Dramatic Facts About Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains

June 23, 2022 | Eli Artman

Dramatic Facts About Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains

Reality TV may not be known for having the most believable content—but it sure as heck has some of the spiciest! From clashes of personality to Machiavelian levels of competitiveness, there are certain characters who know how to bring out the wildest drama this genre has to offer. From the bizarre to the shocking, here are 50 unforgettable facts about some of your all-time favorite reality TV villains.

1. Kristen Cavallari: She Faked It

Nobody can forget the memorable reality show villain, Kristin Cavallari. Fans of Laguna Beach undoubtedly remember her as the jealous jerk who constantly initiated unnecessary drama within her friend’s relationship. As it turns out, however, there is more to this story than meets the eye. Once the show went off the air, Cavallari gave a tell-all interview where she spilled all the show's secrets.

During this interview, Cavallari alleged that Laguna Beach's producers instructed her to act a certain way—and that they basically left her no choice. She wanted everyone to know that she wasn't really the villain she appeared to be on TV.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsShutterstock

2. Phi Phi O'Hara: The Most Heated Rival

Few figures from RuPaul’s Drag Race are as controversial as Phi Phi O’Hara (Jaremi Carey), who most fans likely associate with endless complaints about fellow contestants—most notably Sharon Needles, who would go on to win that season. The drama between these two got so intense that it escalated into a now-infamous on-air fight. Oh, but that was only the beginning.

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3. Round Two Didn’t Help

O’Hara was already salty about Needles’ eventual win—and that attitude carried over into the following season. Despite being given a second chance on the show, O’Hara continued to wind up in numerous fights with the other contestants. And the cherry on top? He eventually wound up boycotting the reunion show after how poorly this experience went.

All of this drama led O'Hara to make the most drastic decision of all.

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4. This Caused The End Of An Era

I guess our villain wasn’t kidding about being unhappy with how Drag Race went. Following the drama on the show, O'Hara announced that Phi Phi O'Hara is no more. After years of performing drag in the persona of Phi Phi, Jaremi Carey—Phi Phi’s real name—announced that both the name and character would no longer be used.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsGetty Images

5. Dave Hester: He Kicked Up The Dirt

Another iconic reality TV figure that fans just love to hate is the one and only Dave Hester of Storage Wars fame. Hester catapulted himself to reality TV infamy on the auction show with his trademark “Yuuuuupp” catchphrase and his obnoxious habit of intentionally bidding up the prices of storage lockers that his co-stars are trying to buy—much to their chagrin.

But this is far from the only gripe with him that fans have.

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6. He Provoked A Serious Fight

In a 2015 episode, a mild disagreement took place between the auctioneer and one of the show’s stars over whether or not a bid had been made in time to be counted. Inexplicably, Hester inserted himself into the situation—goading the auctioneer for not paying close enough attention, and mockingly insinuating that he was bad at his job.

This quickly erupted into a full-blown, on-air physical altercation between Hester and the popular auctioneer, leaving many fans even more annoyed with him than usual. But his negative impact on the show didn’t end there.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsStorage Wars, A&E

7. He Became A Whistleblower

A few years into Storage Wars’ run, Hester shocked everyone by alleging that the entire show was fake, and that all the auctions were staged. He even went so far as to claim that the show’s producers deliberately plant interesting items inside the lockers on which the characters will be bidding, and collude with the storage facility owners and/or pay for some of the bids in order to do so—all for entertainment value.

Hester’s going rogue against his bosses had consequences, though.

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8. He Faced Consequences

After Hester came out with his disturbing allegations about the nature of his show, he paid a high price: The network promptly fired him from his role. For the next several seasons, the show continued without him. But Hester fought back and filed a wrongful termination suit against his former employers. Of course, some of his other allegations turned out to be even more extreme.

History of Broadcasting FactsShutterstock

9. He Shared Some Disturbing Claims

Among the many other unexpected claims Hester made against the Storage Wars, there's one crazier than all the rest. He claimed that the show’s leaders arranged for certain female members of the cast to get plastic surgery. This is something that seems more reminiscent of shady studio practices of Old Hollywood than a contemporary, regulated workplace.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsGetty Images

10. Jax Taylor: He Had A Few Bad Habits

If fans know Jax Taylor for anything on Vanderpump Rules, it’s his unchanging habits of cheating on partners, lying about his behavior, and angering everyone around him. With credentials like that, he has definitely earned his spot on the list of reality TV’s most notorious villains of all time. On one occasion, he took things to the next level—cheating with his best friend’s girlfriend..while she was literally asleep in the next room.

