers make sure those happen. Where do you think all that sad story footage comes from?

Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for bBooth Inc

28. Mixed-up Words

Producers will twist contestants’ words to make them sound like they’ve said something that they 100% did not say. They’ll put ideas in their heads with calculated questions, then ask contestants to respond in a complete sentence. You know, to make editing easier. Editing lies.

The Artiface

29. Loose Scripts

Jersey Shore was one of many shows exposed for having a “loose script,” which is basically a run-down of the scenes prepared ahead-of-time. Who was talking, who was fighting, who was crying — all planned. We’re slightly more relieved for mankind.

Photo by Michael N. Todaro/Getty Images

30. Coaching

If there isn’t a script, there is a coach. TLC shows are guilty of giving “roles” to their talent, even if they don’t make sense. Reality TV showing real people? Nah. We want to see people pretending to be the “bitchy” sister or the “mean” boyfriend… right?

Christina Bryson

31. False Reactions

If you’re ever on a reality show, make sure to keep all your reactions low-key. Otherwise, they may be used to express feelings you didn’t really have. Your big laugh at a funny joke may be used to react to a fellow contestant’s embarrassing moment!

Big Brother

32. Food Temperature

Ever wonder how long it takes for judges on cooking shows to actually eat the food the contestants prepare? If you’ve been concerned about steak getting cold while photos are snapped, you’re not alone. On Top Chef, Tom Colicchio insisted that cooks make two dishes to avoid this kitchen no-no.

U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Vernon Cunningham

33. Survivor is REAL

Can’t figure out how Survivor could fake all those disgusting, dangerous stunts? That’s because they don’t! Thank goodness there’s at least one show doing it right. Yes, they have to film the contestants’ arrivals a few times over, but who doesn’t love a good entrance?

Survivor

34. Get ‘Em Wasted

Producers will actually get contestants drunk or high for dramatic TV. Seem illegal? Well, it used to be much easier to than it is now. Watch an old episode of any MTV reality show and it’ll be pretty obvious. Is this really what makes good TV?

MTV

35. No Sleep or Food

Another creepy producer trick is starving contestants and depriving them of sleep. This is often used in romance or cooking shows where contestants have to stand around for hours. Tension needs to run high to get those dramatic rose-throwing and cake-spilling moments.

The Bachelor

36. Gordon’s Secret

Gordon fakes pretty much his entire schtick. Sorry, folks, but he’s a nice guy with a mean exterior, not the other way around. At least, that’s what people say. All those surprised dinner guests on his show? Usually friends and family of the crew who know that’s not the real Gordon.

Hell’s Kitchen

37. Producing Rumors

Again with the producer drama! Even favorites like RuPaul’s Drag Race have been accused of forcing rumors among contestants. Honestly, we’d love to see what these shows look like without all the bull.

Ru Paul’s Drag Race

38. Fake Bouncing

Bouncers at real locations are told what kind of drama to expect ahead of time. If they didn’t, imagine the potential damage! These two are going to fight, this one’s going to punch this one, and you guys are going to pretend to kick them out. Cool? Please don’t sue us.

Brooklyn Vegan

39. Soft Scripts

The difference between a “loose script” and “soft script” comes down to the specific topics being discussed. On The Hills, for example, stars were told what to talk about in order to avoid hours of silence and awkward conversation. This we can understand, but there’s still something weird about it.

Karen Daniels

40. Not Total Divas

On the other hand, some shows are straight-up, full-on scripted. This goes for Total Divas, a show with an entirely predetermined storyline and script. With a writing team on their side, no wonder things got so out of control!

Total Divas

41. Bad Interventions

How helpful can Intervention really be if addicts are asked to buy their drugs for the camera? Yep, that’s how low these producers go. People are even asked to get in fights with their friends and family! Wait a minute… isn’t the “surprise element” the whole point of an intervention?

Intervention

42. No Judgement

Don’t tell your grandma, but the participants on shows like Judge Judy and People’s Court are not actually receiving sentences. In fact, each party is promised a settlement amount ahead of time! They’re just volunteering to scream at each other for your grandma’s viewing pleasure.