But at times, his bad behavior escalated even further than that.

Reality TV FactsShutterstock

11. He Didn't Escape

During a 2015 visit to Hawaii, Taylor swiped a $300 pair of sunglasses from a local shop—and got caught. He later claimed that he’d had a few too many drinks that night, and had been intoxicated at the time of the incident. The star had to appear in court, where a judge handed him a series of hefty fines and roughly a year of probation.

But if we take a closer look at Taylor's past, even more unsavory details rise to the surface.

What Happened To These Reality Stars When The Cameras Stopped Rolling? factsShutterstock

12. TV Wasn’t His First Brush With Fame

While we tend to find many reality TV stars charming because they’re just ordinary people until being thrown into the spotlight, Taylor had a more storied past. Prior to getting into television, he spent a number of years living the high life in Europe while working as a professional model. During this period, one of his roommates was fellow model and future movie star, Channing Tatum.

Small world!

Premiere Of Universal Pictures' 'Hail, Caesar!'Getty Images

13. Tiffany Pollard: She Was The Instigator

Another of reality TV’s most unforgettable villains is the one and only Tiffany Pollard, who most of us first met as the contestant nicknamed “New York” on the show Flavor of Love. This girl quickly dominated the show—and not in a good way. She picked a fight with almost each and every single one of her fellow contestants at some point or another. The consequences were diabolical.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsShutterstock

14. She Sought Revenge

Pollard didn’t just argue with fellow contestants on the show: On one occasion, things got physical. After getting eliminated, one of her main rivals (nicknamed “Pumpkin”) wanted revenge for the way Pollard had treated her. She went the whole extra mile and spat at Pollard. Pollard did not take kindly to this, and attempted to start a physical retaliation at the show’s cast reunion.

Sadly, this was only the tip of the iceberg.

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15. She Suffered A Terrible Loss

Pollard had plenty more drama in her life besides her issues with her fellow contestants on Flavor of Love—including some pretty serious issues with her parents. When Pollard became pregnant, her mother refused to believe it and caused the star significant amounts of stress over the situation. Whether directly or indirectly, this saga ultimately led to an unfortunate miscarriage.

Pollard's life was a mess—and it even showed on camera.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsGetty Images

16. She Had A Change Of Heart

After receiving breast implant surgery that she wasn’t happy with, Pollard underwent a scary procedure. She wanted her implants removed. But being who she is, that alone wasn’t quite enough—so she chose to have the procedure broadcast on the national television show Botched. As her twisted life played out for all to see, however, Pollard was just getting started.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsBotched, E!

17. She Created A Mystery

In 2020, controversy struck again. During an interview, she nonchalantly announced her new engagement and spoke very highly of her groom-to-be—but she refused to reveal his identity. To this day, many fans are left to wonder who this prince charming is, and what happened with their purported relationship.

Somehow, Pollard's kept a firm grasp on her relevance—but stardom didn't come without its risks.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsGetty Images

18. She Expanded Her Talents

Pollard made such a splash on Flavor of Love that she has since been given a number of other shows of her own. In addition to three seasons of her own dating show, I Love New York, she also starred in a show chronicling her efforts to become an actress and another one chronicling her efforts to secure a “normal job". But with time, one of these shows would fall apart for a very dark and unexpected reason.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsI Love New York, VH1

19. Her Show Became Collateral Damage

No one completely knew why the network canceled Pollard’s spinoff show I Love New York after its third season—but Pollard herself has a theory. They filmed the show in the aftermath of a bizarre and high-profile murder case in which a former reality show contestant took his wife’s life—and Pollard suspects this incident might have spooked the crew out of continuing with their own show.

Canceled show or not, there's another reason why Tiffany Pollard's face will on in the current culture.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsShutterstock

20. She Became Royalty…Sort Of

You know you’re important when you’re in a meme—but what if you’re in all the memes? Well, Pollard is one of the few people who knows what that feels like. In the many years since her initial run on Flavor of Love, she has discovered a whole new fan base as the “queen of reaction memes”. GIFs of her unmistakable emotive face responding to anything and everything have become one of the most popular social media gags of all time.

That's the lighthearted side of her legacy...and then, finally, there's its controversial side.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsShutterstock

21. She Went Out In A Blaze

Despite not winning the first season of Flavor of Love, the show’s host Flavor Flav took an unprecedented step in dating show history and brought Pollard back on for the second season—giving her another chance to win his heart. When she failed to win the ultimate prize yet again, things didn’t end well: Pollard initiated a verbal fight with Flav on the air, accusing him of wasting her time and bringing her back for nothing.

Never a dull moment with this one!

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsWikimedia Commons

22. Kevin O'Leary: He's Not So Wonderful

Business mogul Kevin O'Leary is another reality TV superstar in the villains' hall of fame. Quite tellingly, he’s sarcastically known on Shark Tank as Mr. Wonderful. While this show is generally about aspiring entrepreneurs having a shot at their dreams coming true, O’Leary’s role in the show is pretty much to be the guy who crushes those dreams and stops deals from happening.

But it’s not just the contestants who have a hard time with O’Leary…

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsFlickr

23. He Got Political

In 2017, at the height of the show’s popularity, O’Leary took a brief hiatus from being a TV villain to run for Prime Minister in his native country of Canada. Seeking the Conservative Party’s leadership, things actually went better than you might expect for someone with such an antagonistic public image—he led the polls for several months and only dropped out when it appeared he would be unable to win the crucial province of Quebec.

Which makes sense, because a reality TV star could never become the leader of a country…right?

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsWikimedia Commons

24. He Joined A Country—For Money

Many Shark Tank fans wonder whether O’Leary’s villainous behavior on the show is just a TV persona, or whether he really is that heartless when it comes to putting his own net worth above all else. Well, while seeing into the inner workings of his mind is well beyond the scope of this article, it is noteworthy that O’Leary obtained citizenship for himself in the United Arab Emirates. His sole reason?

He wanted to do business and makes investments there. It was all for the money. Unfortunately for him, it's also his money that has gotten him into some serious trouble.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsShutterstock

25. Fans Went After Him

O’Leary has had his fair share of real-life scandals over the years—some of which have been directly related to his role on the show. For example, in 2021, a group of fans tried to drag the villainous shark into court after paying for an entrepreneurship course that turned out to be nothing but a fraudulent scam. The course had advertised itself as having O’Leary’s endorsement and involvement.

O’Leary, for his part, denies having anything to do with the scam. But this would be far from the worst scandal he would ever draw headlines over…

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26. He Had A Fatal Incident

A shocking story broke in the summer of 2019, revealing that a terrible accident took place during O’Leary’s summer vacation in Muskoka, Ontario. It was an unspeakable tragedy. While on the lake with his wife, the couple’s boat collided with another couple’s boat, taking the lives of two passengers. Authorities charged O’Leary’s wife with “careless operation of a vessel".

However, the process ultimately found her not guilty, instead of faulting the driver of the other boat for failing to have his lights on. Heartbreakingly, the story doesn’t end there.

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27. Not Everyone Believes Him

You’re probably wondering how a story about a couple losing their lives on vacation could get any darker—but it does. This is because many fans did not take the story at face value, and believed that O’Leary himself could have been driving the boat and blamed the accident on his wife so as not to cause public embarrassment for him. This conspiracy theory became very widespread in the period following the initial reports.

Luckily for Mr. Wonderful, a video has since emerged demonstrating that his wife was, indeed, the driver on that fateful night.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsShutterstock

28. Michael Sorrentino: The Drama Lover

What better place to start than with one of 21st-century entertainment’s most unforgettable characters—Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino. This Staten Island bottle of attitude stirred up a ton of drama with his co-stars during all six seasons of Jersey Shore—including frequently lying and interfering in other people’s relationships.

But his on-screen antics would prove to be nothing compared to his real life.

Fashion in History FactsShutterstock

29. He Became A Villain In Real Life

Shortly after the show’s original run, authorities became aware of some shady business practices in which Sorrentino and his brother were allegedly engaged. Namely, they had set up a corporation to pay for their own personal expenses. They'd hidden close to 9 million dollars worth of income. Naturally, the brothers failed to pay taxes on any of this. And soon, they both quickly found themselves in hot water.

Jersey Shore FactsShutterstock

30. He Did His Time

Although the case dragged on for several years, the Sorrentino brothers eventually had to serve time behind bars—in our star’s case for only eight months, but in his brother’s case for two full years. But here's the controversial part. Since his brother had also been accused, Sorrentino made a plea bargain deal with prosecutors in order to achieve this reduced sentence, which he served in 2019.