Judge Judy

43. Surprise Ingredients

Wow, those cooking show contestants really knew how to incorporate that “surprise” rare spice from Tanzania! That’s because they weren’t actually surprised. Contestants are told exactly what surprise elements await them ahead of time to avoid tears and breakdowns.

Master Chef

44. Paid Actors

The show Family Jewels with Gene Simmons was entirely scripted and filled with paid actors. Every single person the family interacted with was fake. What can we say? Big stars like that don’t want to risk having their reputations ruined.

Photo by Brian Ach/WireImage

45. Man Vs. Lawsuit

Man Vs. Food was a death sentence waiting to happen. Adam Richmond often got terribly sick from eating the bizarre foods his producers put in front of him. Eventually, the show went from Adam giving himself food poisoning to Adam coaching others in eating competitions… and giving themselves food poisoning.

Man vs. Food

46. America’s Got Lies

Maybe America has some talent, but not the way we see it on America’s Got Talent. Contestants don’t stand a chance at winning because the losers have already been slated. Contestants sing what they’re told, agree to a fake backstory, and accept their losses. Fun.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

47. Storage Wars

Similarly, the secrets behind A&E’s Storage Wars came out during a legal dispute. Dave Hester, one of the series’ main characters, filed a law suit and claimed the show was almost entirely fake.

A&E

48. Storage Wars Secret

Hester said that producers would add valuable items to lockers in order to make purchases appear more impressive. He and the network settled out of court, but no one ever confirmed or denied manipulating the storage units.

G.N Miller/ NY Post

49. Cake Boss

Any fan of food TV is probably familiar with Buddy Valastro, AKA The Cake Boss. While all of his sweet treats were genuine, one thing about the show wasn’t as authentic.

50. Fake Surprise

While every customer undoubtedly acts surprised when they see their cake, the reactions are embellished. They generally tell the shop exactly what they want beforehand; while they’re probably impressed, they more or less know what’s coming.

51. Not So Real Housewives

Things can get pretty messy on The Real Housewives, but did you know that most of the drama is fake? One famous cast member seemed to confirm it during a public trial.

52. Scripted Fights

While testifying under oath, Teresa Giudice said that the show was scripted. Most of the fights are apparently fake or otherwise manipulated for TV; the show might be entertaining, but it’s far from real.

Us Weekly

53. The Voice

Perhaps unsurprisingly, The Voice is also quite a bit less real than the producers would like you to believe. In 2015, one band’s lead singer blew everything wide open…

Hollywood Reporter

54. Invitation Only

The lead singer of Philadelphia’s Low Cut Connie explained that he was invited to appear on the show. The Voice, it seems, relies on pre-selected musicians rather than truly random auditions.

Senia Lopez / WXPN

55. Drag Race

Fans of Ru Paul’s Drag Race know that the show has plenty of drama and spilled tea, but not all of it is real. One queen shared how things are staged behind the scenes.

56. Soundbites

Jaremi Lee Carey, who performs as Phi Phi O’Hara, claimed that producers would encourage backstage drama. They would also reportedly use snarky soundbites out of context, in order to create their preferred narrative.

Phi Phi O’Hara/ Instagram

57. Keeping Up With the Kardashians

It’s probably not surprising, but Keeping Up With the Kardashians is full of fake drama. But what moments are real, and which plot points are carefully manipulated behind the scenes?

People

58. Phonies

While it’s tough to know exactly which moments were faked, clues suggest that many iconic scenes aren’t exactly real. The date of Khloé’s arrest, for example, doesn’t seem to align with the anniversary of Rob Kardashian’s death.

In Touch

59. Pawn Stars

Not everything on Pawn Stars is exactly as it seems. Despite airing on the History Channel, the show isn’t always completely beholden to the facts. But how do things really work inside the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop?

Youtube

60. Planned Out

None of the main cast actually work behind the counter and every item is vetted in advance. Furthermore, any potential sale you see has been carefully planned out for the cameras.

History.com