This allowed him to sidestep the five-year sentence the system initially felt he deserved.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsGetty Images

31. He Got Off Easy

While fans of Michael Sorrentino may have felt bad at the thought of him serving time behind bars, his punishment might not actually have been as harsh as it sounds. The Jersey Shore star actually served his short sentence at a place called Otisville—a relatively comfortable minimum-security facility that caters to white-collar offenders serving short sentences.

But although Sorrentino paid for his bad-boy ways in a cushier prison, this wasn't exactly his first time at the rodeo.

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32. He Had A Dark History

Before his tax problems emerged, Sorrentino had already been treading a dark path. During the show’s initial run, the star villain had to take some time away between the filming of the fifth and sixth seasons to be treated for a serious substance use problem. Apparently, he had been misusing prescription medications. But even this story wasn’t quite that simple.

Jersey Shore FactsShutterstock

33. He Tried To Cover Things Up

Before the public learned all the details of Sorrentino's substance problem and treatment efforts, certain reports were already spreading salacious rumors. At first, Sorrentino denied all allegations, tweeting, “Don’t believe everything you read or hear”. Finally, when the reality of his stint in rehab became evident, he finally came clean.

He claimed that he'd picked up the bad habit due to "exhaustion". Unfortunately for Sorrentino, his audiences were quickly losing interest in the troubled reality star.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsShutterstock

34. His Other Gig Went Embarrassingly Bad

While some entertainers can jump seamlessly between mediums, this doesn't seem to be the case for Sorrentino. In 2011, he appeared as one of the comedians at the roast of then-fellow reality TV star and future US president Donald Trump—but his performance did not go well. The audience booed and jeered as he delivered his awkward and unfunny jokes.

In fact, things got so bad that comedian Jeff Ross interrupted his set out of mercy. Oh, but the backlash didn't end there.

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35. He Got A Reverse Sponsorship

In addition to these antics, 2011 also saw a massive blow to Sorrentino's ego. The popular fashion brand Abercrombie & Fitch offered to pay him a significant sum of money to stop wearing their clothes in public. They feared that any association with him would make people dislike their clothes. The reality star took offense to this and tried to take the clothing company to court over the matter, but nothing came of the effort.

But despite his hard-luck times, Sorrentino hung onto his relevancy with all his might.

Olivia Wilde factsFlickr, Phillip Pessar

36. He Cashed In On His Success

I guess sometimes being the bad guy does pay! Michael Sorrentino garnered so much attention during his time as the Jersey Shore villain that he became the second-highest-paid reality TV star in the world in 2010. Thanks to various endorsement deals, clothing lines, music projects, and an autobiography (that he didn’t even actually write), only the iconic Kim Kardashian earned more than his five-million dollars that year.

With his bad reputation and millions in two, this TV villain is still kicking.

Jersey Shore FactsShutterstock

37. Fans Gave Him A Second Chance

Despite always having been considered the bad guy on the show during its initial run, times seem to have changed pretty drastically! In hindsight, fans now view him as one of the show’s most beloved and memorable figures. They even voted him the number one most likable character in the show’s history in March 2022—close to a decade after the show went off the air.

The network even invited him back to take part in the 2018 spinoff, Jersey Shore: Family Vacation. I guess absence really does make the heart grow fonder!

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsShutterstock

38. Omarosa: She Had A Feisty Attitude

Omarosa Manigault Newman, or just plain old “Omarosa,” as she prefers to be called, was one of the first major villains in the history of the reality TV genre. She's remained one of the most culturally relevant stars ever since. On the first season of The Apprentice, her aggressive attitude and cutthroat behavior caught the attention and respect of then-host Donald Trump.

And time would have a funny way of showing that Trump never forgot the impression she made.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsShutterstock

39. She Threw Accusations Around

Calling Omarosa’s public life over the years a spectacle would be a major understatement. Few people know drama to her extent. In 2004, during an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Omarosa accused one of her fellow Apprentice contestants of having referred to her by an offensive slur—a claim that the accused denied vehemently.

But things would soon prove to be more complicated than they seemed.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsWikimedia Commons, Gage Skidmore

40. She Backed Down Under Pressure

In the aftermath of her making these allegations, Jimmy Kimmel invited Omarosa on his show—but she backed out as soon as she arrived for the interview and spotted a lie detector machine on set. This development certainly raised a few eyebrows, to say the least. But this little antic would pale in comparison to her next controversial saga.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsFlickr

41. She Suffered A Loss

In the early 2010s, Omarosa began dating actor Michael Clarke Duncan. During their relationship, Duncan had an unexpected heart attack and passed at the age of 54 after a two-month hospital stint. Now, this experience would be enough of a story for most people, and would probably leave most significant others scarred for life. But for Omarosa, it was only the beginning.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsShutterstock

42. She Had Suspicious Behavior

Many theories and allegations broke out alleging that Omarosa had engaged in some questionable behavior around the time of her fiancé’s passing. Duncan’s family claimed that she had recently changed the actor’s will. Not only that, but she manipulated and lied to him in the days leading up to his demise, even swiping some of his belongings to sell for personal gain without the permission of his family.

At one point, singer La Toya Jackson directly blamed Omarosa for her fiance’s passing—a claim which she vehemently denied. With controversies swirling around her, the star showed no sign of slowing down.

La Toya Jackson FactsShutterstock

43. She Got Political

Despite having been a lifelong Democrat, Omarosa joined the Donald Trump campaign in 2016. Her friend and former Apprentice boss felt she could help him with outreach to the African-American community. When Trump won the election, he hired Omarosa to serve in the White House as both a communications aide and a personal assistant.

Going from reality TV to the White House is certainly no small feat, but this would prove to be far from a success story.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsGetty Images

44. She Gave Herself A Promotion

Omarosa’s entire Trump administration stint became mired in controversy and media frenzy. On one occasion, the press objected when she invited members of the Congressional Black Caucus to visit the White House. She signed the invitation as “The Honorable Omarosa Manigault." She apparently bestowed this title upon herself, despite it not traditionally being used by aides.

The drama would only escalate from there.

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45. She Didn’t Leave On Good Terms

Another media frenzy erupted in 2017. Omarosa had left the White House, but no one could be quite sure what had happened. Rumors alleged that security personnel had to physically remove her from the building. Omarosa claimed to have resigned from her position, while the White House claimed to have fired her over “serious integrity issues” involving her use of official government vehicles, among other concerns.

Bizarrely, despite her claims to the contrary, Omarosa would later release a secret tape recording of her firing. This corroborated the story that opposed her own account of what happened. From there on out, the fire engulfing her raged out of control.

Hostage Situations factsWikimedia Commons

46. She Made A Major Boo Boo

After her time in the White House, Omarosa returned to reality TV shows such as Big Brother—but not before releasing a controversial tell-all book. Scandalously, it was all about her time in the government, and caused further drama in the process. Along with the release of her book, Omarosa leaked a series of secret tape recordings that she had made during classified meetings in the Situation Room.

Authorities considered these among the most potentially serious security breaches in White House history. She would soon learn just how big a mistake she had made on this front.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsShutterstock

47. She Paid A High Price

In relation to the ongoing investigations into her departure from the White House and whether she directly broke any serious laws in the process, a judge ordered Omarosa to pay out a whopping $61,585 fine to the US Treasury Department. Firstly, this was for violating ethics laws. And secondly, for intentionally failing to comply with disclosure requirements about her time working for the government.

This would not be the only time Omarosa came face to face with her former bosses in a courtroom setting.

Reality TV’s Most Infamous Villains FactsShutterstock

48. She Went After Him

Omarosa made a series of serious allegations against Donald Trump as an employer after her departure from the White House. Not only did she accuse him of repeatedly using inappropriate slurs around her, but she also joined a group of former staffers in pursuing compensation. Why? Well, in their view, Trump’s campaign paid African-American women unfairly compared to his white employees.

In one of these related cases, Trump had to pay out over a million dollars to cover Omarosa’s legal fees.

Life Imitating Art FactsGetty Images

49. Chrishell Stause: The New Kid On The Block

One of the most recent reality TV villains to become a breakout star is Chrishell Stause of the Netflix series Selling Sunset. A former soap opera star, she's known for her ruthless actions in her role in the Oppenheim Group. On screen, she certainly knew how to assert her dominance. As such, she's landed herself a spot on this notorious list in record time.

And it’s not just employees that she clashed with.

Reality TV Villains FactsGetty Images

50. Her Love Life Is Wild

After three years of marriage, Stause and her husband, actor Justin Hartley, decided to split up. But they made this decision in an extremely unceremonious way. Apparently, Hartley informed Stause that he would be seeking a divorce via a text message. What's more? This was just 45 minutes before the media became aware of the news.

Stause subsequently began a romantic relationship with her boss and Selling Sunset co-star, Jason Oppenheim. Then, after they broke up, she hooked up with musician G Flip.

Reality TV Villains FactsGetty Images

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26

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